Pesky Jackrabbits Stay Close, But Gents Win 80-77
Thursday, December 6, 2007

SHREVEPORT – For the first time since 2003, the Centenary men’s basketball team opened up conference play with a victory. The Gents were winners on Thursday night over Summit League newcomer South Dakota State, 80-77, in the Gold Dome.


The early goings of the first half were a back-and-forth affair, as neither team could get a lead larger than four.  SDSU jumped on top first at 4-0, but Centenary quickly answered back to tie the game at nine. The Gents got their first lead with 12:40 remaining in the period and only relinquished it two times; however, both the teams went into the locker room tied at 37.


Centenary’s defense played well in the opening period, as it held the Jackrabbits to 14-of-33 shooting from the field. The Gents offense on the other hand, played lights out, as they shot 53 percent (16-of-30). The deep threat was also there for Centenary, as it nailed 57 percent (4-of-7) of its shots.


Leading the Gents offense were juniors Lance Hill and Tyrone Hamilton, who had 12 and 10 points respectively. Classmate Nick Stallings cleaned up the glass on the defensive side of the court, pulling down four rebounds, while Hamilton had three boards.


Midway through the second half, Centenary’s offense went cold as it only hit a free throw in nearly three minutes of action. However, things changed when Stallings picked a lazy pass off and took it the other way, slamming it home.


Before the dunk, the Gents were shooting just 40 percent from the field, but afterwards they improved to 50 percent in the period, shooting 6-of-8 in the final seven and a half minutes of play.  


During the second 20 minutes, it was the Centenary defense that kept SDSU from pulling away. SDSU was forced into eight turnovers in the second half, while the Gents had four steals in the period. 


The staggering Centenary defense also held the Jackrabbits to only 29 shots in the period and 3-of-11 shooting from deep.


Individually for the game, SDSU’s Kai Williams led the way with 28 points and 18 rebounds for SDSU.


The Gents were led by Hill’s career-high 24 points and 11 rebounds. The 6’7” post player drained all four of his attempts from the three-point line on the night and sank four consecutive free throws in the last minute of action. Hamilton also added 24 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals. Stallings totaled nine points and six assists.


The next action for Centenary will be on Saturday when it hosts North Dakota State, another Summit League newcomer, at 5:30 p.m.