Sunday, February 27, 2011

Centre Advances to Face DePauw in SCAC Title Clash

Centre College, the East's No. 1 seed, advanced to its sixth consecutive Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference championship game with a 70-57 semifinal win over division rival and No. 3 East seed Oglethorpe University.

Sophomore guard Bryon Ellis led Centre (20-5, 13-3 SCAC) as he scored a game-high 28 points on 9-of-11 shooting, including an SCAC tournament record eight 3-point field goals. Ellis was 8-of-10 from beyond the arc. He matched former Centre standouts Matt Nestheide (Feb. 25, 2007) and Kris Bentley (March 1, 2009) as the only three to make at least eight shots from 3-point range in SCAC tournament history (since 2003).

Oglethorpe raced out to a 36-34 halftime lead on the strenght of shooting nearly 56 percent (15-of-27) in the first half. The Stormy Petrels (15-12, 10-6 SCAC) could not keep up their hot shooting as the Colonels limited Oglethorpe to 28 percent shooting (7-of-25) in the second half. Centre came into the SCAC tournament as the nation's second leading scoring defense, giving up an average of just 55.3 points per game.

Centre's Greg Ross, a night after scoring an SCAC tournament single-game record 38 points, added 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Colonels. Heading into the championship game, Ross is averaging 24 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.

Oglethorpe was led by senior guard Joe Kennedy's 18 poins, four rebounds and one steal. He shot 7-of-18 from the floor. Also chipping in for the Stormy Petrels were classmates Alex Richey (15 points) and Todd Ward (11 points).

The turning point of the game came on an Ellis three-pointer which gave Centre a 60-50 lead with 6:28 left in the game. From there, the Colonels were able to extend the lead to 68-54 with just over one minute remaining before earning the win.

Centre advances to the SCAC championship game for the sixth consecutive year and will look for its fourth SCAC championship in the last five years. The Colonels square off against yet another divsison rival in DePauw. These same two teams played for the conference championship a year ago with Centre prevailing 60-56. This will mark the third time that Centre and DePauw meet with an SCAC championship on the line. DePauw won the 2006 championship with a 64-61 win over Centre.

After the game SCAC Sports Information Director Jeff DeBaldo caught up with both head coaches along with sophomore guard Bryon Ellis of Centre.

To listen to Oglethorpe head coach Phil Ponder, click here.

To listen to Centre guard Bryon Ellis, click here.

To listen to Centre head coach Greg Mason, click here.

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