Gents Fall to UMKC Despite Comeback
Thursday, January 11, 2007


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Tyrone Hamilton had 24 points
in Thursday's loss

KANSAS CITY -- Centenary (7-11, 1-2) fell 80-75 to UMKC (7-11, 2-0) Thursday at Municipal Auditorium in Mid-Continent Conference action. Falling late, the Gents staged a 19-point comeback in the second half, having a chance to win the game with just over a minute remaining.

Trailing by three after two UMKC free throws, Gents sophomore guard Tyrone Hamilton (Shreveport, La./B.T. Washington) had a chance to tie the game with less than 30 seconds remaining in the contest.

Hamilton, who led the Gents with 24 points in the game, broke to the corner in front of the Centenary bench and spotted up for the game-tying three with 16 seconds left on the clock. With all dramatics lying with the Gents, after making up almost a 20-point deficit, the shot just didn’t fall for Hamilton.

Following Hamilton’s three-point attempt, senior Alexander Starr (Dallas/Paris JC) grabbed the offensive rebound, but couldn’t convert the layup to make it a one-point game with under 10 seconds remaining. The Gents were forced to foul following the two missed opportunities and fell by five with time expiring on the clock.

Frustrated with his team’s play in the first half, which ended with the Gents trailing by 16, Centenary head coach Rob Flaska made a simple statement that summed up the night for his team.

"Bottom line is, we couldn’t make shots and we couldn’t get stops," Flaska said.

Centenary trailed by 16 at the half due to the tremendous shooting of UMKC guard Quinton Day.

At times appearing as if he couldn’t miss in the first half, Day found his groove behind the three-point line, hitting 4-of-6 shots from beyond the arc and finishing the opening half with 18 points.

Through Day, who led all players with 26 points in the UMKC win, the Kangaroos hit 53.1 percent of its shots in the opening half, compared to 34.4 percent for the Gents.

Trailing by 16 at the start of the second half, the Gents had trouble mounting any sort of comeback early, having to rely on outside shots while in their offensive set due to the interior presence of UMKC sophomore Alex Pledger. Altering multiple Centenary attempts inside the paint throughout the game and finishing with five blocks, the 7-foot-1 Pledger forced the Gents to kick the ball out after attempting to drive.

"We had plans to pull up right before we got to him," Hamilton said. "But he made a big difference in the game, blocking shots and clogging up the lane. Give him credit for that."

Stepping up on the defensive end and being more aggressive on the press midway through the second half, Centenary continued to chip away at the UMKC lead, trailing by 10 with less than eight minutes remaining.

After a turnover by UMKC guard Dominique Johnson with 1:48 left in the contest, Centenary had a shot to take the lead, trailing by just a point at 74-73 and fully possessing all of the momentum in the game.

On the offensive end, a pull-up jumper by Gents sophomore Lance Hill (Houston/Jacksonville College) hit the front of the rim, denying Centenary their first lead since early in the first half.

The two teams traded baskets after the Hill miss, which led to Hamilton’s late three-point attempt.

For the game, Centenary shot 36.8 percent from the floor and 32.1 percent from three-point range.

Joining Day in double figures, Pledger had 19 points and forward Dee Ayuba had 20 points, grabbing a team-leading five rebounds.

Starr and junior Iman Shokouhizadeh (Huskvama, Sweden/Moberly CC) had 19 and 10 points, respectively.

The Gents must brush off Thursday’s heartbreaking loss to UMKC, having just a day’s rest before Saturday’s contest at Southern Utah. In Saturday’s game, Centenary looks to break a five-game losing streak in road Mid-Con games.