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RMU falls to Central Connecticut 68-53

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Robert Morris went cold, as the Colonials shot just 30 percent from the floor, and Central Connecticut State pulled away in the second half for a 68-53 win, sending RMU to their first loss in NEC play.

The Central Connecticut State trio of Robby Ptacek, Kyle Vinales and Ken Horton combined for 63 points to help lead the Blue Devils to a 68-53 victory over the Robert Morris University men's basketball team Saturday afternoon in a Northeast Conference tilt at Detrick Gymnasium.

CCSU improved to 7-7 overall on the 2011-12 campaign, including a perfect 4-0 in the NEC, while the Colonials suffered their first league setback of the year, dropping to 12-5 overall and 3-1 in the conference.

The loss concluded a five-game road swing in which RMU posted a record of 3-2.

In a first half that featured six ties and eight lead changes, Central Connecticut State took a 32-28 halftime advantage by closing the first half on a 15-9 surge.

Ptacek scored eight points during the run and produced 14 of his game-high 24 points before intermission as the Blue Devils connected on 57.1 percent (12-for-21) of their shots in the first half, including 50 percent (4-for-8) from beyond the arc.

CCSU opened the second half on a 7-2 spurt to take a 39-30 lead as Ptacek scored five points, including a three-pointer.

Robert Morris responded with an 8-3 run to close its deficit to 41-38, but the Colonials couldn't overcome a shooting percentage of 30.3 percent (20-for-66) on the game, including a 1-for-12 performance from redshirt junior guard Velton Jones (Philadelphia, Pa. / Northeast Catholic).

Sophomore forward Mike McFadden (Newark, N.J. / Technology) pulled RMU within a possession, 41-38, with a layup with 12:19 to play, but Central Connecticut State scored the game's next seven points to open up a 48-38 lead.

The biggest advantage of the contest for the Blue Devils came with 1:38 remaining, when Vinales hit a pair of free throws to give CCSU a 68-50 lead.

Ptacek, Horton and Vinales combined to shoot 47.6 percent (20-for-42) from the field, including 44.4 percent (8-for-18) from beyond the arc.

In addition to the 24 points for Ptacek, Horton recorded 21 points and 10 rebounds and Vinales finished with 18 points and five assists.

Redshirt junior forward Russell Johnson (Chester, Pa. / Chester) led Robert Morris with 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting and also recorded seven rebounds, while freshman forward Lucky Jones (Newark, N.J. / St. Anthony) posted his first career double-double with 11 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

Robert Morris outrebounded Central Connecticut State, 45-32, posted a 30-26 edge in points in the paint and finished with a 20-9 edge in second-chance points.

The Colonials return home to the Charles L. Sewall Center for the first time since Dec. 20 and open a two-game homestand Thursday, Jan. 12, with a 7:00 p.m. tip against Quinnipiac.

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