The men’s basketball team had not played in three days after a brutal stretch of three games in four days last week, but its much-needed rest looked more like rust in a 68-62 loss against Central Connecticut State University at home Saturday. The Bears led by 12 at one point in the second half, but turnovers and cold shooting down the stretch doomed Brown to its second consecutive loss.
“We have got to be able to learn from all of our experiences, positive and negative,” said Head Coach Mike Martin ’04. “I’m sure there were some good things that happened out there, but we didn’t do enough to win a game.”
Desmond Cambridge ’21, who was named last week’s Ivy League Rookie of the Week, came out early and put the scoring load on his shoulders. Cambridge made three three-point shots in the first seven minutes of the contest, accounting for nine out of Brown’s (4-4) 13 early points.
“Desmond has a lot of talent, and he’s going to be a good player,” Martin said. “But we win as a team and lose as a team.”
The Blue Devils (5-3) rode early shooting consistency and a clear rebounding advantage to stay competitive, eventually taking a 23-19 lead with just over four minutes left in the half. After Brandon Anderson ’20, Zach Hunsaker ’20 and Cambridge reentered the game, Bruno caught fire and was able to create open shots, create mistakes with strong defense and retake the lead with a 10-0 scoring run.
At the half, the Bears were ahead 31-27. Cambridge and Anderson led in scoring with 11 and nine points, respectively. Hunsaker helped with two rebounds and two assists, and Tamenang Choh ’21 added three boards. Mustafa Jones led CCSU in scoring in the first 20 minutes with seven points.
Bruno and the Blue Devils matched each other in terms of first-half shooting, with both squads notching an identical 12-27 mark from the field. CCSU commanded in rebounds, grabbing eight more boards than the Bears and fighting for seven second-chance points.
The Blue Devils came out after halftime and made an early three-point shot to cut the lead to one, but the Bears settled in and appeared to take control of the game. Cambridge ignited the Pizzitola Center with two three-point shots, extending the Brown lead to twelve 2:49 into the half.
But a CCSU scoring run, powered by suffocating defense, made the 12 point deficit vanish with just 7:14 remaining in the contest, when the Blue Devils tied the game at 54. With four minutes left in the game, CCSU took their first lead of the half on a jump shot from Austin Nehls.
The game continued as a back-and-forth affair, but with 2:18 left in the game, Nehls made a three-pointer that extended the Blue Devils’ lead to four. With 48 seconds left, Eric Bowles made two free throws to put the game out of reach for the Bears.
Bruno shot 37 percent from the field and 32 percent from beyond the arc. Cambridge led all Brown scorers with 17 points along with 15 from Anderson and 14 from Hunsaker. The Blue Devils dominated in rebounds 44-23 and points in the paint 32-16.
“We have a young team and we have to learn from all of our experiences,” Martin said. “Unfortunately, our team was not as good as we needed to be today.”
The Bears will return to the court to face cross-town rival Providence College Wednesday at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center before returning home to play the University of Massachusetts-Lowell Saturday.