Gents Tested by Oakland; Drop 98-71 Contest in Gold Dome
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
SHREVEPORT-The Centenary men's basketball team is coming off a month-long road trip and was tested in the Gold Dome on Tuesday night as Summit League's pre-season favorite, Oakland, walked away with a 98-71 win over the Gents.

Centenary (0-14, 0-3) would fall to 0-3 in league play as Oakland (8-8, 3-0) remained perfect at 3-0. The Gents were led offensively by junior Maxx Nakwaasah's 16 points, while freshman Jonathan Blount showcased a strong outing, producing a career-best 13 points off the bench. The two combined for 12-of-15 from the free throw line.  

Centenary was never able to hold a lead after thirty seconds in as Oakland used a consistent shooting effort to go up by as many as 21 three different times. After being down by just eight, the Gents allowed a 15-2 run, including back-to-back treys by the Golden Grizzlies to gain its first 21-point lead midway through the half.

The Gents used its own spark on an 8-3 run as Nakwaasah poured in six of the eight points. After giving up two made free throws by Oakland, Centenary would finish with six unanswered points and a four-of-four effort from the free throw line.

Oakland led 51-39 at half.

The Golden Grizzlies showcased their offensive prowess in the second half, shooting an impressive 69 percent from the floor and never allowed Centenary within single digits. The closest the Gents would come in the final 20 minutes would be 13 (53-40) early in the half.

Blount, off the bench, provided Centenary with a strong second half, contributing 13 points, including a 6-of-7 effort from the free throw line. A four-minute span passed for the Gents without a field goal as they saw themselves down by 24 (76-50) with just under eight minutes left to play.

In a 46-second time frame, Blount knocked down six straight free throws and a lay up for eight points for Centenary. Inside dominance by Oakland began to take over late in the game and the Golden Grizzlies were able to gain their largest lead of the night at 30 (88-58) with 3:08 remaining.

Oakland finished the night shooting 56 percent (34-61) from the field and 44 percent (10-23) from behind the arc.

Preseason Player of the Year Keith Benson tallied a game-best 28 points, nine rebounds, and seven blocks for the Golden Grizzlies. He was one of five Oakland players who scored in double-digits.

Drew Valentine recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards, while Ilija Milutinovic contributed with 12 off the bench.

Centenary shot 36 percent (23-63) from the floor, but produced its best shooting performance of the year from the free throw line, knocking down 21-of-26 free attempts for 81 percent.

Behind Nakwaasah and Blount was freshman Quin Cooper with a career-best nine points in just 19 minutes of play. Freshman Aaron Harwell added seven and tallied four steals, while sophomores Leo Davis and Baba Diallo and freshman Logan Lowery each had six and Davis dished off a team-best five assists.

Centenary was out rebounded 42 to 31 as Nakwaasah had a squad-best nine boards, followed by sophomore Jeron Trotman with five.

The Gents managed to keep its turnover total to just 15 as Oakland was forced into 17 on 11 Centenary steals.

Centenary will be back in action on Thursday when it hosts IPFW at 7 pm in the Gold Dome.