Centre men unwrap rout before break

December 12, 2004|HAL MORRIS

The Centre College men got an early gift before the holiday break.

A blowout win.

The Colonels went on a 22-7 run early in the second half Saturday, shot 63 percent from the floor, and coasted the rest of the way for a 95-73 win over Thomas More College.

Centre (7-2) has 15 days off before returning to practice Dec. 26. It was also a nice bounce-back win for the Colonels after a 69-68 overtime loss to Transylvania on Wednesday.

"I thought it was good win, a feel-good win for us. We played well, we defended well, we shot the ball well, which was huge for us," Centre coach Greg Mason said. "With Transy, obviously, there's a letdown when you lose, not only to your rival, but the way we did. So it was good to come back out here to day and hit some shots. It was a good confidence boost heading into the break."


Matt Jacobson scored 16 of his career-high 31 points during the decisive run. The sophomore forward was 5-of-6 from 3-point range and went 12-for-15 overall.

"I guess some days your jump shot feels better, and today I was lucky enough it was dropping," Jacobson said. "It's a great win. I think sometimes after we lose a rivalry game it's kind of a heartbreaker for us. This is a good game to respond with. You know, you lose a game and have to forget about it and just play the next game."

Lead was just five at half

Centre led 44-39 at the half, but Thomas More (3-3) cut that to 46-45 on R.K. Thurman's bucket inside with 17:39 left to play.

From there, it was all Centre, which finished 34-of-54 from the field, including 7-of-16 from 3-point range. Several of the baskets Saturday came with the Colonels running crisp cuts off backscreens for easy lay-ups.

"In the second half, we ran our stuff and executed better," Mason said. "In the first half we made straight cuts, but in the second half we started attacking the basket a little more and got some layups.

"We were executing our offense much better than we had the last four or five games."

Reggie Magnusson started the big run with a lay-in and free throw and Jacobson capped things off with his lay-in and free throw to make it 68-53 with 11:20 remaining. Magnusson finished with 12 points. Coy Zerhusen, who had 17 points, and Josh Bell also had buckets during the spurt.

"Matt started hitting shots, and he's done that before this year, and we started getting some stops. The first five minutes of the second half I think they were executing their offense," Mason said. "We went zone and I thought it gave us a good boost. And our guys did a good job rebounding. In the second half we did a much better job rebounding, and we were able to get out in transition and get some easy buckets."

Colonels win battle of the boards

Centre won the battle of the boards 32-31 after trailing 18-14 after the first half.

The closest the Saints would get the rest of the way was 12 points. John Patterson capped things off with a dunk on the break and an old-fashioned three-point play with 26 seconds left to finish with 11 points.

Centre never trailed in the game and spurted to a 9-2 lead early in the first half with two buckets from Zerhusen a basket and free throw from Jacobson and a lay-up from Magnusson. The Saints cut the lead to 29-28 on Chad Wachs' bucket, but Centre answered each time and held a five-point edge at the intermission.

Mason said his team in good shape heading into its break.

"If you had told me a month ago we'd be 7-2 and 2-0 in the conference, I'd been very pleased with that," he said. "I'm pleased where we're at right now. Obviously we've still got a lot of basketball in front of us. But guys are picking things up and making good decisions on the floor. And we're starting to become a good basketball team."

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