NEW BRITAIN - The Central Connecticut men’s basketball team rallied in the second half, but was unable to overtake Robert Morris, losing 74-64, in Northeast Conference action on Saturday.
Central trimmed a 19-point deficit to five points in the second half, but was unable to get any closer as RMU held on for the win to clinch the final NEC Tournament berth.
The loss drops the Blue Devils to 5-22 overall and 3-13 in the NEC.
Khalen Cumberlander scored a game-high 24 points to lead CCSU. Sophomore Austin Nehls was the only other Blue Devil in double-figures, with 14 points.
The Colonials led 36-21 at halftime and scored the first four points of the second half to build their largest lead of the game. Nehls answered with a four-point play, igniting a 14-0 run as the Blue Devils stormed back into the game.
After a lay-up by junior Mustafa Jones, Cumberlander rolled off eight straight points. He converted an alley-oop off a pass from Nehls and then hit a 3-pointer to make it 40-35 with 15:31 to play.
RMU scored three straight points as part of a 6-1 burst to push the lead back to double-figures and keep the lead for good. Still’s three-pointer made it 46-36 as the Colonials managed to hold off the Blue Devils’ charge.
Central scored seven straight to get within six points at the 3:35 mark. Cumberlander scored the first four points before Nehls’ triple got CCSU within 60-54, but RMU managed to seal the game at the foul line.
The Colonials hit eight straight and went 14-of-16 at the stripe in the final 2:48 to pull away.
A jumper by freshman Chris Williams and a 3-pointer by classmate Antwann Anderson closed the scoring for Central and settled the final margin.
Central hosts St. Francis Brooklyn in its final home game of the season on Thursday at 7 p.m.