Central Connecticut State University strengthened its hold on first place in the Northeast Conference with a 94-71 victory over Quinnipiac in men’s basketball Saturday afternoon in New Britain.
Javier Mojica led all scorers with 32 points for the Blue Devils. Tristan Blackwood added 24 points and Obie Nwadike tallied 21 points and 14 rebounds. Central swept the season series over the Bobcats with the win.
They defeated the Bobcats 65-54 at the TD Banknorth Sports Center on Jan. 29.
Adam Gonzalez led Quinnipiac with 18 points and six assists and DeMario Anderson chipped in 16 points against his former team.
Despite shooting 56.7 percent in the first half, including 8-10 from long distance, the Bobcats trailed 48-44 at halftime.
Both teams opened the game on fire, trading the lead eight times within the first 10 minutes of the game. Quinnipiac sank 9-of-12 during that time, including 5-of-6 from three.
Casey Cosgrove scored all nine of his points during the Bobcats’ hot start, hitting all three of his attempts from 3-point range.
However, Central was equal to the task. Shooting 50 percent from the field in the first half, the Blue Devils kept pace with the high-scoring Bobcats. A three by Blackwood gave the Blue Devils the lead for good at 29-26 with 8:43 left to go in the first half.
Central outscored the Bobcats 26-8 over the first 10 minutes of the second half to stretch its four-point halftime lead to 22.
A five-point swing off a technical foul on Quinnipiac head coach Joe DeSantis and a layup by Nwadike stretched the early lead to nine.
The Blue Devils held a large advantage on the glass and from the free-throw line. They out-rebounded the Bobcats 39-26 and grabbed 18 offensive rebounds. Quinnipiac struggled from the foul line, shooting 9-for-19. Central had a decided edge, making 31-of-35. In the second half, the Blue Devils made 23-of-25, including their first 17 attempts.
The win was Central’s tenth in a row and pushed it to 12-1 in the NEC, 15-10 overall. With the loss, Quinnipiac falls to 11-12 overall, 9-5 in the Northeast Conference. The Bobcats remain in second place, a half-game ahead of Sacred Heart.
The Bobcats play at Long Island University on Saturday, at 4 p.m. The last time the two teams met was at the inaugural game at the new TD Banknorth Sports Center. In that game, the Bobcats won an overtime thriller, 73-71.
Quinnipiac’s next home game is Feb. 22 against St. Francis (Pa.), which currently sits at 4-20 overall and a lowly 1-12 in Northeast Conference play.