Less than two weeks after it was announced that senior Matt Hunter was academically ineligible, Central Connecticut State received some more bad news on the eve of the start of Northeast Conference play.
According to Mike Anthony of the Hartford Courant, junior guard and leading scorer Kyle Vinales will miss anywhere from five to six weeks after breaking the ring finger on his right (shooting) hand while lifting weights. Vinales, who averaged 21.6 points per game as a sophomore, is currently averaging 17.4 points and 3.7 assists per game for the Blue Devils, who are 4-9 on the season.
With Vinales out the Blue Devils’ other two double-figure scorers, freshman forward Faronte McDonald (12.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and junior guard Malcolm McMillan (10.1, 3.2, 3.2 apg) will be asked to do even more beginning with their game against Wagner on Thursday night. To say the least, this is a big personnel loss for CCSU.
“You hate to see it happen to someone who works so hard,” coach Howie Dickenman said. “The saying is that you can never have enough players, even when you have 13 or 14. Now, well, you can never have enough players.”
In an interesting scheduling “quirk,” Central Connecticut State will play its first four NEC games in New Britain, with Thursday’s opener followed by games against Saint Francis (PA), St. Francis Brooklyn and LIU Brooklyn. After that game against LIU, which has won the last three NEC tournament titles, on January 18 the Blue Devils won’t play another home game until February 6 against Bryant.
With this being the case those four NEC home games were already important, and to not have their leading scorer available is a major blow to the Blue Devils’ hopes of improving on their seventh-place finish last season.