Gents Sink Free Throws and Western Illinois
Thursday, January 17, 2008

SHREVEPORT—In a marathon game that lasted nearly two and a half hours without an overtime and saw 87 free throw attempts, Centenary outlasted Western Illinois to end its six-game losing streak with a 95-88 victory on Thursday. The Gents made good on 13 consecutive free throws to end the game as both teams combined to score 25 points in the final 47 seconds of the contest as the clock seemed to never move.


Centenary (8-10, 2-4 Summit) took a 65-58 lead with 10 minutes left in the second half and seemed to have solved Western Illinois at that point. The Gents and the crowd were filled with confidence, but the Leathernecks answered with a 10-0 run on the strength of three long distance shots and a free throw from Jerryck Owens-Murray to claim a three-point advantage. Owens-Murray would shoot 16 free throws on the evening, making 10 of his tries.


The game see-sawed back and forth for more than five minutes until Lance Hill dropped in a big three-pointer to give Centenary the lead for good. Trailing 76-74 with 2:29 to go, Hill held the ball at the top of the key looking for a teammate to pass to when his defender, Louis Johnson, tripped and fell to the floor. Seizing the opportunity, Hill took one dribble forward and launched a three-ball that seemed to touch every part of the net as it rattled home.


Western Illinois (8-9, 3-3 Summit) tried to answer with a three-pointer of its own from James Washington, who was 5-for-5 from long distance at the time, but Washington misfired and Centenary’s Nick Stallings was fouled on the rebound. He sank only one of his two free throws, but the Gents retained possession when the ball trickled out of bounds off of a WIU player. Stallings then dropped in a running jumper and converted on the three-point play after being fouled.


Leading 83-76 with 47 seconds to play, the Gents sank all of their free throw attempts the rest of the way to seal the victory.


Western Illinois led at the half, 37-36, on the strong shooting of Washington and David Nurse. The duo combined for 24 points in the opening half by draining 6-of-7 three-point shots. Centenary held close as Tyrone Hamilton felt the hot hand, finishing the half with 16 points with three trifectas of his own.


Hamilton led four Gents in double figures with 21 points despite not scoring over the last 13 minutes of the game. Hill finished with 19 points, Stallings had 18 points, and Chase Adams poured in 17 points. Adams was a perfect 12-of-12 from the free throw line, pulled down seven rebounds, dished out four assists, and had four steals.


Centenary had four players with four or more steals in the win and totaled 14 as a team. Western Illinois managed just three steals in the loss.


Washington paced the Leathernecks with 28 points while fellow sharp-shooter Nurse finished with 26 points. David Jackson contributed 13 points for WIU and Owens-Murray had 12 points.


The Gents will face IUPUI on Saturday in the Gold Dome at 5:30 p.m. as it continues Summit League play.