Sizzling Shooting Not Enough for Gents
Thursday, February 21, 2008

SHREVEPORT—The Centenary men’s basketball team shot over 60 percent from the field, drained 11 3-pointers, and received a career-high 35 points from Nick Stallings, but could not defeat Southern Utah in the Gold Dome on Thursday night. The Gents fell to the visiting Thunderbirds 98-94 in a shootout.


The first half featured hot shooting from both teams as Southern Utah (9-18, 7-9 Summit) shot 58 percent and Centenary (9-18, 3-12 Summit) converted 50 percent of its attempts. The Thunderbirds led early, but never by more than seven through the first 16 minutes of play.


Centenary, hanging with Southern Utah, kept within striking distance and took its first lead with 10 minutes to play at 26-25 on a put-back by Nick Stallings. An 8-2 Gents run gave the home team its biggest advantage in the game at four points after back-to-back 3-pointers from Tyrone Hamilton and Stallings.


Answering the Centenary run, Southern Utah went to its all-league candidate, Geoff Payne, and the junior delivered. He scored six of the Thunderbirds final nine points of the half, all on free throws, and SUU held Centenary scoreless over the final 3:45 of the period to go into the break on top 47-38.


Southern Utah was 15-of-17 from the free throw line in the first 20 minutes compared to Centenary’s 4-of-6. Payne alone out-shot the Gents from the line, going 7-of-8.


Southern Utah opened up its lead to 14 points six minutes into the second half, but a basket inside by Lance Hill and two 3-pointers from Stallings quickly cut the deficit back down to just six for the Gents.


Centenary pulled within four points on several occasions, but at one point missed five of eight free throws over a five-minute stretch that allowed the Thunderbirds to move out to a 10-point lead. The Gents still had fight in them though and used a 7-0 run to creep back within four at 89-85 with 1:01 remaining in the game, but it would not be enough.


Both teams shot over 70 percent in the second half, with Centenary leading the way at 73 percent. The spectacular shooting by the Gents just could not make up for the free throw disparity, which was in favor of Southern Utah. The T-Birds finished the game 30-of-36 from the charity stripe, while the Gents were 15-of-22.


Stallings’ career-high of 35 points came on 13-of-18 shooting from the floor, 5-of-7 from the 3-point line, and 4-of-6 from the free throw line. Hamilton added 21 points and seven assists and Lance Hill had 14 points. Chase Adams scored eight points in the loss and dished out nine assists.


Payne paced Southern Utah with 30 points on 9-of-11 from the field and 11-of-12 from the stripe. Tyler Quinney tossed in 21 points, Dave Marek had 17, and Cris Hoopes scored 14 off the bench for the T-Birds.


Centenary wraps up its home schedule with a 5:30 p.m. game on Saturday in the Gold Dome. The game is homecoming and will feature many added entertainment opportunities.