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Bates’ buzzer-beater carries Colonels past Cardinals

Bates’ buzzer-beater carries Colonels past Cardinals

WESTERVILLE, Ohio – Sophomore Jacob Bates sank a fadeaway jumper as time expired to lift Centre past Otterbein in the Smokey Ballenger Classic consolation game Saturday, giving the Colonels an 81-79 victory.

With the game tied at 79-79 and just 16 seconds on the clock, the LaGrange, Ky., native dribbled near the left wing and hit a turnaround fader as the buzzer sounded. Bates finished with a career-high 23 points, going 9 of 13 overall while adding four rebounds, two blocks and a steal.

Centre moved to 5-6 overall with the win while pushing the host Cardinals to 0-11.

The two sides opened with a back-and-forth affair in the first half, but a 21-8 Centre run allowed the Colonels to grab a double figure lead. They led 44-33 at the half.

Otterbein staved off Centre's effort to put the game away in the second period, and climbed back into the game to tie things at 70-70 with six minutes left.

Following a 3-pointer from junior Jarod Griffin (Lexington, Ky.), Otterbein went on what may have been a decisive 9-3 run to lead, 79-76, with under a minute to play.

Sophomore Perry Ayers (Bowling Green, Ky.) came up with a crucial traditional 3-point play with just 40 seconds left to level the score, and Otterbein's Corey Howard missed a 3-pointer on the other end to give Centre the final possession of the game.

Coming out of a timeout, the Colonels held for the final shot, and wound up getting the late heroics from Bates.

The forward's 23 points marked his sixth double-digit scoring performance in the last seven games, and topped his 21-point output against Rhodes last season (Jan. 13). Bates netted 15 of his 23 in the second half.

Sophomore Art Walker (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) continued his strong play with 12 points – 10 of which came in the opening period – going 4 of 7 overall.

Ayers and sophomore Bailey Rakes (Mt. Washington, Ky.) paced Centre with five rebounds each, and Griffin finished with three steals and three assists.

Centre shot at least 53 percent for the third consecutive game after reaching the mark zero times in its first eight games, hitting 33 of 60 overall.

The Colonels also finished with a 17-4 edge in points off turnovers, giving the ball away just five times.

They return to Southern Athletic Association action next week, hosting Birmingham Southern Jan. 5 at 8 p.m. ET.