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Colonels’ Comeback Bid Falls Short in 77-73 Loss at Sewanee

Colonels’ Comeback Bid Falls Short in 77-73 Loss at Sewanee

SEWANEE, Tenn. (CentreColonels.com) – Trailing by 14 points at the half, the Centre men's basketball team erased the deficit to take a lead late in the second half, before host Sewanee staved off the Colonel comeback to earn a 77-73 win in the regular season finale on Saturday afternoon at Juhan Gymnasium.

Centre falls to 13-10 overall and 9-5 in Southern Atheltic Association (SAA) play, while the Tigers improve to 14-11 on the season and 7-7 in conference action.

Sewanee used a strong first half to build its advantage to its largest of the day of 14 points at 42-28 at the break.

The Colonels would open the second half with 11 unanswered points capped by a pair of layups by sophomore guard Tucker Sine (Bowling Green, Ky.) to shrink the Tigers' lead to 42-39 with 17:25 showing on the clock.

Centre extended its run to 15-2 as freshman guard Perry Ayers (Bowling Green, Ky.) knocked down a pair of jumpers on the Colonels' next two trips down the floor, shrinking the Sewanee advantage to 44-43 with just over 16 minutes to play.

The Tigers scored seven straight points to push its lead back to 51-43 with 13:25 remaining, before Centre responded with a 10-2 surge keyed by four points by freshman guard Art Walker (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) to knot the game at 53-53 with just under nine minutes on the clock.

Sewanee would gain a 59-57 edge, when freshman forward Jacob Bates (LaGrange, Ky.) scored four consecutive points to put the Colonels on top for the first time all day at 61-59 at the 4:38 mark of the second half.

The Tigers netted six consecutive points to regain a four-point advantage at 65-61.

A back-and-forth affair for the next four possessions, a 3-pointer by Jarod Griffin (Lexington, Ky.) and an old-fashioned 3-point play by freshman forward Jakob Spitzer (Atlanta, Ga.) each cut the Sewanee lead to one point late in the contest.

With the Tigers owning a slim 68-67 edge, Jorden Williams' pull up jumper from behind the arc sparked six straight points for the Tigers to give the hosts a 74-67 advantage at with 21 seconds to play.

Ayers and Griffin would both knock down 3-pointers for the Colonels in the closing seconds, but it was too late for Centre, whose comeback bid fell just short.

Ayers tallied a team-high 17 points off the bench, shooting 7-of-10 from the field. Walker added 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including 2-of-5 from long range to go with six rebounds. Griffin finished with 10 markers, connecting on 4-of-7 field goals and 2-of-4 3-pointers. Sine recorded eight points and six boards for the Colonels.

Williams led four Tigers in double-figures with 23 points, followed by Clay Born with 14 points, Adrian Thomas with 12 and Brody Stone with 11 points and a game-high nine rebounds.

Centre held a slim advantage in overall shooting, sinking 50.9 percent (28-of-55) of field goals compared to Sewanee's 48.0 percent (24-of-50), but the Tigers were 40.0 percent (10-of-25) from downtown and 79.2 percent (19-of-24) from the charity stripe while the Colonels shot 37.5 percent (6-of-16) from behind the arc and 78.6 percent (11-of-14) from the free throw line.

Sewanee outrebounded Centre 32-27 in the contest, but the Colonels held advantages of 18-12 in points off turnovers, 16-12 in points in the paint and 36-19 in bench points.

Centre will open next weekend's SAA Tournament in Memphis as the No. 2 seed and will face No. 7 seed Berry in the first round on Friday, Feb. 24. Times for the tournament have not yet been announced. The Colonels defeated the Vikings twice this season by scores of 85-69 and 84-68.