Gents hold off Austin College
Saturday, January 5, 2013 | by Nathan Yacovissi

SHREVEPORT, La. – Centenary made key defensive plays at the end and got timely shots to hold onto a big win over Austin College 59-56 Saturday night. The victory snaps a five game losing streak for the Gents (6-7, 2-3 SCAC) while Austin College (3-12, 0-5 SCAC) dropped its second in a row.  

Austin College opened the half with a 4-0 lead before a layup by Saro Ntagha got Centenary on the board. Ntagha would score the Gents first five points. Austin College used a 9-4 run over the next three and half minutes to gain its largest lead of the night at 5 points. The Roos last lead of the night would be with 2:15 minutes left.

A jumper by Jonathan Blount put the Gents up 25-24 as the Maroon and White never looked back the remainder of the game. Ntagha had 7 of his 10 points this half.

Centenary opened the second half on a 10-2 run, building its largest lead of the night by 12. Austin College narrowed it 40-36 with a 10-2 run of its own 12:53 minutes left. The Roos eventually tied the game 42-42 with 9:33 minutes remaining, but couldn’t overcome the Gents lead.

Teams would exchange baskets and Centenary would gain hold a slim lead until a 6-2 run would push its lead to nine; capped by a Daniel Allen layup off a steal.  Jimmy King knocked down two three pointers in a row for the Roos and narrowed the deficit to five with a minute left.

Up one 57-56 and 28 seconds remaining, the Gents maintained possession of the ball long enough for the Roos to be forced to foul. Blount missed both free throws, but Donovan Williams collected a key offensive rebound that eventually placed Drew Erskine at the charity stripe. Erskine hit one of two free throws and Austin College had last possession.

Down 58-56 with 17 seconds left, Austin College had a chance to tie or take the lead, but Centenary forced a turnover with great hustle by Ntagha and Cheramie to regain possession and draw the foul. Ntagha hit the backend of a pair free throws to ice the contest.

Blount led all scorers with 25 points, 15 coming in the second half. Ntagha was the other player finishing in double figures for the Gents with 10. Williams and Tyler Wright added 7 and 6 respectively. DJ Hicks had a team-high 7 rebounds and Williams had 6. Centenary shot well from the floor 47.9 percent.

Austin College was led by Walter Phillips with 14 points and 8 rebounds. All 14 points came in the second half.

Centenary continues its five-game homestand next Friday, Jan. 11 at 8 p.m. against Southwestern University.