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Colonels torch the nets at Earlham, win 93-80

Colonels torch the nets at Earlham, win 93-80

RICHMOND, Ind. – Centre men's basketball picked up its second win in three days Monday night, defeating Earlham College, 93-80, in the Quakers' Athletics and Wellness Center.

Following Saturday's 97-56 rout against Boyce College at home, the Colonels (4-5) displayed a potent offense against the Quakers (3-7) that hasn't always been present on the road.

Prior to Monday, the Colonels were shooting under 41 percent as a team overall and a mere 27 percent from 3-point range in road games. They turned things around against Earlham, finishing a blistering 67 percent (34-for-51) from the floor, hitting 6 of 15 from deep.

Sophomore Art Walker (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) set a new career-high for the second game in a row, netting 23 points on a 4 of 6 shooting effort from long range. Classmate Perry Ayers (Bowling Green, Ky.) followed with 21 points, going 8 of 12 overall while adding four rebounds and three assists.

The Colonels seemed determined to avoid a sluggish start offensively Monday night, as sophomore Bailey Rakes (Mt. Washington, Ky.) scored just 15 seconds after the opening tip.

When Walker converted a traditional 3-point play near the 12-minute mark, Centre had its first double digit lead at 21-11.

The two sides continued to go back and forth, and Centre took its largest lead of the half when junior Tucker Sine (Bowling Green, Ky.) sank a pair of free throws with a minute left, making it 45-34.

Earlham would drain consecutive 3-pointers before the period ended, however, cutting the Colonels' advantage to five points at the break.

Walker, who scored 16 of his 23 in the first half, drained a 3-pointer on his first touch in the second. But it was Ayers who shouldered much of the second half load, as the guard hit 5 of 7 during the frame for a team-high 12 points.

Both sides were scoring at a high rate during most of the second stanza, until Centre pieced together a 17-6 stretch that helped it take an 82-65 lead with just more than six minutes remaining.

The Colonels held until the final buzzer, finishing with 90-plus points for the second time in as many games. They also went an absurd 19 of 22 (86.4%) from the floor in the second half.

Rakes (12 points), Sine (12) and sophomore Jacob Bates (10) each finished in double figures, as well, and sophomore Jakob Spitzer also added nine. Sine and Spitzer co-led the Colonels with six boards apiece, helping Centre out-rebound Earlham 33 to 26.

Sine also recorded a game-high four steals as the Colonels set a season high with nine as a team.

Defensively, Centre help Earlham leading scorer Elijah Wilson-Thomas to a 1-for-11 shooting effort and just six points. Wilson-Thomas entered the game averaging more than 18 points per game.

The Colonels are off until Dec. 29-30 when they participate in Otterbein University's Smokey Ballenger Classic in Westerville, Ohio. Centre meets Anderson Dec. 29 at 3 p.m., and will match up the following day against either Albion or Otterbein in the consolation or championship.