26 Conference Titles | 16 NCAA Tournament Appearances | 11 All-Americans | Two Rhodes Scholars | Two Final Fours
Five reach double figures as Centre opens season with win over Maryville
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DANVILLE, Ky. – Centre men's basketball began the 2017-18 regular season Wednesday night with strong 83-70 victory against visiting Maryville (Tenn.) inside Alumni Gym.
The Colonels (1-0) had five individuals score in double figures in the win against the Fighting Scots (0-1), who entered the season receiving national ranking recognition from a variety of outlets.
Junior Tucker Sine (Bowling Green, Ky.) and sophomore Perry Ayers (Bowling Green, Ky.) led the Colonels individually with 16 points apiece, as Centre avenged losses against Maryville each of the last two seasons.
Wednesday's affair was back and forth out of the gate, featuring a first half that held six ties and nine lead changes.
Junior Jarod Griffin (Lexington, Ky.) set the tone in Centre's 52-point opening period, draining two early triples to open up a slight lead.
Maryville battled back, rattling off an 11-0 run to regain the lead, but a strong closing stretch saw the Colonels turn a 32-30 lead at the under-8 media timeout into a 52-43 halftime edge.
Centre shot a blistering 7 for 10 from long range in the first 20 minutes, as Griffin, sophomore Bailey Rakes (Mt. Washington, Ky.) and sophomore Art Walker (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) each hit a pair of threes.
The Fighting Scots came out of the half on a tear, pulling within one possession before the midway point of the second period.
Maryville got as close as 63-62 with 7:34 minutes to go, but the Colonels were resilient in holding their lead.
Centre used a 10-2 run over the next three minutes to pull away and all but seal the impressive opening-day victory.
Ayers added a team-high six boards to go with his 16 points, and Sine and Walker each followed with five as the teams finished an even 36-36 on the glass.
Rakes had four of Centre's 13 assists, and sophomore Jacob Bates (LaGrange, Ky.) totaled nine points, four rebounds and a pair of blocks.
Walker finished with 12 points, and Griffin and sophomore Jakob Spitzer (Atlanta) also joined Ayers and Sine in double figures with 10 each.
Centre turned up its defensive effort in the second half, limiting Maryville to just 27 points on 12 of 33 (36.4%) shooting overall and 1 of 10 from beyond the arc. The Fighting Scots went just 5 for 23 (21.7%) from long range compared to the Colonels' 9 of 18 (50%).
"We're starting three sophomores and two juniors, so we have lot of youth out there with guys in new roles," Head Coach Greg Mason said, following the victory.
Mason continued: "I could not have been more pleased with the result. In the second half we came out with not great energy, but to our credit we came back and we battled and hit tough shots."
Centre continues its stout opening sequence with a meeting against in-state rival Transylvania in Lexington next Monday, Nov. 20, at 7:30 p.m. ET.