Gents Open with NDSU in Summit League Championship
Thursday, March 5, 2009

SHREVEPORT—Under first year head coach Greg Gary, the Centenary men’s basketball team captured the eighth seed in The Summit League Championship after a must-win situation last Saturday. The Gents will face the top-seeded Bison of North Dakota State on Saturday at 6 p.m. in Sioux Falls, SD.


Centenary (8-22, 6-12) finished the season with a successful finish in last Saturday’s contest, taking a 76-66 win over South Dakota State in the Gold Dome to make the tournament. It came down to the Gents’ last regular season game, whether or not they were given a bid, as they tied Western Illinois in the regular season standings. Centenary took control of the final spot due to tiebreaker procedures, after beating Oakland in an 80-60 contest earlier this year.


“This is a great opportunity for us as we are one of eight that have the chance to continue playing,” said head coach Gary.


The win over the Jackrabbits snapped an eight-game losing streak for the Gents, as well as gave them their first win in the month of February. Freshman Maxx Nakwaasah performed well off the bench, garnering his first double double of his career with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while senior Nick Stallings poured in a game-high 22 points.


“I’m proud that we were able to come through with a win in that situation. We played with tremendous effort and I’m happy for our seniors,” Gary said.


Since game one, Stallings has continued to pace the Gents with 15.0 points and 6.2 rebounds a game as the only Gent to have started all 30 contests this season. Meanwhile, junior Chase Adams adds 14.2 points and dishes out 4.2 assists per game. Gary Redus II adds 12.1 points to the offense.


Centenary is shooting 40 percent from the floor this season, knocking down 64 points a game. The Gents pull down just 30 boards, but lead the league with 8.8 steals and 7.6 three-point field goals made each outing.


North Dakota State (23-6, 16-2) won the outright regular season title after stealing a 75-72 win away from Oral Roberts last Saturday to decide the top seed in the tournament. This regular season league title was the first the Bison have won since the 1981 season when they captured the title in the North Central Conference.


Led by Ben Woodside’s 29 points and Brett Winkelman’s 21, NDSU snapped ORU’s 35-game home conference winning streak in Tulsa at Mabee Center.


Woodside leads the Bison offense with 23.0 points a game, while teammate Winkelman adds 18.8 points and 7.3 rebounds to their consistent play. Mike Nelson contributes with 11.7 points a contest.


NDSU leads the league in nine categories. The most impressive of which is its ability to knock down over 81 points a contest, shooting an astounding 49 percent from the floor. The Bison is second among league rankings with 35.8 rebounds a game.


The all-time series between Centenary and NDSU is currently in favor of the Bison, 4-0 since meeting for the first time last season. The two teams met just a week ago, when NDSU took an 89-79 win over Centenary in the Gold Dome.


“We have to approach the tournament like it’s a brand new season. We lost some close games of late, but I feel like we have gotten much better. The guys are excited and we feel like anything can happen,” said Gary.


The game can be heard locally on KSCL 91.3 FM and