Gents Face Tough WIU Team, Drop Final Home Game
Sunday, February 14, 2010
SHREVEPORT-Freshman Daman Starring scored a team-best 20 points for Centenary, but it proved to be not enough as Western Illinois escaped a close game, dropping the Gents 64-55 on Saturday evening in Summit League play.

The Gents (8-18, 3-12 Summit) were faced with a sharp-shooting Fighting Leathernecks (11-14, 4-10 Summit) team as they fell in their final home game of the season. Behind Starring in scoring for Centenary was senior Jerrald Bonham with 14, who was honored as Centenary's lone senior during pregame ceremonies and freshman Pedro Maciel with 10.

Playing its best defense to open a game, Centenary held Western Illinois scoreless for the first five minutes as it put up seven straight on a Starring jumper, a Maciel three and a Matt Marseille lay up.

Maciel drained another three to pull ahead by seven (10-3) with 13:45 to play. For three straight minutes, Western Illinois and Centenary continued to exchange baskets, as the Gents were able to keep the Fighting Leathernecks at bay and within four.

Bonham had back-to-back lay ups midway through the half that allowed Centenary to remain on top by six (19-13). Western Illinois trimmed the Gents' lead to three, before Starring and sophomore Maxx Nakwaasah each combined for five of six from the line within a two-minute span and regain a solid lead at six (24-18).

Despite allowing the Fighting Leathernecks to run off four consecutive points, Starring sank his first trey and Marseille hit two in the paint to take a seven-point (29-22) lead with 1:30 left.

A Centenary foul with 31 seconds allowed Western Illinois to pull within five (29-24) as the teams headed into halftime.

Western Illinois came out strong, connecting on the first six points to take its first lead (30-29) of the game at the 18:20 mark. The Fighting Leathernecks continued to extend its lead, going up by as many as four (33-29) before Centenary would score in the second half.

A three by Starring and two successful shots from the charity stripe by sophomore David Perez and Bonham made it a one-point game, 37-36 with 14 minutes remaining. 

After a Western Illinois lay up, Maciel tied the game at 39-39 on two made free throws, but the Gents couldn't at that time, regain a lead, allowing a 4-0 run by Western Illinois to follow.

Starring continued to pour in the points as he gave Centenary its first lead of the half on a fade away jumper and a free throw that found the bottom of the net to go ahead 47-46.

It became a back-and-forth battle as each team found itself at the free throw line midway through the final 20 minutes. Western Illinois gained a three-point advantage after three made charity shots. Though, Bonham hit two to narrow it again, to one (51-50).

The Fighting Leathernecks gained a seven-point lead after seven straight. Bonham then drove the lane for two with just over a minute to play. Though, free throws propelled Western Illinois in the end.

Centenary didn't shoot its best, connecting on just 14-55 for 25.5 percent, while Western Illinois was much better from the field at 54.5 percent (18-33).

Leading the way offensively for the Fighting Leathernecks was Ceola Clark with a game-high 21 points. Matt Lander contributed with 10 off the bench.

Both teams finished with 33 rebounds as Nakwaasah led Centenary with a game-best, 10 boards. James Granstra and Quenton Kirby each had 10 rebounds for Western Illinois.

"We just face a Western Illinois team that was much tougher than us tonight," said head coach Greg Gary

Centenary will travel to Oral Roberts on Tuesday, February 16 for a 7:05 pm contest.