Gents Slide Reaches Six Games with Loss to WIU
Friday, February 2, 2007

Alexander Starr

MACOMB, Ill.—The Centenary men’s basketball team saw its current losing streak reach six games after a 45-42 loss to Western Illinois on Thursday night. The Gents led for three-quarters of the game by as many as nine points, but saw the Leathernecks take advantage of Centenary’s inability to put the game away.


Centenary (7-16, 1-7 Mid-Con) took control of the game early and used a 7-1 run capped by an Alexander Starr three-pointer to grab a nine-point lead at 20-11 with 9:27 remaining in the first half.


Over the next three minutes, the Gents would own an eight –point lead while squandering four possessions in a row on two turnovers, a missed dunk, and a missed jumper that could have dealt the Leathernecks a fatal blow. Instead, WIU answered with five straight points from David Jackson to cut the deficit to three points and the Leathernecks trailed by only four at 26-22 at the half.


Western Illinois (5-18, 1-7 Mid-Con) shot only 32.6 percent for the game and a meager 29.2 percent in the second half, but made up ground late in the contest due to the lack of ball control by the Gents. Centenary committed a season-high 23 turnovers including 14 in the final period, a trait uncharacteristic of the Gents who are averaging just 15 turnovers per game.


Nick Stallings extended the Centenary lead back to eight points at 32-24 five minutes into the last stanza, but again the Gents misused three straight possessions with chances to pull away. The Leathernecks seized the opportunity and reeled off seven straight points powered by a trifecta from Xavier Price to pull within one point with 11:15 to play.


The lead changed hands nine times over the final 10 minutes with the two teams matching blows down the stretch. David Jackson sank a pair of free throws to move Western on top for the final time at 43-42 with 1:40 on the clock and two more Centenary turnovers left the game in the same state with 26 ticks left.


WIU’s Jerryck Owens-Murrey made good on one of two free throws to provide a two-point lead for the home team. After a steal, Chase Adams missed both ends of his free throws with a chance to tie the contest with five seconds remaining for Centenary. 


Starr and Tyrone Hamilton each scored 11 points to lead the Gents. Starr added a team-high seven boards while Adams finished with six rebounds and four steals.


Jackson was the only Western Illinois player to reach double figures with 17 points on 5-of-13 shooting from the floor.


Centenary out-rebounded the Leathernecks 34-25 on the night and both teams struggled from long distance (3-of-14 for Centenary, 4-of-17 for Western Illinois).


The Gents will next face Valparaiso on Saturday in Indiana at 7 p.m. The Crusaders are coming off a 70-67 victory over Oral Roberts, who was previously unbeaten in Mid-Con play.