Central Connecticut menâ€™s basketball (3-10, 0-1 NEC) dropped its Northeast Conference season opener Wednesday night, losing to Bryant (5-7, 1-0) 80-76.
The Blue Devils played down three starters as the Bulldogs led the entire way, extending its lead early in the first half to 20-9 before Central reeled them in, cutting the score to a one-possession game with five minutes to go to halftime.
Bryant closed out the first half on an 8-0 run to take the lead into break at 40-31. The difference hovered around 10 points for much of the second half, with Central cutting the deficit down to four points multiple times. A 9-2 stretch in the final minute of play saw Central rally close enough to a one possession game at 78-75 on a Davonte Sweatman score, but the clock was against them as Bryantâ€™s Charles Pride nailed two free throws to put the game away with six seconds left.
Leading in scoring for CCSU was Davonte Sweatman, who scored 16 points off the bench. Joe Ostrowsky and Ian Krishnan each had 14 points while Andre Snoddy tallied 13 points. The Blue Devils shot 40% from 3-point range, connecting on 8 of 20 shots from beyond the arc. From the field they shot 42.9%.
CCSU next plays St. Francis of Brooklyn on Friday at 4 p.m., in Brooklyn. Then the Blue Devils will play Rutgers on Saturday at 5 p.m. to ring in the New Year on the Big Ten Network.