Centre men fall in SCAC opener

February 29, 2004

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Centre College's men had a short stay at the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament, losing 71-68 to Oglethorpe in the first round Friday.

A 19-0 run by the Stormy Petrels (11-15) in the first half erased a 21-7 Centre lead and put the Colonels (18-8) in a 26-21 hole. Centre was held without a basket for 12 straight possessions, and coach Greg Mason said that run was the difference in the game.

"That generally seals your fate," Mason said. "From that point on, Oglethorpe was in control of the game. We jumped out to a big lead, we were hitting shots against their 2-3 zone. But Oglethorpe is a team that's capable of making big-time runs, and that's exactly what they did."

Oglethorpe held a four-point lead with 52 seconds left when Centre senior Jason Atwell hit a 3-pointer to get the Colonels within one. Centre called a timeout, set up its press and turned the Stormy Petrels over. But Rob King's shot was off-target, and the Colonels were out of chances.


Centre led by one at the half, 35-34, and hit a 3-pointer to open a four-point lead at the beginning of the second half. But Oglethorpe got hot, hitting 59 percent of its second-half shots.

"We couldn't get stops, we couldn't guard their shooters and we couldn't guard them off the dribble," Mason said. "They shot 52 percent for the game, and that's entirely too high."

Centre held Russ Churchwell, one of 10 finalists for the Division III player of the year award, to 10 points and five rebounds. However, guards Eric Dickinson and Josh Burr combined for 44 points in the game.

"We thought Churchwell would get his, but if we could guard their shooters, we'd be in good shape," Mason said. "We just didn't do it."

Atwell led Centre with 16 points, James Booker had 15 and Reggie Magnusson 14. Centre hit just 12 of 37 3-point attempts, but Mason said most of those came late in the game when the Colonels were trying to make up the deficit.

"We finished with one of the best records in Centre history," Mason said. "You always want more in life, but we'll look at this season as a major success. We have a lot to be proud of, we just thought we had more basketball in us.

OGLETHORPE (11-15) - Russ Churchwell 4-11 2-4 10, John Williams 3-8 0-0 6, Eric Dickinson 9-11 5-7 14, Joel Alzola 1-2 0-0 2, Josh Burr 7-10 2-2 20, Andrew Tulowitzky 1-6 4-4 7, Brett Wise 0-0 0-0 0, Terry Bailey 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 25-48 15-19 71.

CENTRE (18-8) - Rob King 3-5 0-0 6, Reggie Magnusson 6-9 2-3 14, James Booker 5-13 0-0 15, Jason Atwell 5-14 2-2 16, Kyle Roby 1-5 0-0 3, John Ortega 3-7 0-1 8, Matt Jacobson 1-2 0-0 2, Chris Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Coy Zerhusen 2-5 0-0 4. Totals 26-60 4-6 68.

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