SHREVEPORT, La. - It may not have been the opening minutes of Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference play the Gents were looking for, but things turned around in a hurry.
Down 26-18 halfway through the first half, The Maroon and White scored 26 unanswered - while holding the 'Roos scoreless for a six-minute span - en route to their second largest SCAC win in school history as Centenary (7-4, 1-0 SCAC) knocked off Austin College (2-10, 0-1 SCAC) 91-63 Saturday night, December 30.
The 28-point margin is the Gents largest conference win in five seasons. Centenary beat Southwestern 79-48 for its first SCAC win ever on December 1, 2012.
Trailing 26-18 with 10:34 left in the first half, the Gents made 8-of-15 shots from the field - while scoring second-chance points on 4-of-6 possessions - to build a 44-26 lead. Senior Travion Kirkendoll hit a triple while freshman James Helzer and junior Kaharri Carter hit a pair from the line to cut the deficit to one. Sophomore Cedric Harris added a three to put Centenary up 28-26, its first lead of the game.
Kirkendoll poured in 27 on 10-for-16 shooting, adding nine rebounds and four steals. Harris contributed 19 points and 11 boards for the double-double.
After taking its first lead of the game with 9:35 left, Centenary made sure the advantage would never be relinquished. Harris scored after a pair of Gents offensive boards and added another layup. Kirkendoll buried a triple and made a layup to push the lead to double-digits. Carter then made a layup off of sophomore Jericho Gray's offensive board to increase the lead to 13.
Two Carter free throws and a Harris three put Centenary up 44-26 with 4:44 left in the first half. Carter finished the game with 13 points, his highest output in the Gold Dome and the second-most in his collegiate career.
Centenary led 51-32 at the break, never had less than a 17-point advantage in the second half, and increased the lead to as high as 30 in the second half in the win. The Gents took advantage of 27 Austin College turnovers to the tune of 30 points.
Austin College raced out to a 12-2 lead in the opening minutes of the contest. Austin Wells hit a three and Kam Hogan made a lay-up. Junior Treylan Matthews made a layup to put the Gents on the board, but JP Feider made a layup and Michael Holland cleaned the offensive glass for a tip-in. A Hogan fastbreak hoop and harm - and the ensuing free throw - gave the visitors a 12-2 lead with 16:36 left in the first half.
Austin Wells (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Holland (16 points, 10 rebounds) both recorded double-doubles. Hogan added 10 points and recorded five steals.
Centenary kicks off 2018 next Friday night, January 5, when it hosts Texas Lutheran. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.