The Centre men’s basketball team connected on 16 3-pointers, including nine in the first half en route to an 82-73 victory on the road at Thomas More on Saturday night at the Connor Center. The Colonels boost their record to 2-2 on the season while the Saints fall to 2-2 with the loss.
Centre’s 16 3-pointers are the most for the Colonels since knocking down 19 shots from behind the arc in a 93-54 triumph over Millsaps last season.
Senior guard Matt Gump (Bellefontaine, Ohio) netted a career-high 20 points in the win, sinking 7-of-10 field goals to go with four rebounds in the victory.
Trailing 21-17 in the first half, Centre used a 20-4 run keyed by six 3-pointers, including two apiece by Gump and freshman guard Art Walker (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) as the Colonels gained a 37-25 advantage with just under four minutes to play in the period. All told, Gump had eight points during the surge.
Centre would take a 40-32 edge into the break before opening the second half with an 8-3 spurt fueled by 3-pointers by freshman guard Bailey Rakes (Mt. Washington, Ky.) and sophomore guard Tucker Sine (Bowling Green, Ky.) to give the Colonels their largest lead of the game of 13 points at 48-35 with 15:45 to play in the game.
Thomas More answered with a 13-5 run to shrink the Centre advantage to 53-48 at the 10:49 mark of the half.
Centre responded with an 11-5 spurt highlighted by six points by Gump to push the Colonels’ lead back to 11 points at 64-53 with just under nine minutes showing on the clock.
Centre held a 12-point edge at 69-57 after a 3-pointer by freshman guard Perry Ayers (Bowling Green, Ky.), before the Saints used a 10-2 run to cut the Colonels’ lead to 71-67 with 4:44 to play in the game.
However, Centre would outscore Thomas More 11-6 the rest of the way, knocking down eight free throws down the stretch to earn the 82-73 road win.
Gump led four Colonels in double-figures as Sine finished with 14 points, while Ayers and sophomore guard Jarod Griffin (Lexington, Ky.) each had 13 markers.
Sine connected on 4-of-8 field goals, including 3-of-5 shots from downtown to go with 3-of-4 from the free throw line and four rebounds.
Griffin was 5-of-12 in the game, 3-of-6 from behind the arc to go with a team-high five assists.
Ayers shot an efficient 5-of-6 from the field and 3-of-3 from long range of the bench.
Walker and Rakes chipped in nine points each in the win.
Simon Clifford paced Thomas More with 19 points, followed by Damion King with 16 markers. Brandon Horne led all players with 10 boards for the Saints.
The Colonels shot 50.0 percent (28-of-56) from the field and from long range (16-of-32) while connecting on 76.9 percent (10-of-13) free throw attempts.
Thomas More edged Centre in the rebounding column 32-31 in the game.
The Colonels recorded 19 assists while surrendering just nine turnovers in the victory.
Centre returns to action on Wednesday night hosting Franklin in another non-conference tilt at 7:30 p.m. ET at Alumni Gymnasium.
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by Liam P. Halferty