February 13, 2012

Men's Basketball Recap (Week 12) - Around the SCAC

SUWANEE, Ga. - With one week left in the regular season, six of the eight SCAC tournament berths have been handed out. One berth remains in both the Eastern and Western Divisions. Oglethorpe and Sewanee remain in contention for the last East bid while Dallas or Southwestern will earn the final West berth.

AROUND THE SCAC

Austin College built a 14 point halftime lead and never looked back, topping the University of Dallas 72-61 to earn their fourth straight victory and their 10th conference win this season. Ransom Okpala was perfect from the field in the game, going 8-for-8 to finish with 17 points to lead the ‘Roos. Okpala added five rebounds, three assists and three steals, and Josh Saunders chipped in with 13 points and nine rebounds. Jordan Hancock was the third Kangaroo to hit double figures, scoring 11 points and adding three assists in the victory.

No. 8 Birmingham-Southern won its 14th- and 15th-straight games this week, defeating Centre and Sewanee at home to extend their home win streak to 41 games and clinch the top spot in the East Division and overall best conference record. Against Centre, junior Zac Richards hit 6-of-7 from the field to lead BSC with 16 points. On Sunday against Sewanee, junior Kevin Kegarise led four Panthers in double digits with 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including 4-of-4 from three-point range.

Centre split their final road trip of the regular season, losing at #10 Birmingham-Southern on Friday and defeating Oglethorpe on Sunday. The Colonels fell behind early at Birmingham-Southern and the lead grew as the game went on. Centre trailed by as many as 29 points before falling to the Panthers by 17, 81-64. Greg Ross led all scorers with 17 points while Chris Taylor added 10 points. Centre once again fell behind at Oglethorpe, but this time they responded via the three-pointer. The Colonels shot 43% from long distance while holding the Petrels to 18%. Strong bench play from James Melloan and Donovan Whiteside helped extend the lead to 42-34 at halftime. In the second half, Oglethorpe cut the Centre lead to a single point at the halfway mark, but the Colonels methodically scored the next 11 points of the game. Three-pointers by Bryon Ellis and Collin Lopez gave Centre a cushion they would not relinquish, winning the game 74-60. The Colonels held a 38-18 advantage on the boards. Whiteside scored a career high 20 points off the bench, while Jeff Mullaney added 16 and Lopez scored 10. Centre will close out the regular season with home games against Millsaps and Rhodes.

Sophomore guard Ryan Milne recorded 17 points, six assists and five rebounds, but Colorado College shot just .356 from the floor and dropped an 82-68 decision at Southwestern on Friday night. CC pulled to within 58-51 after freshman forward Chris Lesnansky completed a three-point play with 10:24 to go, but never got any closer. Sophomore guard Jake Tramutolo connected on five of seven attempts from behind the arc and finished with 15 points. Lesnansky posted the first double-double of his career with 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Colorado College overcame a 12-point deficit early in the second half to send the game to overtime, but the Tigers couldn't get one of their final two shots to drop and came out on the wrong end of a 69-67 decision at Trinity on Sunday. Lesnansky paced the Tigers with a season-high 23 points, while Milne finished with 18. Colorado College plays host to Johnson and Wales University on Wednesday night and wraps up the regular season at home on Saturday against Hendrix.

Dallas (7-16, 5-9 SCAC) went 0-1 on the week, falling on the road to SCAC foe Austin College. Dallas could not slow Austin College on Saturday afternoon, as the Kangaroos converted 51.8 percent (29-of-56) from the field in comparison to Dallas' mark of 37.7 percent (20-of-53). In defeat, three freshman Crusaders entered double-figure scoring -- guard Kym Malone (11 points), forward Aaron Wyatt (12 points) and forward Decker Smith (13 points). On the docket this week for Dallas are two SCAC home games -- Trinity University (Friday, Feb. 17, at 8 p.m.) and Southwestern University (Saturday, Feb. 18, at 8 p.m.). Heading into the final two SCAC regular season games, an SCAC Tournament berth looms for Dallas. The Crusaders control their own destiny, since Southwestern must win both of their weekend games (Austin College, Dallas).

Hendrix
was knocked out of SCAC Tournament contention with losses to Trinity and Southwestern over the weekend. On Friday, the Tigers topped the Warriors 88-63. Senior center Nick Heathscott had 12 points and seven rebounds and Ammon Martin and Colton Primm added 12 points apiece. Freshman guard Nathan McCubbin recorded season highs with seven points and five boards and freshman forward Luke Vance also set a personal best with seven points. On Saturday, the Pirates pulled out a 79-76 overtime victory against the Warriors. Hendrix had two chances to tie the game in the final five seconds of overtime, but their three-point shots were off the mark. Primm tied his career-high with 19 points to go with eight rebounds. Martin had 18 points, nine rebounds and three assists and Heathscott recorded 15 points and nine boards. Senior guard Chris Goodman scored 14 points and set career-bests with seven rebounds and four steals. Hendrix will close out the season by hosting Rust on Wednesday and traveling to Colorado College on Saturday.

