Second Half Surge Not Enough in 86-62 Loss to Big 12 Oklahoma
Thursday, December 10, 2009
NORMAN, Okla.-The Centenary men's basketball team played a much stronger second half, but dropped its Wednesday night contest to the Big 12 Oklahoma Sooners, 86-62. 

The Gents fell to 4-4 on the season with the loss, while the Sooners improved to 6-3.

It was a tough start for Centenary as Sooner Tony Crocker, alone, put the Gents down 13-0 on three treys. Sophomore David Perez drained a three at the 15-minute mark to put Centenary on the board.

Outsized in the paint, the Gents allowed Oklahoma to extend their early lead to13, 23-10 with 10 minutes to play. Freshmen Matt Marseille, Daman Starring, and David Swartz each contributed with baskets.

The Sooners used several Centenary turnovers to go up by 21 on an 8-0 run on two deep three pointers by Crocker. A layup by Starring ended the surge, but put the Gents down 34-12 with under eight minutes to go.

Forcing Oklahoma to a turnover in the paint sent senior Jerrald Bonham to the line, where he hit one-of-two. The Sooners picked up two big blocks on the defensive end before Marseille nailed a mid-range jumper and freshman Pedro Maciel drained a three from the left side for a 5-0 run (38-18).

Down by 20 with three minutes to play, Maciel and Starring combined for four points to chip away at the lead (41-22). Perez hit a late three to make it a 20-point game, but a layup by Oklahoma led at the half, 47-25.

Centenary shot 32 percent (10-of-31) from the floor, led by Starring with seven. But Oklahoma's Crocker fired off 29 points in the opening 20 minutes to pace the Sooners to a 47 percent (18-of-37) performance.

The second half opened with a jumper by Maciel, while the Gents didn't allow Oklahoma to score until the 17:24 mark. David Swartz and Bonham each knocked down shots to trim the lead to 18, 51-33, after five minutes. However, Oklahoma responded with a 5-0 run.

With a solid lead at 24 (59-35), the Sooners gave way to five straight points by Centenary on two made free throws by junior Roman Tubner and a three by sophomore Maxx Nakwaasah.

Oklahoma stopped the Gents' surge, but Perez hit two treys and a layup for seven points and Starring laid the ball up for a 9-2 run to make it a 15-point game (65-50) with 6:30 on the clock.

Centenary couldn't trim the lead anymore as the Sooners used eight points to again, make it a double-figure game at 20 (73-53) with just under four minutes to play.

With a minute to go, Perez hit two treys to narrow it to 18 (80-62), but Oklahoma used three final layups to take the game into their hands.

Centenary shot 37.1 percent (23-of-62) from the floor on the night led by Perez with 20 points. Following the sophomore was classmate Nakwaasah with 14. Starring chipped in with nine, while Maciel had seven off the bench.

Oklahoma shot 47 percent (34-of-73) from the field, led by Crocker with a career-high 33 points. Tiny Gallon contributed with 16 for the Sooners.

The Gents were out rebounded, 49-33. Starring led with a career-best nine rebounds, while Tubner and Bonham each had six.

"Oklahoma has a lot of weapons and we were just undersized," said head coach Greg Gary.

"We had a pretty good second half and our guys fought back. We are young and we will just continue to learn."

Centenary will be back in action on Saturday when it host in-state rival, Louisiana Tech, at 7:00 pm in the Gold Dome. Fans can follow all action through live streaming and live stats on www.GoCentenary.com.