Hot-shooting Trinity defeats Centre 76-60

January 12, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Trinity University coach Pat Cunningham doesn't expect many Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference teams to be able to win when they play at Centre College.

"They are a good team and they are going to win a lot of games. I don't think many teams will come here and win, and they are going to win a lot on the road, too," said Cunningham.

Trinity did win 76-60 here Sunday, though, because of a stingy defense and superb shooting, especially in the first half.

"We were just beaten by a better team," Centre coach Greg Mason said. "Trinity played much better than we did.

"We are not a very good defensive team right now, and I'm struggling to understand why because we have most of our players back off what was a good defensive team last year. But we've got to start playing much better defense if we want to win many more games."


Trinity shot 66.7 percent from the field (14-for-21) in the first half, including 5-for-6 from 3-point range. The winners cooled down to 48 percent (12-for-25) in the second half, but still shot 56.5 percent (26-for-46) for the game. The visitors also were 15-for-17 at the foul line, an 88 percent mark.

That was a lot better than Trinity shot Friday when it lost at Sewanee. That was the same team that Centre beat on the road in its first SCAC game earlier this season.

"We were a little embarrassed after Friday," Cunningham said. "We haven't been playing well since Christmas. We've had a little sickness, but we just have not played well overall. Today we played hard, played good defense and for a change the ball went in."

Trinity (10-3, 2-1 SCAC) took the lead early and never let the Colonels get closer than three points in the final 21 minutes. The winners had a 32-23 lead with 2:26 left in the first half, before Centre (10-3, 2-1) went on an 8-2 run that cut the deficit to 34-31. However, Trinity junior forward Andy Bates hit two 3-pointers in the final 20 seconds to push the lead back to 40-31 at halftime.

"We got a nice lead and then let them back in the game," Cunningham said. "Those were two big 3-pointers. They gave us the momentum back."

The closest Centre got the second half came after a 9-2 run reduced Trinity's lead to 56-51 with 8:27 to play. However, the Colonels did not get another field goal and were not able to stop Trinity from slowly putting the game out of reach.

"We just have a long way to go to get to the point we were at the end of last season," Mason said.

Trinity, despite missing one starter because of an injury, used 10 players and had only one player play more than 24 minutes. Still, the winners had four players in double figures.

Trinity also kept Centre from getting many uncontested shots. The winners blocked 10 shots and limited Centre to 34.6 percent shooting (18-for-52). Rob King and Jason Atwell, two of Centre's top scorers, were a combined 3-for-13 from the field.

Coy Zerhusen led Centre with a double-double - 10 points and 11 rebounds. James Booker and Reggie Mangusson were the top scorers with 11 points each.

"Coy really gave a great effort against a bigger team," Mason said. "Booker also had a good game. After that, we just did not have anyone play very well and that's disturbing.

"The biggest problem is just our defense. We can't let any team shoot that well and expect to win."

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