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ECU Loses to Central Connecticut at Home 79-68 to Fall to 1-2

ECU's Dimitri Spasojevic drives for two of his 13 points in the Pirates' 79-68 loss to Central Connecticut.
ECU's Dimitri Spasojevic drives for two of his 13 points in the Pirates' 79-68 loss to Central Connecticut. ( photo)

Austin Nehls launched five three pointers in his 24 game high points to go along with 20 from Tyler Kohl to lead Central Connecticut to a 79-68 dismantling of ECU Friday night in Minges Coliseum to pick up their first victory of the season.

Nehls went 5 for 9 from the arc while Kohl nailed eight of his eleven shot attempts for a Blue Devil team that hit 57.7 percent from the floor as a team. Deion Bute added a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds to go along with ten points and eight boards from Mustafa Jones in the win.

On the other end of the floor, ECU(1-2) hit just 44 percent of their shots but was led by Kentrell Barkley and B.J. Tyson who scored 19 points each.

“Their three guards were really terrific. Kohl was by far the best player on the floor tonight. He was terrific and was just one away from a triple-double," ECU coach Jeff Lebo said, "Rebounds and assists, controlled the game and controlled the tempo and then Nehls played his tail off and made a lot of shots. Give them credit. They controlled the tempo of the game and we defensively couldn’t get enough stops to get out in transition.”

“As a team we don’t shoot the ball particularly well so we’ve got to rely on getting some stops. We played two freshmen big guys a lot of minutes. I wasn’t expecting that coming into the season," Lebo said, "As good as Jabari (Craig) was the last game, he struggled in this one. Usman (Haruna) fouls out so you’ve got two freshman big guys in there. I thought they battled their tail off but they’re not quite ready yet to be playing that amount of minutes but they were our best guys in there.”

“0 of 8 from our point guard position (from three) really hurt us. We made a run too and we got Dimitri on the line and he missed four in a row. That really hurt us but really the plays of the game was the control of the tempo by their three guards. I thought they were great.”

ECU went just 6 of 21 from three-point land as a team and lost the rebound battle 36 to 26 and despite committing just nine turnovers, the Pirates’ shooting woes did them in once again Friday night.

“They just slowed the game down. They knew we were a team that can run in transition and a team that likes to play up-tempo especially on the misses,” B.J. Tyson told, “But they had guys who could get back, they had guys in the right places at the right time and on offense we tried to bother them a lot and they just slowed it down and played their game.”

“It’s tough losing two back to back like that,” Tyson said, “But like I said Tuesday we’ve got to find a way to bounce back. Every team has their day and right now we’re facing adversity and tomorrow we’ve got to come into practice and want it more.”

The Blue Devils got off to a quick 8-0 lead to open the game before B.J. Tyson nailed a pair of three-pointer to cut Central Connecticut’s lead to two.

But CCS then went on a 7-2 run before a Justin Whatley three-pointer from the top of the key got the Pirate back to within five at 18-13.

ECU finally took their first lead of the game on a pair of Dimitri Spasojevic free throws. The Pirates built as much as a three-point 22-19 lead on an Isaac Fleming basket in the paint with about six minutes to play before halftime.

The Blue Devils went on a run of their own to rebuild a seven point lead before B.J. Tyson tossed in eight of his fourteen first half points down the stretch and Jabari Craig scored as time expired in the half off a feed from Tyson to cut the Central Connecticut lead to just one at 37-36.

Central Connecticut(1-3) knocked down 56 percent of their shots in the first half on 14 of 30 shooting.

The Pirates were able to quickly retake the lead on a Kentrell Barkley turnaround jumper in the lane that resulted in a three-point play. But CCS erased the lead just as quickly when Austin Nehls bombed in a corner trey and then Tyler Kohl abused Tyson in the paint for a three-point play to put the Blue Devils up by four.

CCS’s lead expanded to 50-41 on a spinning drive from Austin Nehls with fourteen minutes to go.

The Blue Devils lead grew to eleven on a pair of Austin Nehls bombs with less than two minutes to play which proved to be the final margin of victory. was there to bring you the postgame words of ECU head basketball coach Jeff Lebo along with shooting guard B.J. Tyson after the Pirates' second home loss of the season.

The Pirates return to the floor Monday night at 7 o'clock when ECU hosts Cleveland State in Minges Coliseum.

Jeff Lebo's CCS Postgame Press Conference

B.J Tyson's Postgame Comments

Box Score & Statistics