Gents Claim Key Road Win at Oakland 75-66
Saturday, January 21, 2006


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Box Score


Chris Watson

Alexander Starr

Xavier Burnette

Clarke Jackson

Jason Underwood

Needing big Mid-Continent Conference road wins to help ensure a conference tournament berth after missing out in the 2004-05 season, the Centenary men’s basketball team came through down the stretch to pull out a 75-66 victory on the road at defending Mid-Con tournament champions Oakland.  The Gents took advantage of several Golden Grizzlies turnovers and hit key free throws in the final minutes to take home the team’s first road win of the season.

 

Chris Watson led all scorers with 23 points, joined in double figures by Alexander Starr and Xavier Burnette with 12 and 10 points respectively.  Burnette and Starr, both of whom had previously been in an offensive slump, converted clutch free throws in the final minute to help seal the victory.  Starr led all players with five steals while Burnette dished out a game-high six assists.

 

The first half proved to be a back-and-forth affair as the action saw a combination of 13 lead changes and tie scores.  Centenary (4-14, 2-5 Mid-Con) started out ahead thanks to buckets by Burnette and Watson, but Oakland came back to take a four-point lead with an 8-0 run.  Clarke Jackson’s three would then spark an 11-2 Gents run to pull ahead five, but the Golden Grizzlies would respond with nine of the next 11 points to retake the lead again.

 

A pair of baskets by Jason Underwood would place Centenary back on top for the rest of the half, capped by an emphatic dunk with 12 ticks left by freshman Ronnie Martin that quieted the rowdy OU fan base.  Underwood, making a Michigan homecoming after attending nearby Mt. Clemens High School and St. Clair Community College, matched six points with six rebounds off the bench while providing a strong defensive presence all night.  The Gents would enter the break up four with a 29-24 advantage.

 

The second stanza saw the same frenzied pace as the first, switching leads on and off another 11 times until Jackson nailed another three with just over five minutes to play to take a 55-54 Gents lead.  Centenary would clamp down, playing smart and strong defense while nailing key shots to keep the Golden Grizzlies (7-13, 2-6 Mid-Con) at bay.

 

Up six with less than a minute left, Starr would convert four consecutive free throws to seal the victory. 

 

The Gents continue their road schedule as they travel to Tulsa, Okla., to take on Oral Roberts on Thursday.  Tip-off is set for 7:05 p.m. CST and can be heard locally on KSYR “Sunny” 92.1 FM and online at www.SportsJuice.com.