The Centre men’s basketball team dropped a 67-55 decision to host Hendrix in a Southern Athletic Association (SAA) on Sunday afternoon at Grove Gymnasium. The Colonels move to 13-9 on the season and 9-4 in SAA play with the loss, while the Warriors boost their records to 11-12 overall and 7-6 in league action.

Hendrix jumped out to an 11-2 lead, before the Colonels battled back to shrink the deficit to 16-13 with six points by freshman guard Perry Ayers (Bowling Green, Ky.). The Warriors would respond with a 17-6 surge to close the half before taking a 35-24 advantage into the break.

Hendrix built its lead to as many as 20 points at 48-28 at the 16:12 mark of the second half, when Centre used a 15-5 spurt to minimize the margin to 53-43 highlighted by four points from sophomore guard Tucker Sine (Bowling Green, Ky.).

The Warriors scored five straight points to go ahead 58-43, before the Colonels recorded eight consecutive points, including four from Ayers to cut the Hendrix lead to 58-51 with just under four minutes to play.

The Warriors would close the game on a 9-4 run to cap the 12-point SAA victory.

Ayers led all players with 22 points in the game, connecting on 8-of-13 field goals and 6-of-10 free throws to go with six rebounds. Sine added eight points, while freshman forward Jakob Spitzer (Atlanta, Ga.) pulled down six boards and tallied a game-high four blocked shots for the Colonels.

Preston Smith scored a team-high 17 points for the Warriors, followed by Aaron Steele with 15 points and Gearen Littlefield with 10 markers. Jacob Link grabbed a game-high nine rebounds for Hendrix.

The Colonels outshot the Warriors 37.9 percent (22-of-58) to 33.8 percent (22-of-65), but Centre made just three shots from behind the arc while Hendrix drained nine 3-pointers in the win. The Colonels made just 57.1 percent (8-of-14) of free throws compared to the Warriors’ 77.8 percent (14-of-18).

Hendrix outrebounded Centre 49-33 in the game, including a 14-3 offensive rebounding edge which led to a 12-2 advantage in second chance points.

The Colonels outscored the Warriors 15-10 in points off turnovers and 30-22 in points in the paint.

Centre caps the regular season next Saturday, Feb. 18 with a road contest at Sewanee at 3 p.m. CT. The Colonels topped the Tigers 71-63 to open conference play on Dec. 3.

For the latest and most up-to-date information on Centre College Athletics, please visit CentreColonels.com.

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Liam P. Halferty

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