"T.C played phenomenal tonight. He was kind of a crazed man the last five or six minutes," Centre coach Greg Mason said. "At halftime, we challenged the low post guys. I thought Transy's low post dominated us on the boards.
"And we responded very, very well. They knew they didn't play well in the first half, but they kept their poise and in the second half played some very spirited basketball."
Transylvania (5-4) led 34-24 at the half, and still led 52-47 late in the game. But it was all Centre from there, as the Colonels ended the game on a 19-4 run to earn their sixth straight win.
Thomas Britt nailed a 3-pointer and Thomason completed the three-point play that gave Centre the lead for good at 53-52 with 5:11 remaining. Britt finished with 16 points and four steals.
Britt made two more free throws that pushed Centre's lead to 57-52. Transylvania finally scored again when Joey Verax hit two free throws that made it a 57-54 game with 1:19 to play to end a scoring drought of 5:09.
"I never in a million years would have thought that. They are as good as we're going to play this year offensively," Mason said.
For the game, the Pioneers shot 37.5 percent (21-for-56), while Centre shot 54 percent in the second half and finished the game 21 of 41.
Centre out-muscles Transy
Transylvania coach Brian Lane said his team got out-muscled by the Colonels.
"Once it got really aggressive and physical in the second half, we didn't respond to it at all," said Lane. "The aggressive play caused some turnovers."
Two Tim Tierney free throws cut Centre's lead to 60-56, but the Colonels nailed six of eight free throws over the final 36 seconds to seal the win.
"We really defended well, that's our strength. And Transy's strength is phenomenal shooters," Mason said. "And the first half they won that battle, the second half we won that battle."
The Pioneers outrebounded Centre 11-1 on the offensive boards the first 20 minutes, which helped them take a 34-24 halftime lead.
But two straight buckets inside by Ross Herman cut Transy's lead to 43-36 with 13:17 left before Stephen Gabbard's 3-pointer pushed the lead back to 10 with 11:46 left.
That's when Centre began its comeback.
Matt Nestheide didn't hit his first bucket until he nailed a 3-pointer to make it 46-39, then nailed another to make it 46-42.
"I made it a point at that timeout right before that to be more aggressive," Nestheide said.
"And I knew if I got a gap I was going to shoot it. I hit those two and I think it got every body else going too."
Those were his only baskets of the game. He made just two of eight shots and missed all three free throws, but he did hand out a game-high seven assists.
Mason said Nestheide showed other ways he can hurt teams besides scoring.
"They sold out to stop him and T.C. stepped up, Thomas stepped up, Danny Noll stepped up," Mason said. "That should give us confidence that Matt does not have to be on every single night for us to win."