The undefeated Georgetown University Hoyas will return to action on Saturday, Nov. 10 (6PM), as they welcome Coach Donyell Marshall and the Central Connecticut State University Blue Devils.
The Blue Devils are picked to finish in the middle-ish of the NEC and are coming off a big come-from-behind road win over Hartford. Hoya newcomers James Akinjo, Mac McClung, and “menace” Josh LeBlanc hope to shine in their FS2 debut against a CCSU roster featuring a couple decent seniors and “six new players, five of them freshmen.”
The Central Connecticut men’s basketball was picked to finish sixth in the Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll, while senior [6’5” G/F] Tyler Kohl was named to the Preseason All-NEC Team.
Head coach Donyell Marshall is set to begin his third season at the helm of the Blue Devils and will look to Kohl and fellow senior [6’9” C] Deion Bute to lead the way. Kohl started 28 games and led the team in scoring (16.7 ppg), rebounding (8.2 rpg), assists (4.1 apg) and steals (1.4 spg) and earned Second Team All-NEC honors. Kohl was one of two players nationally to lead his team in all four categories and the only player in the conference to rank in the Top 10 in each category.
Keep an eye on: The Blue Devils’ momentum. Last year’s win total was the program’s highest since the 2010-11 season and was a significant uptick for a team that went 6-23 in Marshall’s first year at the helm. After last year’s team exceeded its modest expectations to finish eighth in the NEC, the Blue Devils were picked to finish sixth in this year’s preseason coaches poll.
The skinny: The 6-foot-5 Kohl was an All-NEC second team selection in 2017-18, bursting onto the scene as a junior college transfer to lead the team in scoring (16.7 points per game), rebounds (8.2) and assists (4.1). Now a known commodity, he was tabbed as a preseason all-conference pick this year, and if he takes another leap forward, so could the Blue Devils.
“Last year, we had to get the ball to Tyler [Kohl]. [6’2” G Fr.] Ian [Krishnan] and [6’7” G/F Jr] Jamir [Coleman] and Deion [Bute] in the post is going to take a lot off him. Now, it’s okay if you double-team Tyler because Tyler’s a pretty good passer, he creates for other players,” Marshall said.
The third returning player from the JUCO trio is [6’9”] senior center Deion Bute, who led the NEC in field goal percentage last season. Marshall believes Bute has to “take care of the ball, stay out of foul trouble and make layups” in order to take his game to the next level.
Similar to [6’7” F Jr., Joe] Hugley, Marshall feels the presence of [6’7” F] freshman Karrington Wallace has provided competition for Bute, something he lacked last season. Marshall believes Wallace can be utilized as a small five and called him a “good defender.”
ICYMI: @CCSU_MBB got the big W last night against Hartford, and they're ready to keep the momentum going heading into Saturday's game against Georgetown. @CCSUBlueDevils @Dmarsh42 @NECsports @WFSBnews pic.twitter.com/UKlNkTxvzD— Elliott Polakoff (@ElliottPolakoff) November 8, 2018
Central Connecticut pulled off an upset at Hartford... The Blue Devils are expected to be competitive this year. Not great, but capable of sneaking up on someone. Well, they did just that on Tuesday, beating Hartford — a team expected to challenge for an NCAA Tournament berth — 75-68 on the road. Tyler Kohl had 30 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in one of the better, more underrated individual performances of opening night. Donyell Marshall has something here.
NB: Also read “Eastern Washington and Syracuse set basketball back a few decades...” Classic.
VIDEO - College Basketball is back!! Tyler Kohl scores a career-high 30-points helping CCSU Blue Devils open the season with a very impressive road win at a very good Hartford Hawks team. Kohl finishes with a double-double (10-rebounds) . . .Congrats Coach @Dmarsh42 !! pic.twitter.com/46ShDWqFUc— Tez TV (@ETezTV) November 7, 2018
Tyler Kohl scored a career-high 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Deion Bute also had a double-double and Central Connecticut State defeated Hartford 75-68 in the season opener for both teams on Tuesday night.
Bute had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Blue Devils, who trailed by 12 midway through the first half and 40-36 at the break.
NB: CCSU was 2-for-7 from the three-point-line (28.6%) and 29-for-61 (47.5%) for field goals.
Solid dub for @CCSU_MBB over AE preseason #2 Hartford.— Ron Ratner (@NECHoopsRon) November 7, 2018
All-#NECMBB swingman Tyler Kohl casually dropped 30p-10r-5a-2s for the good guys out of the gate. Last year only eight players nationwide hit that stat line.#AllInBallOut
The Blue Devils cut into Hartford’s lead before halftime, though, as a three-pointer by [6’7” G/F Jr] Jamir Coleman with 27 seconds left pulled CCSU within four at 40-36 at the break...
Central Connecticut continued to chip away in the second half, taking its first lead since the opening minute of the game on a triple by Joe Hugley with 12:48 left to play. The two teams continued to trade the lead until Kohl answered a three [from Hartford] with a three-point play to give the Blue Devils a one-point lead at 64-63 with 2:39 remaining. The Hawks had a chance to cut into a 67-64 deficit with just over a minute left, but CCSU, which ended the game on an 11-5 run, stole the inbounds pass and scored to seal the win.
Head Coach Marshall says he likes so far what he sees this season from Kohl.
”I try to let him watch a lot of Lebron’s stuff...how Lebron trusts his players...how Lebron gets it going...and that’s kind of how I try to get him to get your teammates going. Make the other players have to be guarded. When you do that, you can score.”
”I do take a lot of pride in passing the ball, to being able to shoot, to being able to rebound, to get some steals. It’s just instinct in me. I don’t really try to force things. It just happens”, Kohl said.
CCSU now gets ready to take on Georgetown Saturday.
Central got a team-high 25 points from freshman [guard] Ian Krishnan, who shot 5-of-8 on three-pointers. Junior [G/F] Jamir Coleman added 18 points, while senior [C] Deion Bute scoredd 11 points. Senior Tyler Kohl finished with seven points, eight assists and six rebounds, while junior [G] Tyson Batiste had eight points and seven rebounds.
CCSU shot 24-of-50 overall (.480) and was 8-of-19 (.421) from three-point range. The Blue Devils also shot 23-of-27 (.852) at the free throw line.
Central scored nine straight points to take the lead for good midway through the second half. Coleman opened the spurt with a three-pointer and Kohl would close it out with two foul shots to make it 57-51.
NB: Arcadia University is adjacent to my office and I had no idea they had a basketball team (DIII).
This Donyell Marshall highlight reel is cued to a Georgetown game or two:
And remember that Georgetown Women’s Soccer, the number one seed in the NCAA Tournament, will open against CCSU a few short hours before tip-off... Hoya Saxa!
Women's Soccer will face Georgetown in the first round of the NCAA Championship. Game will take place on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 12 noon. #GoBlueDevils— CCSU Blue Devils (@CCSUBlueDevils) November 5, 2018