Nakwaasah, Blount Deliver Key Efforts in Exciting Win for Gents
Friday, January 13, 2012

SHREVEPORT-Senior Maxx Nakwaasah's double-double and sophomore Jonathan Blount's career night propel the Centenary men's basketball team to an exciting 87-84 win over Mississippi College on Thursday evening in the Gold Dome to send the Gents on a three-game win streak.

The win improved second-year head coach Adam Walsh's squad to 4-7 overall and extended the win streak to three. The last time the Gents won three in a row came back in 2009-10 and the last time three wins at home came in a row was during the 2007-08 season.

Nakwaasah, who is nearing the 1,000 career point mark didn't disappoint once again as he lead all scorers with 28 points. The Dallas, Texas native notched his second straight double-double adding 10 rebounds to the mix and recorded his ninth 20+ game of the season.

With the 28 points, Nakwaasah is just 13 points away from the historic milestone of 1,000 points during his career at Centenary.

Following Nakwaasah in scoring was Blount, who produced his career-best night with 25 points, surpassing his previous high of 23, which came in a win over Sul Ross State on Jan. 5 this year.

Nakwaasah and Blount combined to hit 24-of-30 from the charity stripe including key free throws in the final minutes of play to seal the win.

Also producing a career game was freshman Isaiah Whitaker, tallying 11 points on 5-of-7 from the field. Freshmen Tyler Wright and JaColby Hardin-Crawford added six off the bench, while sophomores Brandon Center and Jairus Browning chipped in with five.

Centenary shot 48 percent (24-50) from the floor and hit 10-of-21 from deep for 48 percent. A key difference late in the game was the free throw effort as Centenary tallied an 80 percent (29-36) performance.

The Gents outrebounded Mississippi College, 35 to 28. Nakwaasah tallied 10 boards, followed by Blount with seven.

Centenary led for the entire half and pulled off its largest lead at 12 with 11:32 left. Three pointers lifted the Gents to a strong opening half with seven made.

Up by 12 (31-19), Centenary allowed Mississippi College a 14-3 run midway through the half to narrow the score to one (34-33) with 6:03 left.

A technical foul by the Choctaws have way to two made free throws by Blount, which opened a stretch of five unanswered points for Centenary to regain a six-point lead (39-33).

Hardin-Crawford, off the bench, sank a three with 4:07 to play to jump start a strong first half finish for the Gents and Nakwaasah scored six Gents points in the final two minutes to help Centenary to a 50-42 lead at the half.

Despite making it an interesting second half, Mississippi College never led. Centenary maintained a pretty solid lead until a 9-3 happened by the Choctaws and the score as a three-point game (71-68) with seven minutes left.

Free throws by Blount and Nakwaasah put Centenary back up by 12 (80-68) with 3:38 remaining, but Mississippi College didn't let up as they went on a 12-4 run to bring it within two (84-82) with 1:20 on the clock. Blount's free throw made it a three-point game, but a Centenary followed allowed Mississippi College to trim it to one.

What better person than Nakwaasah to be fouled with 13 seconds left as the senior sank both for the win.

"It was a great team effort. I am extremely proud of the way our guys played. Isaiah [Whitaker] had a huge game for us and we got the ball in the hands of Jonathan [Blount] and Maxx [Nakwaasah] late, which proved key," said Walsh.

"We have worked extremely hard in practice to build and succeed on previous highs. A three-game win streak is something we have focused on and we were able to accomplish that tonight."

UP NEXT

Centenary will return to action on Saturday when it welcomes Louisiana College to the Gold Dome at 3 pm.