SHREVEPORT, La. - Sophomore Luke Hicks connected on what would be the game winning 3-point jumper with 1:21 remaining as the Southwestern University men's basketball team held off the Centenary Gents for a 76-71 win on Sunday afternoon in the Gold Dome.
Southwestern shot 29 of 64 (45%) including 8 of 24 (33%) from deep and 10 of 14 (71%) at the line. On the other end, the Gents shot 26 of 62 (42%) including 9 of 30 (30%) and 10 of 17 (59%) from the line. The Pirates outrebounded Centenary 40-35 while getting 27 points from the bench.
It was a pretty even first half in the first 10 minutes with Centenary holding a four point lead. Down 23-19, Southwestern went on a 13-0 run in the next five minutes to take a 32-23 lead. The Pirates were able to extend that lead to 10 at 41-31 and took a 41-32 lead into the break.
Centenary began to chip away in the second half, cutting the deficit down to one in the first five minutes of the second half. Southwestern pushed the lead back out to six and maintained that lead, even leading by as many as eight.
Up 67-59, Centenary responded with a 7-0 run to cut it to 67-66 with 6:35 to play. From there, points came at a premium as the defenses began to take control.
Southwestern took a 69-66 lead on a tip-in from freshman Trenton Garrett, but a 3-pointer from Centenary tied the game at 69. Southwestern got a free throw from sophomore Kyle Howard to move the lead back to one but a dunk by the Gents gave them their first lead of the second half at 71-70.
After a pair of stops by the SU defense, Hicks came up huge with a 3-pointer from the wing to give the Pirates the lead back at 73-71. Sophomore Brandon Alexander put the game away for good on an offensive rebound and put back, drawing the foul and converting the free throw to ice the game and give Southwestern a five point win.
Alexander scored 17 points off the bench on 5 of 9 shooting including five boards while Hicks scored 15 including five boards, three assists, and two steals. Sophomore Ryan Wheeler scored 11 points while Garrett poured in 10 and six. Sophomore Jake Holmes had nine points to go with 12 rebounds.
Centenary was led by Cedric Harris with 16 points, seven boards, five assists, and four steals while Travion Kirkendoll scored 15 to go with nine boards and a piar of steals.
Southwestern starts the SCAC season at 2-0, currently sitting alone at the top of the standings. They moves to 6-7 overall on the season.
The Pirates return to action on Friday, coming home to take on Schreiner at 5:30 PM in the Robertson Center.