With Millsaps playing in front a big crowd for Senior Night, John Dunavant played spoiler as he hit a three pointer with 1.8 seconds remaining to top Millsaps 58-55 in heartbreaking fashion. With the loss, the Majors fall to 8-14 overall and 3-11 in the SCAC. The Lynx went on a 10-0 run when down 50-40 with seven minutes remaining to tie the game up for the first time since the beginning of the game. With 11 seconds, junior Nick Cortese hit a beautiful fall away jumper in the paint to put the Majors up 55-53. The Lynx responded against with a Hartwell layup to tie it again. Millsaps then turned the ball over to give Rhodes a shot at the game with 1.8 seconds remaining and Dunavant struck to give Rhodes the win. The Majors return to action on Friday as they travel to Danville, Kentucky to take on the Centre Colonels. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. EDT.

Oglethorpe
went 1-1 against SCAC competition this week as the Stormy Petrels hosted Sewanee (W, 69-49) and Centre (L, 74-60). Against Sewanee, Oglethorpe was led by Andrew Steioff who scored a team-high 21 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. Alec Pitts added 18 points for Oglethorpe. Against Centre, the Stormy Petrels were led by Steioff’s 27 points and five rebounds. OU now stands at 11-13 and 6-9 in SCAC play, just a half-game ahead of Sewanee for the final SCAC tournament berth in the Eastern Division.

Rhodes snuck out of Jackson, Miss. and Millsaps College on Saturday February 11th with an improbable victory. Down two with 11 seconds remaining, the Lynx scored five points over the remainder of regulation to steal a 58-55 victory. Junior Andrew Galow hit classmate Theo Hartwell under the basket for the game tying layup with 4.8 seconds left. Then, Lynx sophomore Patrick McGrail stole Millsap’s half-court inbound pass and called timeout. With 1.8 seconds on the clock, Galow inbounded the ball to Sophomore Johnny Dunavant who squared up and sunk a 28 foot jumper from the right wing. Rhodes was led by Senior Kory Kilpatrick, along with Galow and Hartwell, all scoring a team-high 13 points. Hartwell chipped in 9 rebounds to pace the Lynx. With the win, the Lynx move to 10-4 in the SCAC and head on the road for the last conference matchups against Sewanee on Friday and Centre on Sunday. The Lynx have a one-game lead over Centre for the #2 seed in the Eastern Division.

In their final road games of the season, Sewanee dropped a pair of contests at Oglethorpe and No. 10 Birmingham-Southern. Overall, Sewanee, who has played solid defensively all season, gave up an average of 77 points. In order to make the upcoming SCAC Tournament, the Tigers will now need a Birmingham-Southern win over Oglethorpe while winning at least a game against either Rhodes or Millsaps.

Southwestern
(3-20 overall, 3-11 SCAC) kept their slim playoff chances alive by beating Colorado College (82-68) and Hendrix (79-76 in OT) over the weekend. Against Colorado College, the Pirates were led by Michael Cantu’s 21 points and Travis Kurtz’s five rebounds. Southwestern opened up a 42-30 halftime lead and did not look back in breaking their 11 game losing streak. Against Hendrix, Southwestern was paced by Logan Hurley’s 20 points and  James Davenport’s 11 rebounds. The Pirates conclude regular season play traveling to Austin College and the University of Dallas on February 17 and 18. If the Pirates sweep both games and Dallas loses both of their games next weekend, Southwestern will earn the final SCAC playoff spot from the West Division. In that scenario, SU would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over Dallas via a sweep of the Crusaders.

Trinity improved its winning streak to six games over the weekend, defeating both Hendrix and Colorado College to move into a first-place tie in the SCAC West Division standings. On Sunday, head coach Pat Cunningham earned his 400th career victory, as the Tigers edged Colorado 69-67 in overtime.  Cunningham is in his 13th season with Trinity, winning more than half his games since moving to San Antonio in 1999-00. He also coached at Chicago and Manchester during his career. With the wins this weekend, the Tigers swept the regular season series from Hendrix, and earned a split with Colorado. This weekend, Trinity hits the road for the final games of the regular season against Dallas and Austin College. The Tigers and ‘Roos are tied atop the West Division, and Saturday’s game could likely be a battle for the West’s top seed at the SCAC Tournament.

For the complete SCAC Men's Hoops Weekly for Week 12, click here.

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