26 Conference Titles | 16 NCAA Tournament Appearances | 11 All-Americans | Two Rhodes Scholars | Two Final Fours
@Centre_Bball Catches Fire in Second Half to Top Rival Transylvania 79-71
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DANVILLE, Ky. (CentreColonels.com) – The Centre men's basketball team erased a 15-point halftime deficit, shooting a sizzling 75.0 percent (9-of-12) from behind the arc and 92.9 percent (13-of-14) from the charity stripe in the second half to earn a 79-71 victory over local rival Transylvania on Monday night in front of a raucous crowd at Alumni Gymnasium.
The Colonels, who have now won five straight meetings with the Pioneers, evened their record at 1-1 on the season, while Transylvania dropped to 1-1with the loss.
Centre struggled to find its rhythm in the first half of action, connecting on just 24.1 percent (7-of-29) of field goals, including 0-of-6 from downtown during the first 20 minutes as Transylvania grabbed a 34-19 lead heading into the break.
The Pioneers gained their largest lead of the night of 16 points at 35-19 when Cooper Theobold made a free throw just under a minute into the second stanza.
The Colonels would respond with a 17-0 run, keyed by 10 points by sophomore guard Tucker Sine (Bowling Green, Ky.) to give Centre its first lead of the night at 36-35 with just under 14 minutes showing on the clock.
The Colonels were 7-of-8 from the floor during the surge, including 3-of-4 from long range. Freshman guard Perry Ayers (Bowling Green, Ky.) ignited the run with a layup while fellow freshman guard Bailey Rakes (Mt. Washington, Ky.) capped the spurt with a 3-pointer.
The Pioneers retook the lead at 44-42 with 11:27 remaining, before sophomore guard Jarod Griffin (Lexington, Ky.) scored eight straight points on the offensive end for the Colonels, including two shots from behind the arc to put Centre ahead 50-46 with 9:24 to play in the contest.
The Colonels held a 52-50 lead after a pair of free throws by Transylvania's Spencer McKinney, when Griffin scored eight of Centre's next 10 points as the Colonels built their lead to 62-57 with 4:27 remaining in the game.
Theobald drained four consecutive free throws for the Pioneers to cut the Centre advantage to just one point at 62-61, before senior guard Matt Gump (Bellefontaine, Ohio) connected on a crucial 3-pointer on the other end for Centre, fueling an 8-0 run to give the Colonels their biggest lead of the night at 69-61. Sine knocked down a 3-pointer and a pair of shots from the charity stripe to put Centre ahead by nine.
The Pioneers would answer with a 7-0 run of their own, capitalizing on two Centre turnovers to minimize the deficit to 70-68 with 1:36 to play.
The Colonels would knock down 9-of-10 attempts from the free throw line, including five makes by Sine, while the Pioneers were just 1-for-5 from the field down the stretch as Centre sealed the non-conference win.
Sine finished with a career-high 26 points with 22 of those coming in the second half. He shot 6-of-10 from the floor, 3-of-4 from downtown and 11-of-13 from the charity stripe to go with five rebounds.
Griffin also netted a career-high in the win with 21 markers, connecting on 7-of-13 field goals, 4-of-7 3-pointers and 3-of-3 free throws to go with four boards and a pair of assists for the Colonels.
Ayers scored in double-figures for the second straight game with 13 points while grabbing six rebounds. Gump chipped in nine boards in the victory while Rakes chipped in seven markers off the bench on 3-of-5 shooting.
Alex Jones paced four Pioneers in double-figures with 19 points, followed by McKinney with 18, Gabe Schmitt with 16 and Theobald with 12.
Centre finished with 60 points in the second half, shooting 45.6 percent (26-of-57) in the contest, including 50.0 percent (9-of-18) from long range to go with 81.8 percent (18-of-22) from the charity stripe.
Transylvania shot 37.3 percent (25-of-67) from the floor, 19.0 percent (4-of-21) from behind the arc and 73.9 percent (17-of-23) from the line.
The Colonels held a 40-38 rebounding edge and advantages of 12-2 in bench points and 11-2 in fast break points.
Centre is back in action on Wednesday night hosting another intrastate foe in Spalding at 7 p.m. at Alumni Gymnasium.
photo by Clay Jackson