Gents Down Lipscomb 72-69 in Season Opener
Friday, November 9, 2007

AMES, Iowa¬óThe Centenary men’s basketball team opened the season with a win over a Division I opponent for the first time since the 1998-99 season by defeating Lipscomb University 72-69 on Friday evening. The victory puts the Gents in the championship game of the American Family Insurance Cyclone Challenge on Saturday at 8 p.m. against tournament host Iowa State.


Centenary (1-0) trailed by as many as 11 points with 13:26 remaining in the game, but rode the tandem of Nick Stallings and Tyrone Hamilton down the stretch. Trailing 48-37, the Gents went on a 17-2 run over a five-minute span to take its first lead of the second half at 54-50. Hamilton and Stallings combined for 12 points in the comeback, which also included a big three-point play from Lance Hill.


The Gents were only threatened on a couple of occasions the rest of the way. Lipscomb (0-1) regained the lead shortly on an old fashioned three-point play of its own by Jason Hopkins with six minutes to go to move on top at 60-59. But Centenary responded with a three-pointer by Chase Adams and a pair of free throws by Hamilton.


Lipscomb countered with another jumper and a free throw by Hopkins to take a three-point lead, but again Centenary bounced back. Adams made one of two free throws and then a turnover led to a dunk by Jerrald Bonham to knot the score at 67 apiece with 1:57 to play.


Centenary’s defense would force three more turnovers and Hamilton knocked down 5-of-8 free throws down the stretch to hold off the Bison.


In the first half, the Gents hung tough despite playing from behind most of the way. Centenary trailed by 11 at 29-18 after a three-pointer by Lipscomb’s Michael Lusk. The Maroon and White then showed a preview of the comeback it would make in the second half by answering with seven consecutive points, five coming from Stallings, to narrow the gap to 29-25. The Bison took a four-point lead into the half, leading 33-29.


Both teams played a messy opening 20 minutes with each team committing 16 turnovers. The difference was a second half adjustment by the Gents, which resulted in only four turnovers in the second period. Lipscomb finished with 30 turnovers in the loss.


Statistically, Lipscomb outshot the Gents 49% to 37.7% from the field and outrebounded Centenary 42-28. Centenary made up for the lack of precision shooting and rebounding by forcing the extra turnovers and by outshooting the Bison at the charity stripe 75.8% (25-of-33) to 55.2% (16-of-29).


Hamilton led all scorers with 23 points on 5-of-16 from the floor, which included four three-pointers, and 9-of-12 from the line. Stallings, who fouled out with just over four minutes left, pumped in 21 points on 5-of-10 from the field and 10-of-12 from the stripe. Bonham had a career-high 13 points to go with a team-high seven boards while Adams contributed nine points in the win. Adams, Hamilton, and Stallings each had four steals as well.


Hopkins led Lipscomb with 14 points. Jimmy Oden added 13 points and Thomas Pfaff finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.