Gents Nearly Pull Upset in I-49 Rivalry, NSU Wins 76-74
Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Files associated with this release:
CC-NSU Box Score

Chris Watson

Bryan Baumann

Alexander Starr

SHREVEPORT—It came down to a three-point shot with 17 seconds remaining in the game for the preseason picked Southland Conference champion Northwestern State Demons to defeat the Centenary Gents 76-74 in the Gold Dome Tuesday evening. Second chance points and rebounding kept the cold shooting Demons in the game despite a well-played game from Centenary.


Centenary (1-3) looked unbeatable in the opening minutes of the contest as two quick lay-ups and a three-pointer from freshman Bryan Baumann staked the Gents to a 7-2 lead. A driving basket by Chris Watson with 9:06 to play in the first half provided the maroon and white with its biggest margin of 12 points at 22-10.


Despite the lead, there was an uneasiness from the home fans in attendance. With three minutes to play until the intermission, the visiting Demons had only been called for one team foul by the Southland Conference officiating crew. Centenary did not attempt a free throw until the 1:04 mark in the opening half as Watson made good on both to push the score to 28-19 in the Gents favor. The pair of free throws would be the only charity attempts for Centenary until the 10:40 mark of the second half.


Northwestern State (3-1) trailed 30-24 at the half after a late push and continued to stay in the game in large part to a 42-29 rebounding advantage. The Demons grabbed 24 offensive boards and converted those opportunities into 24 second chance points compared to only seven for the Gents in the game.


The maroon and white still held the lead without relinquishing it until Keenan Jones’ lay-up gave NSU the advantage with six minutes to play. There would be two ties and 13 lead changes the rest of the way as the two rivals battled it out to the end.


After a lay-up by Watson put Centenary on top 70-69 with 1:57 left, the Gents widened the gap to three points on another breakaway by Watson. Colby Bargeman then snatched an offensive rebound for NSU and made good on the put-back for two of his six points to place the Demons within one at 72-71. Another offensive board by Bargeman and a dish to a cutting Luke Rogers allowed NSU to take the lead again with 54 ticks left on the clock.


Watson could not be stopped as he drove down the lane and rose high to out-leap the defender on the Gents’ next possession. Despite a great deal of contact, a foul was not called, but the junior transfer made the shot to give Centenary a 74-73 lead with just over 30 seconds to play. Clifton Lee missed a jumper for NSU, but another offensive board gave the Demons a second try and Jermaine Wallace nailed a three-pointer from the corner to supply the lethal blow.


The Gents had a final chance as Alexander Starr released a highly contested three-pointer that landed out of bounds off of an NSU player as the clock was winding down. Although the referee’s whistle seemed to be blown before the buzzer went off, the officiating crew did not put time back on the clock and raced off the court to the astonishment of the silenced Centenary crowd.


Watson led all scorers with 32 points on 13-of-18 from the field, 2-of-2 from the three-point line, and 4-of-6 from the free throw line. Baumann and Starr each added 11 points for Centenary, who shot 56.6 percent for the game.


NSU shot just 21.1 percent from the three-point line, but made the big attempts down the stretch. Lee finished the night with 19 points to pace the Demons while Wallace and Jones chipped in with 15 and 12 points respectively.