Centre College wrapped up the Southern Athletic Association regular season title Sunday with a 57-55 win over Berry on Senior Day.
The Colonels are 21-3 overall and 12-2 in the SAA with one game remaining in the regular season.
Here area details from CC:
DANVILLE, Ky. – There was much to celebrate Sunday for the Centre men’s basketball team, as the Colonels claimed their second consecutive Southern Athletic Association regular season title with a 57-55 win over Berry on Senior Day.
Prior to the game, the Colonels honored seniors Jarod Griffin and Tucker Sine. Then they proceeded to lock up the right to host the SAA Tournament yet again with a nail-biting victory over a pesky Vikings team.
Centre advances to 21-3 overall and 12-2 in the SAA with one game left on the schedule. Berry slips to 17-6 (10-3 SAA) with the loss.
– The Vikings landed the first punch of Sunday’s heavyweight bout, starting on an 8-0 run to force a quick timeout from Centre’s Greg Mason.
– Centre settled in and reeled off a 10-2 run later in the period, leading 22-20 by the under-eight media break.
– There a total of six lead changes in the first half, but the Vikings had a late push to take a 33-30 advantage into the break. Berry shot a blistering 61% in the opening period.
– Perry Ayers had the first five points of the second half, and along with Bailey Rakes helped spark the Colonels to a 47-37 lead for the first double figure advantage of the night.
– Berry wouldn’t go quietly, however, and began crashing the offensive glass to climb back into the game.
– Centre hit a rough cold spell, as well, going scoreless from the 12:23 mark until 2:19 on the clock as their 10-point lead vanished.
– Following clutch free throws from Ayers and Sine, Berry had a chance to tie the game down 56-54 with just 11 seconds left. Big man Elijah Hirsch hit only one of two freebies, however, and Ayers hauled in the defensive rebound.
– After one of two at the stripe from Ayers, Hirsch missed the potential game-tying jumper on the last possession of the game.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
– Centre held Hirsch to just 3 of 13 from the floor in the win. Berry’s senior forward is a frontrunner for conference player of the year, but finished well below his average with just eight points.
– Ayers led Centre with 16 points, while Rakes totaled a season-high 15. Sine followed with 10 points on his Senior Night.
– The Colonels forced 15 Viking turnovers, with Sine and Rakes each recording three steals.
– Berry began the game 3 of 4 from long range, but hit just 1 of 14 from 3-point land the rest of the way. Half of Centre’s 18 field goals came from deep, as Rakes knocked in a team-leading three triples.
– The game featured nine lead changes and four ties.
Centre finishes the regular season next Saturday when it meets Sewanee on the road.