LOWELL, Mass. - Mustafa Jones scored a career-high 24 points on 11-of-14 shooting and Central Connecticut State got a partial block on a last-second shot to hold on for a 76-73 win over UMass Lowell on Saturday.
Both teams had miscues down the stretch, particularly from the foul line.
Tyler Kohl’s hesitation drive put the Blue Devils (7-6) up 74-71 with 1:12 to play, but Jahad Thomas quickly answered for the River Hawks (6-6) with 57.4 seconds to go. CCSU played down the clock but were forced into a long 3-pointer by Austin Nehls and teammate Eric Bowles corralled the long rebound.
That forced a foul, but Ness only made 1 of 2with 25.2 seconds to play. Lowell elected to play it out but had a turnover trying to get the ball inside. That led to Kohl going to the line with 5.2 seconds remaining and he also missed his first free throw.
Matt Harris had a chance to tie but his shot from the right wing never made it the rim.
Thomas had 21 points and Noel scored a career-high 19 for the River Hawks, combining to shoot 15 of 19.
Josh Gantz had a career-high eight assists to go with nine points and three blocks.
Lowell missed six free throws and CCSU five in the second half of the evenly played game that had 12 ties and 12 lead changes.
The Blue Devils return to action when they open Northeast Conference play at home against Saint Francis University on Friday, Dec. 29, at 7:30 p.m.