STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - The Central Connecticut men’s basketball team fell to Wagner, 72-59, on Thursday night in Northeast Conference men’s basketball action.
The Blue Devils held a brief lead early in the second half before the Seahawks managed to recover and build a double-digit cushion.
Junior posted a double-double with 21 points and 16 rebounds to lead CCSU.
The Blue Devils slip to 12-12 overall and 5-6 in the NEC, while Wagner maintained its hold on first place and improved to 16-6 overall and 9-2 in the NEC.
Central travels to Sacred Heart on Saturday for a 3:30 p.m. tipoff.
Wagner took an early lead with seven unanswered points. A dunk by Shack Scott capped the run and made it 7-2 at the 17:20 mark.
The Seahawks used the three-point shot to maintain its lead throughout the opening half. Wagner went 8-of-14 (.571) from beyond the arc.
The Blue Devils trailed by as much as eight points in the period, but a late run of six straight points got CCSU within 29-27.
Junior , who had 15 points and nine rebounds in the opening half, hit back-to-back hoops and a layup by junior cut the Wagner lead to two with 2:22 left in the half.
Wagner bookended a Bute dunk with a pair of trifectas at the end of the period, before a layup by Kohl got Central within 35-31 at the intermission.
Central scored five straight to open the second half. A foul shot by Bute was followed by layups from senior and Kohl to make it 36-35 and give Central its first lead since 2-0.
The Seahawks came back with a three-pointer from Blake Francis to take the lead.
Romone Saunders scored eight straight for Wagner at one point and his layup with 9:26 to play made it 58-47.
Central scored five straight to get within 62-56, but that was as close as it would get. Two foul shots from freshman and another from Bute cut the deficit to six with 4:13 to play.
Wagner scored six straight and closed out the game by outscoring CCSU 10-3, for a 72-59 final.
Kohl led all scorers with 21 points and 16 rebounds. Bute finished with 14 points and sophomore scored 10 points off the bench.
Central shot 20-of-53 (.377) from the field and was just 2-of-14 (.143) from behind the arc. The teams were even on the glass at 38-38.
Saunders and Elijah Davis led Wagner with 15 points apiece. JoJo Cooper had 14 points and 12 assists.
The Seahawks shot 24-of-56 (.429) from the field and were 12-of-28 (.429) from three-point range.