The Centre men’s basketball team jumped out to a 45-17 first half lead en route to a 73-53 Southern Athletic Association (SAA) triumph over Oglethorpe on Friday night at Alumni Gymnasium.
The Colonels boosted their records to 12-7 overall and 8-2 in SAA action with the win, while the Stormy Petrels drop to 6-15 on the season and 3-7 in league play.
Centre jumped out to an early 8-0 lead fueled by back-to-back 3-pointers by freshman guard Bailey Rakes (Mt. Washington, Ky.) and sophomore guard Jarod Griffin (Lexington, Ky.).
Oglethorpe would shrink the Colonels’ advantage to 11-5, before Centre used a 14-4 run to go ahead 25-9 after a 3-pointer by freshman guard Art Walker (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) with just over 12 minutes to play in the first half.
The Colonels held a 32-15 lead before closing the opening half with a 13-2 surge keyed by 3-pointers from senior guard Sam Gruber (LaGrange, Ky.) and sophomore guard Tucker Sine (Bowling Green, Ky.) to give Centre a 45-17 advantage at the break.
The Colonels owned a 47-28 advantage just over four minutes into the second half before a 16-0 spurt highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers by Walker pushed the Centre lead to its largest of the night of 35 points at 63-28 with 11:13 showing on the clock.
The Stormy Petrels would make a run down the stretch to minimize the final deficit to 20 points.
Freshman guard Perry Ayers (Bowling Green, Ky.) stuffed the stat sheet to lead the Colonels, tallying 15 points, six rebounds and seven assists on the night. Ayers shot 3-of-5 from the floor and a perfect 8-of-8 from the charity stripe for Centre.
Walker added 11 points off the bench, sinking 3-of-6 shots from behind the arc and 2-of-2 from the free throw line.
Griffin recorded 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-6 from long range.
All told, 12 Colonels appeared in the scoring column in the win.
Chris Lawrence paced the Stormy Petrels with 12 points, connecting on 3-of-5 field goals and 6-of-10 free throws in the contest.
Drew Patrick added 11 markers to go with five rebounds.
Centre shot 43.4 percent (23-of-53) from the field, 37.1 percent (13-of-35) from downtown and 82.4 percent (14-of-17) from the line while Oglethorpe was 40.4 percent (19-of-47) on field goals), 22.7 percent (5-of-22) from behind the arc and 58.8 percent (10-of-17) on free throws.
The Colonels outrebounded the Stormy Petrels 36-29 in the contest and held advantages of 15-7 in assists, 17-10 in points off turnovers, 9-6 in second chance points and a lopsided 44-7 in bench points.
Centre never trailed in the ball game as the Colonels win their fourth consecutive game for the second time this season.
Centre is back in action this Sunday, Feb. 3 hosting Berry in another SAA matchup at 3 p.m. ET at Alumni gymnasium. The Colonels will honor seniors Matt Gump, Sam Gruber and Brett Jones prior to the contest as part of senior day festivities.
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by Liam P. Halferty