Men’s basketball wins third straight conference championship
Playing in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference championship game for the sixth consecutive year, the Centre men’s basketball team defeated DePauw University 75-63 for a third straight conference title on Sunday, Feb. 27, in Jackson, Miss. Millsaps hosted the event. Centre has won the conference championship four times in six years and improved to 21-5 on the season with the victory.
Centre was the only team from the SCAC selected to participate in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The Colonels took an early 5-0 lead following a layup by junior Greg Ross of Cincinnati and a three point basket by sophomore Bryon Ellis of Russell Springs, Ky.
DePauw finally got on the board with 16:05 remaining in the first half of play when Ryan Sever hit a three point shot to make it a 5-3 game.
Ross then scored four straight points, and freshman Donovan Whiteside of Knoxville, Tenn., added three points to give Centre a nine point advantage with 13:37 on the clock.
Both teams then exchanged baskets before the Tigers made a four-point run to put the score at 14-9 with 11:52 remaining in the first half of action.
Senior Alex Lloyd of Versailles, Ky., put the Colonels up by double digits with a layup following an offensive rebound, making it a 22-12 game with 6:31 to go before halftime.
Centre extended their lead to 17 points after junior Jeff Mullaney of Louisville converted on a three-point attempt and Lloyd hit a layup.
DePauw was unable to cut into the Colonels’ lead significantly, and Centre went into halftime leading 34-18.
During the first half of play, Centre converted on 60.9 percent of their shots from the floor, 62.5 percent of their three-point attempts, and went 1-2 from the free throw line. DePauw was only able to hit 25 percent of their shots from the floor; they hit 66.7 percent of their free throw attempts.
Michael Wilkison opened the second half of play by knocking down a three-point shot to make it a 34-21 game, but he would commit the foul on the other end of the court; Ross made him pay as he hit both free throw shots to put the score at 36-21.
The Tigers answered by going on a four point run to cut the Colonels’ lead to 11 points with 18:39 remaining in the game.
Centre countered the Tigers’ run with a six-point run of their own to build their lead back to 17 points. Lloyd scored four of the six points, while Ross scored the remaining two points to make it a 42-25 game with 17:08 on the clock.
DePauw cut the Colonels’ lead to single digits with 12:52 remaining in the game when Berry Flynn made a layup and a free throw shot to put the score at 47-38.
The Tigers pulled within three points of Centre with 9:12 remaining in the game following a three by Sean Haseley, which put the score at 52-49.
Centre would use a five-point run and a eight-point run during the next 6:46 of play to build their lead up to 14 points, taking a 67-53 lead with 2:26 remaining in the game.
DePauw was unable to respond with a big run of their own, as Centre went on to win 75-63.
Centre converted on 55.8 percent of their shots from the floor during the contest, 58.3 percent of their three-point attempts and made 20-24 free throw shots. DePauw made 45.3 percent of their shots from the floor and went 7-10 from the free throw line. The Colonels out rebounded the Tigers 29-21.
Ross finished the game leading all scorer with 23 points. Lloyd posted a double double with 16 points and 13 rebounds, while also recording a blocked shot. Whiteside had the Colonels’ only steal of the game.
Ross was named the tournament MVP, breaking the SCAC tournament scoring average by scoring 23.7 points per game. Fellow teammate Ellis joined Ross on the All-Tournament Team. Haseley and Sever also made the All-Tournament Team, along with Oglethorpe’s Joe Kennedy.