26 Conference Titles | 16 NCAA Tournament Appearances | 11 All-Americans | Two Rhodes Scholars | Two Final Fours
Five Colonels land on All-SAA squads; Mason named Coach of the Year
ATLANTA - Hours before opening tip of the conference tournament, the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) released its postseason awards for the 2017-18 men's basketball season. Five players from Centre were named to various All-SAA squads and head coach Greg Mason took home the league's Coach of the Year award.
Sophomore Perry Ayers (Bowling Green, Ky.) was an All-SAA First Team selection. Ayers finished third on the team in scoring at 12.3 points per game and led the team in assists and steals for the year. Ayers led Centre comeback victories at Millsaps and at home against Sewanee and finished at the league's top free throw shooter at 89.2 percent from the charity stripe,
Sophomores Jacob Bates (LaGrange, Ky.) and Art Walker (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) were All-SAA second team honorees. Bates was the Colonels' top rebounder on the year, recording five double-doubles and ten games with nine or more rebounds, and finished second in the conference in shooting at 63 percent from the floor. Walker paced the Colonels in scoring in 2017-18 at just under 14 points per game and finished a tenth of a point behind Ayers in the league's free throw percentage rankings at 89.1 percent. Walker was the lone SAA Player of the Week for Centre this year after a 23 ppg week at Hendrix and Rhodes.
Sophomore Bailey Rakes (Mt. Washington, Ky.) and junior Tucker Sine (Bowling Green, Ky.) were Honorable Mention All-SAA Selections. Rakes excelled on the defensive end, often drawing the opposing team's best playmaker on the perimeter while also exploding for 17 points on 8-10 shooting in Centre's win at Birmingham Southern on Feb. 2. Sine bounced back from an early shooting slump to hit just under 40 percent from three-point range during conference play. Sine has averaged 16 points per game over the last six games, a stretch that has seen him connect on 50 percent of his threes.
It is the first SAA Coach of the Year award for Greg Mason since the 2013-14 season, the last time Centre won the outright regular season conference title. After beginning the season at 2-5, Mason's Colonels have won 14 of the last 16 games to finish at 17-7, including winning nine straight entering the conference tournament. Since Centre's last loss, the Colonels have outscored their opponents by an average of 22 points.
Mason's squad tips off against Berry in the quarterfinal of the SAA Tournament today at 1 p.m. ET.