Booker's tip-in saves Centre in SCAC opener

January 04, 2004

SEWANEE, Tenn. - James Booker's putback basket with 1.7 seconds left lifted the Centre College men to a come-from-behind 57-56 win over Sewanee in their Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference opener Friday night.

Booker's winning basket was his only field goal of the game and came eight seconds after Sewanee had taken a one-point lead.

Centre (9-2, 1-0 SCAC) trailed for most of the game, and Sewanee (2-8, 0-1) held a 44-35 lead with 12:18 remaining before the Colonels used a 22-12 run in the last eight minutes.

"We were very fortunate to escape with a win," Centre coach Greg Mason said. "Sewanee led almost the entire game, but we just never lost our composure, and that's what ultimately saved us."


The Colonels got a big lift from their bench, as their reserves outscored Sewanee's bench 27-9.

John Ortega scored 11 points and Matt Jacobson scored nine off the Centre bench, and Mason said both players' contributions were invaluable.

"Both of those guys came in and gave us a spark when we desperately needed a spark," Mason said.

Rob King also had 11 points for Centre, which shot 48.8 percent from the field, while Sewanee shot 46.7 percent.

The Tigers held a huge advantage on the boards, outrebounding Centre 38-27. Booker led Centre with five boards.

"Rebounding is a big concern for us right now," Mason said. "When your two-guard leads you in rebounding, that's generally not a good sign. We must get our post guys rebounding."

Sewanee led by as many as 10 points in the first half and was up 36-30 at halftime.


Sewanee 65, Centre 59 - Centre's second-half rally came up short as Sewanee scored its first win of the season and handed the Colonels their third straight loss in the SCACopener for both teams.

Sewanee (1-5, 1-0) scored the game's first 12 points and led 36-25 at halftime, but Centre (3-9, 0-1) battled back, pulling within one at 60-59 with 43 seconds left on a 3-pointer by Chelsea Wessel.

But Sewanee scored the final five points of the game to break a five-game losing streak to Centre, beating the Colonels for the first time since Dec. 6, 2000.

"We played a really strong second half," Centre coach Jennifer Ruff said.

Wessel led Centre with 17 points and eight rebounds. Liz Braun and Jacqueline Coleman had 11 and 10 points, respectively, and Casey Geiman had nine rebounds, four assists and three steals.

The Colonels shot 38.6 percent from the field; Sewanee shot 45.1 percent. Centre also hit just 10 of 18 free throws and missed some key attempts late in the game.

"We missed a couple free throws at opportune times that would have given us the lead in the game," Ruff said. "Some costly free throws at the end and a couple of turnovers ended up costing us the game."

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