Hamilton's 29 points Not Enough Against SUU
Friday, January 25, 2008

CEDAR CITY, Utah—Tyrone Hamilton poured in 29 points on Thursday night against Southern Utah, but it was not enough as Centenary came up short, 82-79, against the Thunderbirds. Southern Utah dominated the Gents on the boards 35-26 and used the extra looks to sink two more shots and grab the win.


Centenary (9-11, 3-5 Summit) took the early lead, surprising the T-Birds with a 12-2 run out of the gate to take a 12-6 advantage after four minutes of play. Hamilton and Nick Stallings each had five points over the stretch, steering what seemed to be an unstoppable Centenary offense through 10 minutes of play.


Trailing 27-22, Southern Utah (5-14, 3-5 Summit) got hot and came roaring back with a 17-4 run of its own. The Thunderbirds sank seven consecutive shots during the rally and landed on top 39-31. The Gents battled back to tie the game, but Geoff Payne hit two free throws to send SUU into the half with a 44-42 lead.


The game of streaks continued in the second half as Southern Utah used a 9-0 spurt to break up a 54-54 tie. Ahead 63-54, the Thunderbirds were blind-sided when Hamilton caught fire and scored 15 straight points for Centenary over three minutes. The junior pumped in four three-pointers and added an old-fashioned three-point play to put the Gents back on top at 69-67 with 9:20 remaining.


Another trifecta by Hamilton knotted the game for the tenth time at 75-75 with just over four minutes to go. Only two points were scored over the next four minutes by either team (SUU) until Tyler Quinney netted his only points of the game when he tipped in a missed shot for the T-Birds to give them a four-point lead with 18 seconds left.


The Gents were still down three at 80-77 and inbounding the ball under their own basket with eight ticks to go. Centenary had a chance to tie with a three-pointer, but instead chose to take the easy two-points on a bucket inside by Lance Hill. Trailing by one, the Gents were forced to foul. Dave Marek hit both free throws for Southern Utah and Centenary would not get a chance to get a three-pointer off to tie the game as time expired.


Hamilton’s 29 points tied his career-high. He made good on 9-of-18 shots from the floor, 6-of-12 from deep and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. Stallings added 21 points and Hill finished with 14 in the loss for Centenary.


Tate Sorensen collected 15 points to pace Southern Utah. Payne tallied 13 points and 11 assists and three other players scored more than 10 points.


The Gents shot 51.7 percent compared to 52.5 percent for the home team. Both teams committed 13 turnovers and SUU was 14-of-19 from the line. Centenary was 12-of-17 from the charity stripe.


The Gents return to action on Saturday when they travel to Kansas City to face UMKC at 7 p.m.