Gents Win 2OT Thriller Against McMurry to Run Winning Streak to 4
Sunday, November 29, 2015

ABILENE, Texas – While the Gents may have shot below their season average in free throw percentage, their ability to get to the charity stripe was critical all game.

The Maroon and White ended the game on a 9-1 run, including the game-winning old-fashioned three by junior James Sapp with less than 10 seconds left, as Centenary (4-2) outlasted McMurry (1-3) 92-91 in two overtimes Sunday night, November 29.

“We are proud of our guys for being able to pull this one out,” said head coach Adam Walsh. “It’s good to find out early in the year what you are made of in late game situations and what we can learn from them.”

Down 90-83 with three minutes left in the second overtime, sophomore Travion Kirkendoll hit a critical three. The Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference leading scorer finished the game with 19 points, ending his 20+ scoring streak at five to begin the season but extended his double-digit scoring streak to 16 games.

Sapp, who finished the game with a double-double of 30 points and 17 rebounds, then went 3-for-4 from the line to pull Centenary within 90-89 with a minute left. The Gents forced a stop, but Sapp’s jumper from the top of the key clanged off the rim as McMurry grabbed the rebound with 29 seconds left. Centenary was forced to foul and the Warhawks split from line.

Centenary inbounded with 27 seconds left. Junior Brandon Campbell missed a jumper, but Sapp grabbed the board and got the hoop and harm with less than 10 ticks left. Despite the McMurry timeout, Sapp swished the free throw and the home team’s jumper fell short as Centenary claimed the hard-fought, 92-91 win.

“James finally played the way we all know he is capable of playing and hopefully this game gets him rolling again,” said Walsh. “We are occasionally going to need huge nights from one guy, but we have a very balanced group that when they all play together, they can all contribute.”

Despite the Warhawks winning the turnover battle 21-16, the Gents made the most of the McMurry miscues as Centenary outscored the home team 21-10. The Maroon and White made McMurry pay down on the blocks, outscoring them 34-30 in points in the paint and making 11 more free throws (21) than McMurry attempted (10).

Centenary held a slim 34-32 lead into halftime, but McMurry fought back for a 61-52 lead with 9:34 left in regulation. At the 8:32 mark, Kirkendoll ripped down a defensive board and was fouled. With Centenary in the bonus, Kirkendoll made the free throw and bonus to cut the deficit to seven. After a stop, senior Justin Cueto made his only three of the game to cut the deficit to four. After the media timeout, Campbell hit a jumper and Kirkendoll added the hoop and harm as in a little more than two minutes, Centenary took a 62-61 lead.

With McMurry up 68-66, Trumaine Elmore hit a pair from the line and Nate Estrada hit a triple to push the Warhawk lead to 73-66 with 3:37 left in regulation. Estrada hit five triples in the game, leading a quintet of double-digit scorers who reached double-digits for the home team, finishing the game with 17 points and six assists with zero turnovers.

Sapp answered with a jumper, followed by a Campbell steal. Campbell fed Kirkendoll, who hit junior Kendall Demouchet for the fastbreak hoop to cut the deficit to three with three minutes left. Demouchet finished the game with 16 boards, eight rebounds, four steals and one block. He leads the SCAC in the latter two categories.

After another McMurry miscue, Kirkendoll hit a jumper to cut the deficit to one. After a stop, Campbell squared up for a triple to put the visitors up 75-73 with two minutes left in regulation. Campbell came off the bench for 20 points, five assists, four rebounds and a pair of steals.

Both teams went cold to finish regulation until the iron proved kind for the home team at the end of regulation. Inbounding under the hoop with just more than two seconds left, Estrada found LaRandall Scroggins. His jumper in the paint bounced off the rim and fell through to send the game to overtime. Scroggins finished the game with 15 points and a team-best nine rebounds.

“Both teams made big shots late, and we are just happy we made the last one count,” added Walsh.

Centenary, coming off six games and an exhibition contest in 15 days, takes the whole week off before returning to action next Sunday at Millsaps December 6. Tip-time scheduled for 5 p.m.