Centenary Gents still search for first win

LAFAYETTE, La.—It wasn't Centenary's night as the Gents traveled south, facing a dominant inside game by Louisiana-Lafayette, falling 94-62 to the Ragin' Cajuns on Wednesday evening in non-conference action.

The Gents (0-20) were never able to build any offensive momentum, despite having two players finish with double-figures. Centenary was led offensively by junior Maxx Nakwaasah with 19 points and freshman Jonathan Blount with 12, one shy of tying his career-high.

It was a scrappy start to the first half as each team was called for aggressive foul play as the score remained fairy close. Nakwaasah scored five of the Gents' first six points in a 6-6 tie, five minutes into the game.

Though, Louisiana would use its size advantage and strong inside game to build a 12-7 lead, all 12 coming from inside the paint, at the 12-minute mark.

A 9-0 run by the Ragin' Cajuns sparked a 27-14 lead with nine minutes to play, but freshman Quin Cooper, off the bench gave Centenary some life on the offensive end, knocking down the next five for the Gents.

After seeing itself down by 14 with under five minutes to play, Nakwaasah and sophomore Leo Davis would sink back-to-back treys to make it an eight-point game. During the four-minute stretch, Centenary would force Louisiana into five turnovers.

Blount would continue the Gents impressive three-point shooting with one of his own to narrow the early deficit to six (36-30) with less than two minutes in the opening half. Though, Centenary would give way to five final points by Louisiana to build a 41-30 lead at the half.

Sophomore Travis Sims drained a three to open the second half and classmate Baba Diallo hit the next four for the Gents, but Louisiana's would continue to score, maintaining a double-digit lead during the first five minutes.

Nakwaasah continued to lead Centenary with two drives to the basket for four points, but Louisiana went on quick 12-0 run over the next three minutes to go up by 24 (65-41) with 11 minutes remaining. Two free throws by freshman Logan Lowery ended the Ragin' Cajun run, while Blount hit the first field goal in over four minutes for Centenary to make it a 65-46 game.

Louisiana wasn't backing down in the latter half of the second half as it fired off a 15-2 run, holding Centenary with just two free throws by Blount during a five-minute span of play.

Centenary finished the night, shooting 39 percent (19-49), while knocking down six treys for 35 percent. Behind Nakwaasah and Blount in scoring was Davis with nine. Sims and Cooper added six in the effort, while Diallo contributed with five.

Louisiana was a solid 62 percent (40-65) from the field, led by five players in double-figures. Bryant Mbamalu led all scorers with 20 points. 64 of the Ragin' Cajuns 94 points came inside the paint.

The Gents were out rebounded 37 to 27. Centenary was led on the boards by Nakwaasah with eight. Louisiana forced the Gents into 24 turnovers on 13 steals.

Centenary will return to action on Saturday when it travels to Summit League foe, Oral Roberts. Tip-off is set for 7:05 pm in Tulsa, Okla.

(Courtesy: Centenary Athletics Department)