The Centre College men led by 10 points at the half Thursday and went on for a 69-54 win over Berry College in the semifinals of the Papa John's/Country Hearth Inn Tournament at Alumni Gymnasium.
The Colonels (7-3) will face No. 10 Cabrini in tonight’s final.
“A lot of times the first game after Christmas, the guys are not quit in tip-top shape and the execution is not what is was before the break,” Centre coach Greg Mason said. “We had 11 assists and nine turnovers, which is a good state, but I think offensively, w could have been better and have been better. Now we have to get ready for a great Cabrini team. They are legit, and the challenge is going to be really high.”
Senior guard Jeff Mullaney led all scorers with 15 points for Centre, and senior forward Greg Ross added 14 points and a team-high 10 rebounds.
“I thought Jeff had a really good floor game tonight. He played well in transition and he made some nice plays,” Mason said. “And his high school teammate and senior co-captain James Melloan had his best of the year (six points, five rebounds). He really hit the glass offensively and played hard. I’ve been pleased with his effort and enthusiasm and it showed tonight.”
Centre led 32-22 at the half, and led 55-36 with just under eight minutes to play. Berry (0-10) got as close at 61-51 in the final minute.
In the first half, the Colonels led 25-22 before scoring the final seven points of the half on a Bryon Ellis 3-pointer and layups from Collin Lopez and Melloan for a 10-point halftime cushion. Lopez finished with 12 points.
Centre outrebounded Berry 41-32 and shot 25 of 60 from the floor.