Gents Drop 81-75 Contest to SDSU
Friday, January 29, 2010
SHREVEPORT-The Centenary men's basketball team played a much better contest the second time through, but couldn't overcome a feisty South Dakota State team, falling 81-75, on Thursday evening in Summit League play.

The Gents (7-14, 2-8 Summit) were led by sophomore David Perez with 19 points, while freshman Daman Starring chipped in with 17. Centenary dropped its eighth league contest, while the Jackrabbits improved to 11-10 and 7-3 in league play.

It was a strong opening three minutes for Centenary as they took an early 5-0 lead after senior Jerrald Bonham and Starring combined for two baskets. Despite two more points by Bonham, South Dakota State responded with five consecutive points of its own to take its first lead of the game at 8-7 with 15 minutes to play.

Freshman Jeron Trotman came in off the bench and added some needed spark defensively, opening up scoring opportunities for Perez to sink the next six points for the Gents, followed by a three from sophomore Maxx Nakwaasah to go up 16-8 with 10:45 remaining.

The Jackrabbits continued to trim away at Centenary's lead after a 7-0 run to narrow the score to two (18-16). Two free throws by freshman Matt Marseille kept the Gents on top until a three by South Dakota State's Kai Williams drained a three to tie it up at 22-22.

The made shot went on to spark a 10-0 run by the visiting Jackrabbits, holding Centenary scoreless for the final six minutes until Marseille hit one shot from the charity stripe to send the Gents into halftime down, 29-23.

South Dakota State went up 34-23, however, the Gents proved their offensive capabilities on five points by Starring, three by Perez and a dunk by Bonham to pull within three (36-33).

After treys in back-to-back possessions by freshman Pedro Maciel and Starring, Maciel made it a one-point game on two successful free throws before freshman Leo Davis, off the bench, sank a long ball to tie the game at 47-47 near the 10:30 mark.

Trotman and Davis continued to show effort, combining for all seven of Centenary's points midway through the half. Centenary saw its chances slipping away when South Dakota State fired off seven points to the Gents two charity shots, going up by seven (66-59) with six minutes to play.

Missed scoring opportunities by Centenary in the final five minutes proved to be the key as the Jackrabbits had a commanding eight-point lead (68-60) with just over two to play. Nakwaasah drove the lane and drew the foul for a successful three-point play.

South Dakota State's Clint Sargent fired off his fifth three of the night to keep the Gents out of reach as Maciel laid the ball up and sank two charity shots for Centenary. Down by nine (76-67), Perez showed what he does best, by connecting on all three free throw attempts with 30 seconds to play.

Centenary shot 37 percent (23-62) from the floor and 32 percent (8-25) from behind the arc. Behind Perez and Starring was Maciel and Nakwaasah with nine apiece.

South Dakota State finished with a 43 percent (23-53) shooting performance and 50 percent (11-22) from the three-point line. Sargent led the Jackrabbits with 18 points, while Nate Wolters added 17. Williams finished with a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Centenary was out rebounded by just three (39-36) as Maciel led the Gents with eight boards.

"South Dakota State is an experienced team. They play well together and they know what it takes to win," said head coach Greg Gary.

"I felt like we had some guys step up for us. We are a team that is still learning and working on finishing games out."

The Gents will be back in action on Saturday at 4:30 pm when they host North Dakota State in the Gold Dome.