26 Conference Titles | 16 NCAA Tournament Appearances | 11 All-Americans | Two Rhodes Scholars | Two Final Fours
Transy ends five-year drought, defeats Centre 89-83
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Pts off Turnovers
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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Transylvania defeated Centre for the first time since 2011-12 Monday night, handing the Colonels an 89-83 defeat inside a raucous Clive M. Beck Center on the Pioneers' campus.
After winning each of the last five decisions in the in-state rivalry, the Colonels (1-1) couldn't overcome a hot-shooting Pioneers team that sank timely bucket after timely bucket. Overall, Transy (2-0) shot nearly 52 percent overall and 9 of 18 from deep.
After a brief Centre lead in the opening stages of the game, the host Pioneers found their groove and reeled off a lengthy run to take control of the game.
The Colonels went more than six minutes of game clock without a field goal during that Transy run – finally broken by a Jakob Spitzer (Atlanta) bucket at the 11:11 mark – and found themselves down by double figures at the midway point.
A switch to a zone defense helped Centre stem the Pioneers' scoring tide, and eventually sparked a 16-6 run in the visitors' favor.
Sophomore Perry Ayers (Bowling Green, Ky.) was the catalyst on the other end of the court during the run, scoring eight of those 16 points while knocking down consecutive threes to tie the game, 30-30, with four minutes left in the half.
Although the Colonels climbed back into the contest, the Pioneers carried a 39-34 advantage into the locker rooms at the half.
Transy shot a blistering 56.7% (17-30) in the first half, hitting 5 of 11 (45.5%) from long range. Centre's offense was buoyed by a strong 8-for-9 effort from the free throw line.
That efficiency at the charity stripe would prove beneficial in the second half, as the Colonels reached the bonus barely five minutes into the period.
Despite repeatedly pulling within one possession, the Colonels could never completely erase the deficit, however.
When Ayers sank a layup near the eight-minute mark, Centre was as close as it had been since early in the game, 62-61.
The Pioneers held off the Colonels, but the visitors got within 69-67 three minutes later on another Ayers basket.
Transy answered the call yet again, reeling off one final game-clinching 9-1 run down the stretch to all but seal it.
The Colonels made things interesting late, drawing within 85-81 after a Bailey Rakes (Mt. Washington, Ky.) free throw with 13 seconds left, but couldn't pull off the comeback.
Ayers paced the Colonels with 25 points on an 8-for-14 overall shooting effort, adding five rebounds and a pair of steals.
Rakes followed with a career-best 18 points, hitting 6 of 8 from the free throw line and 6 of 9 from the field. The sophomore guard also chipped in five boards, two assists, two steals and two blocks.
Sophomore Art Walker (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) totaled 11 points behind a perfect 6-for-6 free throw performance.
Centre shot just 4 for 15 (26.7%) from long range, but otherwise stacked up well with Transy in the box score. The Pioneers and Colonels finished with similar rebounds (30-30), turnovers (14-14), points in the paint (38-36, Transy), and bench scoring (23-21, Transy).
The Colonels hit the road later this week, traveling to St. Louis, Mo., to take part in the Webster University Tournament. Centre meets Carthage at 7 p.m. ET Friday, and will play either Webster or Coe College at a time to be determined Saturday, depending on Friday's outcomes.