SHREVEPORT, La. - The Gents led since the 17:32 mark of the first half and withstood a late Majors run as Centenary (6-3) knocked off Millsaps (3-6) 71-68 at the 2017 Shreveport-Bossier Holiday Classic in the Gold Dome.
The Gents shot 50 percent (29-for-58) from the field compared to Millsaps 37.1 percent (23-for-62) - the lowest shooting percentage of the season for a Centenary opponent - but the Majors countered with a 13-8 advantage in three-point field goals made. Millsaps also shot 60 percent (9-for-15) from the line compared to the Gents season low of 35.7 percent (5-for-14).
Millsaps made the first three-pointer of the game, but Kirkendoll answered with a pair from the line. The Majors split from the charity stripe, and a sophomore Cedric Harris jumper tied the game. After a defensive stand, Kirkendoll made a triple to give the Gents the lead for good at 7-4 with 17:32 left in the first half.
Kirkendoll led the Gents with 18 points, nine assists, seven rebounds, and four steals.
Later up 9-8, Harris hit a jumper to start a run of eight unanswered. Neither team scored for the next 2:25, but a Mitchell Tarantolo jumper ended the draught. Junior Treylan Matthews picked up a steal and the hoop, and a layup from freshman KJ Bilbo extended the lead to 17-8 with 12:32 left in the half.
Later in the half, Millsaps' Sam Kohnke hit a three with 2:28 left, but Centenary scored a pair of baskets and held the Majors without a point the rest of the way. Tarantolo and Kirkendoll hit jumpers as Centenary led by nine at intermission - the first halftime advantage for the Maroon and White at home this season.
Centenary led 58-50 with 6:52 left, when an 8-1 Gents run pushed the lead to 15, their largest of the game. Sophomore Jericho Gray hit a jumper out of a timeout and Matthews made a pair from the charity stripe. Matthews then made a steal and another fast break layup. After a Millsaps split from the line, freshman Raylon Hardy made a layup. Centenary led 66-51 with 4:10 left.
Matthews added 17 points on 6-for-9 shooting in the game - including hitting all three shots taken from beyond the arc.
However, Millsaps went on a 17-5 run and had a late chance to tie the game. It started with 10 unanswered for the Majors when Michael Sullivan split from the line. Kohnke made a layup off a steal, and a She'Chem Grant three cut it to single digits. Tysin Meads made a pair of free throws and a layup off a steal to cut the lead to five with 1:39 left. However, Kirkendoll found Gray down the court to push the Gents advantage back to seven.
A pair of Sullivan layups around a miss on the front end of a 1-and-1 cut the Centenary lead to 68-65 with 35 seconds left. Kirkendoll split from the line, then picked up a steal and made a fast break hoop. Sullivan hit a three for Millsaps with four seconds left and Centenary missed a pair from the line; however, the Majors could not even get off a shot as the Gents held on for the three-point win.
Sullivan led Millsaps with 14 points, while Grant came off the bench for 11.
Centenary returns to action Wednesday night, December 20, when it travels to ULM. Game time in Monroe, Louisiana, is set for 7 p.m.