Gents Fight, Fall Short to NSU
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
SHREVEPORT-The Centenary men's basketball team fell just short against I-49 in-state rival, NSU, 83-80, on Monday evening in non-conference action. 

The Gents (3-2) fired off a much-improved second half with 56 points, but had to overcome a large deficit to pull off a victory over the Demons (3-2).

It was an unusual start to the Gents offense as they remained scoreless for six minutes to open the game. NSU wasn't much better as they tallied four early points on drives by Michael McConathy to go ahead 4-0.

Freshman Matt Marseille put Centenary on board after connecting on one-of-two from the free throw line. The Demons responded with two lay ups and a three pointer to go ahead 11-1 with 13:20 to play. However, it was Marseille who ended the run on a three of his own.

NSU was sent to the free throw midway through the first half after Centenary got into early foul trouble. That gave way for an 11-point deficit for the Gents. Freshman Daman Starring and junior Roman Tubner combined for four free throws to pull within seven with 11 minutes left.

Down by 20 (36-16) with 3:57 to play, sophomore Maxx Nakwaasah drained both charity attempts and freshman Pedro Maciel drove the lane for a lay up to make it a 16-point game with just under two minutes to play.

NSU responded with a jumper and three, but Nakwaasah drained four more free throw attempts to end the half at 41-24.

Centenary managed to shoot 16.1 percent (5-of-31) from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, while NSU was impressive at 54 percent (15-of-28).

The Demons opened the second half with a three, but sophomore David Perez and Nakwaasah each hit two in consecutive possessions. Though it was NSU's offense that kept it within 20 at 50-30 with 15:50 to play.

Centenary remained down for most of the half by 20 on several missed opportunities, but Marseille, again, picked up the missing pieces on the boards and knocking down his second trey of the evening.

Despite knocking down some needed shots, the Gents allowed the Demons to respond with their own. It was a 58-38 game until three offensive rebounds led to a Marseille tip-in.

Again down by 20 at 66-46, Nakwaasah hit an uncontested three at 8:30 before Perez and Nakwaasah each hit jumpers to pull within 15 with just over six minutes to play. 

A mid-range screen by senior Jerrald Bonham opened up Perez, who drained a deep three, but NSU wouldn't allow the Gents to narrow the deficit much more. Bonham hit two free throws with 3:35 to play to give Centenary 60 points and make it a 14-point game at 74-60.

Starring fired off his first trey of the night, but a Gents' foul down the court led to two NSU free shots. Bonham helped the cause on a hard dunk from inside. Tubner gave Centenary a hard drive from the left side to make it a 76-67 game with 2:07 to play.

NSU's McConathy hit two free throws, but Tubner connected on a deep trey from the left corner with just under two minutes left to narrow the game to eight (78-70). Perez got Centenary within four (79-75) on another long ball with 40 seconds remaining.

Down by five, NSU sent Tubner to the line for two after a hard drive through the lane where he was successful on one of two. Forced to foul, the Gents sent the Demons to the line. With success, the Demons were able to go up 82-78 before Tubner laid the ball up for two.

Centenary had a chance with under two seconds to go, but fell just short at 83-80.

"The guys fought hard, we just can't fall down by so many that early. I am proud of the way they fought back," said head coach Greg Gary.

On the night, Centenary shot 39 percent (27-of-69) from the floor, while NSU was better at 54 percent (27-of-50). The Gents were led by Perez with 18 points and Nakwaasah with 17. Tubner was strong down the stretch, chipping in with 15.

NSU was led by Will Pratt with 16 and Shamir Davis with 13. McConathy and Damon Jones each added 12.

The Gents were outrebounded by just one (40-39) as Nakwaasah pulled down seven boards for Centenary.

Centenary will open Summit League play on Thursday against Southern Utah at 7:00 pm in the Gold Dome.