Valpo Hangs on to Down Gents 66-62 in Mid-Con Opener
Thursday, January 4, 2007

Files associated with this release:
CC-Valpo Box Score 1-4-07

Larry Logan

Alexander Starr

Tyrone Hamilton

Nick Stallings

SHREVEPORT—The Centenary men’s basketball team made a valiant last-minute run but came up short 66-62 to Valparaiso in their Mid-Continent Conference opener on Thursday evening. Playing without two starters, the Gents were forced to log extra minutes on the court, which took its toll on the shooting game.


Centenary (6-10, 0-1 Mid-Con) took to the Gold Dome court without starters Chase Adams (6.3 ppg.) and Bryan Baumann (9.3 ppg.) due to injury and illness. As a result, Nick Stallings and Tyrone Hamilton each played the full 40 minutes and Alexander Starr and Larry Logan chalked up 35 and 33 minutes respectively.


With tired legs and a short bench after playing four games in eight days, Centenary shot just 34.4 percent from the field and missed several key free throws down the stretch. However, the Gents did pull down 39 rebounds while committing only nine turnovers on the night.


Valparaiso (6-8, 1-0 Mid-Con) also suffered from the field in shooting just 39.2 percent but made good on 84 percent of its free throw attempts. Coming into the contest Valpo was the top three-point shooting team in the Mid-Con, but the Gents held the Crusaders to just 29.4 percent from behind the arc on 5-of-17 long distance shots.


The Gents raced out to an early 12-3 lead on six points by Stallings and four from Hamilton while holding Valpo to just three points for the first 6:37 of the contest. The Crusaders finally awoke and quickly pulled to within two at 14-12 and then grabbed their first lead of the contest at 20-18 with 3:41 left in the opening half. Still on top at 22-20, Jake Diebler hit the first of his four three-pointers on the evening with 22 seconds left to raise the Valpo advantage to five at the break.


Valparaiso closed the first half on a 10-2 run and pushed that same run out to 17-2 over the first three minutes of the second half. When the surge finally ended with a pair of free throws by Logan, the Crusaders were in charge with a commanding 32-22 lead.


Valpo extended its advantage to 14 points, its biggest of the night, on two free tosses by Samuel Haanpaa with 12:25 left in the game. Centenary then rattled off a 15-3 run of its own powered by seven points, a steal, and an assist by Starr to bring the score to 47-45 with 5:56 to go.


In the next minute and a half, Valpo lengthened its hold on the lead to eight points on four made free throws and another trifecta by Diebler. Still down six at 59-53 with 1:22 left, Centenary began fouling and although the Crusaders made five of six attempts from the stripe, the Gents began inching closer.


Jeff Montague grabbed a key offensive rebound and made both free throws after being fouled with 28 ticks on the clock. After two Valpo made free tosses, Stallings drained a three-pointer with 10 seconds remaining to pull the Gents within two at 64-62. Centenary pressured the ball in the backcourt and forced a turnover and Starr found Logan open under the bucket with two seconds left.


Logan went up strong but was fouled from the back by Valparaiso’s Brandon McPherson. After a deep breath, Logan missed the first free throw and then intentionally missed the second, but the ball was controlled by the Crusaders’ Urule Igbavboa who made both free throws to seal the game.


Centenary did not attempt a single free throw in the first half, but did not capitalize when given the opportunity in the second half, missing eight free throws over the final 20 minutes.


Logan enjoyed a monstrous evening on the boards for Centenary as he finished with a double double of 16 points and 15 rebounds. Starr, injured early in the game, returned to knock down 15 points in the loss while Hamilton added 12 points and Stallings 11.


Diebler paced Valpo with 16 points before fouling out and Igbavboa recorded 14 points and 11 boards. McPherson finished with 12 points and Haanpaa added 10 points with aid of seven free throws.


The Gents will look to pull even in the early Mid-Con race when they host Western Illinois on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Gold Dome. Centenary is 3-4 all-time against the Leathernecks, who lost at Oral Roberts in their league opener 65-46 on Thursday night.