WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. - Despite junior Phil Wait's career-high 14 points and 14 rebounds, the Monmouth University men's basketball team fell 66-47 to Central Connecticut State in Northeast Conference action on Thursday night, in the Multipurpose Activity Center.
Wait, who was perfect from the floor (6-for-6) and the free throw line (2-2), registered his second career double-double for the Hawks.
After Nick DelTufo netted the first five points for the Hawks, consecutive three-pointers from R.J. Rutledge gave Monmouth an 11-2 lead just 3:20 into the contest.
The game see-sawed between a seven, and nine-point advantage for the Hawks over the next 9:22 minutes of action, until the Blue Devils climbed within 19-18 on Robby Ptacek's three-pointer with 7:18 remaining, which capped an 8-0 run for CCSU.
Following Ed Waite's lay-in, CC upped its run to 13-2 to coral a 23-21 edge on Ptacek's pull-up jumper in transition with 6:00 remaining.
DelTufo's lay-up, off a feed from Waite, knotted the score at 23-23 with 3:57 showing, but the Blue Devils dropped in three baskets in the paint over the final 3:27 of the half, to take a 29-23 lead at the break.
CC, which outscored Monmouth 19-4 over the final 8:29 of the first half, opened the second stanza on a 13-3 streak, to grab a 41-26 cushion with 16:10 on the clock.
Wait's offensive putback pulled Monmouth within 42-28, but the Blue Devils answered with six of the game's next eight points to haul in a 48-30 advantage with 13:31 remaining.
A pair of Wait foul shots, coupled with his own offensive putback, allowed the Hawks to climb within 48-34 with 11:38 left, but Ken Horton drilled a wing three-pointer to put CCSU back in front 51-34, with 10:11 showing.
Jesee Steele's pull-up jumper pulled Monmouth within 55-42 with 7:13 left, but the Blue Devils outscored the Hawks 9-0 over the next 4:36 to take a 64-42 lead.
Steele added eight points off the bench for the Hawks, who hit 3-of-20 from beyond the arc, while DelTufo added seven points.
Horton, who netted a game-best 28 points on 10-of-14 from the field, added 14 rebounds, to lead three Blue Devils in double-figures. CCSU, which outscored 56-28 over the final 28:29, connected on 44.3% from the field overall.
Monmouth returns to action on Saturday, when the Hawks travel to Bryant University for a Northeast Conference contest at 4:00 p.m., in Smithfield, Rhode Island.