Nothing really went to plan Thursday night, when I traveled to CCSU to take in their game against A10 foe La Salle. First on that list of things not going to plan was finding the court itself. Generally, I get directions to a school's campus, glance at the athletic website's parking recommendations, and have yet to have much trouble finding anything. Given that CCSU is but 11 miles from my apartment, I certainly didn't expect the difficulty I had on Thursday.
The university itself I found with no trouble -- I've been by the sign a good number of times. However, in following the directions from the CCSU website to enter a parking garage, I was confronted with a huge, multistory parking garage with nary a soul in it. Granted, I was a bit early (about an hour before tipoff), but it didn't feel right that there would be nobody around. I'd seen signs for multiple parking garages, so I thought I'd found the wrong one. I got back on the road, went up to the entrance for the next garage, but found it to be gated.
I spotted a campus map in a nearby surface lot, so I hopped out of my car to check it out, looking for Detrick Gymnasium. Couldn't find it -- nary a mention anywhere on it. So, I started scanning the cabin view of campus for anything resembling an athletic facility. The best I could come up with was Kaiser Hall and its Annex, which resembled a soft-roofed athletic facility (I was right about that one, at least!). So I make my way to that location, and at long last discover a few other vehicles in a lot, a charter bus, and a cheerleader. Hooray, I'm in the right place!
A simple attempt to purchase a general admission ticket with a credit card (newfangled technology!) resulted in about a three minute wait, after which the poor gentleman working the ticket window apparently gave up, and just printed me a ticket.
The player I was most excited to see in this matchup, obviously, was CCSU's Ken Horton, a top-5 scorer in Division I, who also leads his team by a wide margin in rebounds, steals, and blocks. I noticed when the Blue Devils came out, there were only 8 players warming up -- and Horton was not among them. I later found out he'd apparently suffered a minor ankle injury in the morning shootaround.
With Horton out of the picture, the game got out of hand quickly. It was 16-7 by the first TV timeout, and 26-9 by the second one. The game was never close, and CCSU was clearly out of sorts. At one point, the Blue Devils came out of a timeout with 7 seconds left on the shot clock, and genuinely looked surprised when it expired. Combined with being short on luck (a tipped rebound in the first half led to the rare own-basket), CCSU trailed Ramon Galloway and Jerrell Wright by three points. Add in the rest of the team, and it was a 30-point hole.
CCSU actually did win the second half, but that was largely because La Salle let up a touch. With just over six minutes left to play, CCSU put up back-to-back three pointers that went "thud" off the backboard without touching the rim. An airball with under three minutes to play just served to put a finishing touch on the game.
The Blue Devils obviously suffered from missing Horton, a lack of depth, and having no time to prepare a gameplan without Horton's presence. Hopefully, for their sake, Horton is back in playing shape in short order as (the rest of) NEC play is just around the corner, and CCSU's 2-0 start in conference likely won't hold up long without him.
To finish my day when nothing went as planned, I managed to hit a good-sized pothole on the way home and damage my suspension, required a $200 repair the following morning. Here's hoping my next trip to CCSU goes a bit more smoothly!
LA SALLE 85, at CENTRAL CONNECTICUT 59 12/22/2011
LA SALLE 8-4 (0-0) -- S. Mills 5-7 0-0 12; J. Wright 9-14 3-5 21; T. Duren 4-11 1-2 10; E. Pettis 3-7 0-0 7; D. Peterson 0-3 0-0 0; R. Galloway 6-7 0-0 15; T. Dunn 1-2 0-0 3; D. White 4-7 2-2 10; S. Zack 2-2 0-0 4; M. Sheehan 1-2 1-2 3. Totals 35-62 7-11 85. CENTRAL CONNECTICUT 5-6 (2-0) -- R. Ptacek 4-15 4-4 14; M. McMillan 0-6 0-0 0; K. Vinales 7-20 0-0 16; A. Burbage 6-9 0-0 14; J. Efese 3-6 0-0 6; D. Simmons 4-4 1-3 9; T. Allen 0-1 0-0 0; M. LaPorte 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-61 5-7 59.
Three-point goals: LAS 8-16 (E. Pettis 1-4; T. Dunn 1-2; R. Galloway 3-3; T. Duren 1-2; S. Mills 2-3; D. Peterson 0-2), CCT 6-21 (R. Ptacek 2-5; A. Burbage 2-5; K. Vinales 2-8; M. McMillan 0-3); Rebounds: LAS 34 (J. Wright 9), CCT 26 (J. Efese 8); Assists: LAS 19 (T. Duren 7), CCT 10 (R. Ptacek 4); Total Fouls -- LAS 12, CCT 10; Fouled Out: LAS-None; CCT-None.