Gents Win!
Friday, February 25, 2011

SHREVEPORT-The Centenary men's basketball team proved most wrong when it snapped its 28-game winless streak in a 73-60 victory over Summit League foe, Western Illinois on Thursday evening in the Gold Dome.

The Gents (1-28, 1-16 Summit) fired off two career-bests as junior Maxx Nakwaasah tallied a career-high 24 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. The forward tallied his sixth career double-double and third this season. Freshman Jonathan Blount rattled off a 19-point performance for a career-best. Each Gent knocked down eight free throws.

Thursday's win was head coach Adam Walsh's first career win as the leader of the Gents' program. The victory also snapped 33 games in which Centenary was found in the losing column from a year ago. The last win for this program dates back to Feb. 6, 2010 at IPFW in an 80-78 thriller.



Centenary opened with one of its best starts of the season, taking the early lead to an 11-point advantage (18-7) after a 12-0 lead with 10:55 left to play in the opening half. The Gents continued to build on their early success, extending their lead to the highest of the game at 25-9, a 16-point lead with 7:43 remaining.

Western Illinois picked up some momentum midway through the half after several Centenary fouls and turnovers, narrowing the deficit to six (30-24) with 1:46 to play in the first half.

The Gents picked up two free throws from Blount to go up by eight at the break, 32-24.

Western Illinois opened with a three-pointer to pull within five, but Blount responded immediately with a three of his own. The Leathernecks drained another three to make it a five-point game again; however Centenary would not allow Western Illinois to trim the Gents' lead to any more than five for the remainder the game.

Centenary remained composed and in control with a solid lead throughout the final 20 minutes. Nakwaasah hit all eight of his free throws in the second half alone, scoring 14 of his 24.

The Gents went up by 14 (59-45) with 4:20 left and kept Western Illinois from gaining any late-game momentum.

Centenary finished the night shooting 51 percent (21-41) from the field and tied a team-best 50 percent from the three-point line with an 8-of-16 effort.

Following Nakwaassah and Blount's strong outings was freshman Logan Lowery with nine points on three treys. Sophomores Jeron Trotman and Travis Sims, along with freshman Aaron Harwell contributed with five, while newcomer Quin Cooper and sophomore Leo Davis each drained a three.

Western Illinois shot 34 percent (19-56). Jack Houpt led the Leathernecks with 15 points. The Gents held WIU's scoring leader Matt Lander, who averages 17.3 ppg, to just 10 points on the night.

Centenary out rebounded, 33 to 30. Nakwaasah's 11 was a game-best. Sims pulled six off the bench.

Freshman Andrew Rebol led the team with two key steals in 13 minutes of play.

"We had a strong week of practice and it translated into the win tonight. It felt great," said Nakwaasah.

"Our guys had the best week of practice. They fought harder than they have ever worked," said Walsh.

"We have been waiting on this day for a very long time. I wanted this so bad for our players. They deserve this win and it's huge for the program. We are at a high right now, so hopefully we can come out and play hard on Saturday."

Centenary will return to action on Saturday when it hosts IUPUI at 4:30 pm in the Gold Dome for the final game of the 2010-11 season.