26 Conference Titles | 16 NCAA Tournament Appearances | 11 All-Americans | Two Rhodes Scholars | Two Final Fours
Centre edged in final minute at Spalding, 68-66
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Centre men's basketball dropped a heartbreaking 68-66 decision at Spalding Wednesday evening, falling in the final minute inside Derek Smith Gymnasium.
With the game tied at 64-64 and just 34 second remaining, the host Golden Eagles (4-5) got a go-ahead basket from Cornelius Watts. The Colonels (2-5) couldn't hold serve on the other end, and were forced to put the Eagles on the free throw line where they iced the game.
The game featured three ties and 18 total lead changes – including 10 in the second half – and neither team led by more than six points.
Both sides were sluggish offensively in the first period, although the evenly-matched contest was evident from the opening tip.
The Colonels had seven contributors in the first half but managed to shoot just 8 of 28 (28.6) overall, while the Golden Eagles went 11 of 34 (32.4%) from the field.
Centre grabbed its widest margin near the four-minute mark when a pair of Jarod Griffin (Lexington, Ky.) free throws made it 23-19. But Spalding closed the half on a 9-2 run over the closing minutes to carry a 28-25 advantage into the break.
Centre and Spalding came out of the locker rooms with renewed efficiency on offense, and continued to go toe to toe while trading baskets.
Sophomore Jacob Bates (LaGrange, Ky.) helped the Colonels grab a lead midway through the period, scoring seven Centre points in a row and assisting on another bucket as the visitors took a 55-52 edge.
As crunch time approached, Centre and Spalding converted clutch shot after clutch shot.
Following a 3-pointer from junior Tucker Sine (Bowling Green, Ky.) that put Centre up 62-60, Watts scored on the other end to even the game at 62-62.
Watts sank another basket on Spalding's next possession, but was matched by sophomore Perry Ayers (Bowling Green, Ky.), whose lay-up again leveled the score at 64-64.
That's when Watts hit the defining shot, and Spalding held Centre scoreless on the ensuing play to all but seal the victory. A basket by Ayers as time expired proved to be inconsequential in the outcome.
Sine led the Colonels with 12 points and seven rebounds, and freshman Dawson Crump (Bowling Green, Ky.) tallied a career-best 11 points. Bates finished with 10 points and six boards.
Centre out-rebounded Spalding 39 to 28, and totaled 17 points off of 15 offensive rebounds.
Although the Colonels went 15 of 30 from the field in the second half, Spalding shot a red-hot 70 percent (16-23) in the same 20 minutes, including a 5 of 9 effort from deep.
The Colonels return to Alumni Gym after six consecutive games away from home this Saturday, hosting Boyce College at 3 p.m. ET.