NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – Freshman DeAndray Buckley (Romulus, Mich.) and senior Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) scored 12 and 11 points, respectively, but the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team dropped a 71-50 decision to Central Connecticut State University on Wednesday evening at Detrick Gymnasium.
The Wildcats fall to 5-5 on the season, while the Blue Devils improve to 6-5.
Buckley, fresh off a career-best 11-point performance at Rhode Island on Dec. 18, was 3-for-7 from the floor as he earned America East Player of the Game honors. Buckley added five rebounds, two assists and two steals in a career-high 28 minutes. Conley was 3 of 8 from the floor, including 2-for-4 from behind the arc, and also pulled down five boards in 23 minutes.
Ken Horton led the Blue Devils with 19 points and eight rebounds.
With the game tied at four just 2:20 into the game, Central Connecticut ripped off a 24-3 run to take a 28-7 lead with 5:36 to play in the opening half. The Wildcats cut it to 30-10 just over a minute later when five straight points opened the Blue Devils' lead to 25 with 3:26 left. Three straight points from Conley made the deficit 22, but a Joe Efese layup with three seconds on the clock closed the scoring and gave CCSU a 37-13 advantage heading into the break.
Conley kicked off the second half with a 3-pointer that cut it to 21, but with the deficit the same (43-22) with 15:48 remaining, a 13-0 run gave Central Connecticut its largest lead of the game at 56-22 with 12:46 to go. After the teams traded baskets, a 6-0 run – capped by a Scott Morris (Walkersville, Md.) trey – made it 58-30 with 10:47 left.
The gap was still 28 (71-43) with 1:29 to go when the Wildcats closed the scoring with seven straight points – two layups from freshman Kazadi Nyanguila (Montreal, Quebec) and a 3-pointer by Buckley as time expired.
Morris matched his career high with six points, while Nyanguila also finished with six – the first points of his career. Senior James Valladares (Kaufman, Texas) netted seven points and junior Brian Benson (Rochester, N.Y.) matched his career high with nine boards and set a new career best with five blocks.
Central Connecticut outshot UNH, 44 percent (27-61) to 31 percent (16-51), from the floor and forced a season-high 24 turnovers while only turning it over 11 times themselves. The Wildcats won the battle on the glass, 42-38, including 17-12 on the offensive end.
The Wildcats break for the Christmas holiday before returning to action Wednesday, Dec. 29 (5 p.m.) against Cornell University in the first round of The Richmond Marriott Holidays on the Hardwood Classic at Virginia Commonwealth University's Verizon Wireless Arena.