HAMMOND, La. - The Gents rallied from an early nine-point deficit to pull within three with eight minutes left in the first half, but the Lions led by 13 at the break and scored 20 unanswered in a four-minute span in the second half as Centenary, in its final exhibition, fell to Southeastern Louisiana in its season opener, 99-67 Friday night, November 10.
Down 13-5 early, the Gents took its only lead of the game with an 11-2 run. Junior Treylan Matthews made a triple, while classmate Regis Johnson hit a jumper while being fouled. He completed the three-point play and brought Centenary within two. Keith Charleston made a jumper to stem the tide for the home team, but Matthews hit another three. A foul by the Lions off the ball while the shot was in the air gave the ball back to the Gents, and sophomore Cedric Harris hit the jumper to give the Maroon and White the lead.
Harris led all scorers with 21 points, while senior Travion Kirkendoll added 12 points and hit all four free throws attempted. Centenary shot 50 percent (13-for-26) in the first half - including 6-for-10 (60 percent) from three - but cooled off in the second half and finished 24-for-51 (47.1 percent) for the game.
With Centenary down 29-20 with 12 minutes left in the first half, junior Mitchell Tarantolo hit a jumper, Johnson split from the line, and Harris made a three to pull Centenary within three. Kirkendoll later hit a three to pull the Gents within two at 35-33, but a 10-2 run by the Lions pushed the game to double-digits for good.
During the Lions 20-straight points in the second half, they went 6-for-6 from the field and 6-for-8 from the line to expand the lead to 31 at 82-51. Eddy Palanco led a quintet of Southeastern Louisiana players with 18 points. While the Lions shot 13-for-27 (48.1 percent) from the field in the first half, they upped it to 16-for-27 (59.3 percent) in the second half to shoot 29-for-54 (53.7 percent) for the game.
Centenary opens up the 2017 season Wednesday when it hosts East Texas Baptist November 15. Tip is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.