MARSHALL, Texas – Traveling just across the Louisiana border for a classic rivalry game in NCAA Division III, East Texas Baptist University (0-1) faces Centenary College (1-0) on Thursday night in Shreveport, La. ETBU will be looking for their first win of the season after falling in their season opener to Millsaps College on a buzzer beating three-pointer.
“This is an old battle that we have fought before and is a rival game,” says head coach Bert West. “Our mindset and execution will be important for this game.”
This series goes all the way back to 1946 between the two schools and ETBU has only taken three games out of 32. Since Centenary went NCAA Division III in 2011-12, ETBU has split the games with the Gents. They played twice in 2011-12 when Centenary was a member of the American Southwest Conference before leaving for the SCAC in 2012-13. ETBU took the first meeting 90-60 in Marshall but later fell in Shreveport, La., 95-78.
Centenary is coming off an 88-84 win over NAIA LSU-Shreveport who started the season #2 in the nation in their season opener on Tuesday. They were down one point at the half, 42-41, and outscored LSU-Shreveport, 47-42, in the second half for the win. Jonathan Blount recorded 28 points to lead the way as four players were in double figures. The team finished shooting 50% from the floor and canned 82% of their free throws.
Blount is the scoring leader averaging 28 points per game and went 4-of-7 from the three-point line along with an 8-of-9 performance from the foul line. Donovan Williams is averaging 13 points per game while James Sapp is just short of a double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds per game.
ETBU is looking for their first win after letting Millsaps College come back and take the game away in the final seconds last Saturday. With an eight point lead and just under two minutes to go, Millsaps worked their way back into the game and then hit the game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer for the 70-69 win.
“In general I was very pleased with the game as we had a good mindset going into the game,” says West. “Our team needs to bounce back now and come back strong and believe in themselves and grow confidence. In just the game itself, we had three or four people that played pretty well and we have some others that need to pick up their game to the higher level. The Tigers will be fine.”
Justin Felicia leads the team in points and rebounding averaging a double-double after the first game with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Erby Thompson scored 12 points making four three-pointers. Monty Gray led the offense from the point guard position and put in 10 points. In his first game at ETBU, Jamil Samuel brought down 10 rebounds and had three blocks.
ETBU is shooting 48.1% from the floor, 40.7% from beyond the arc, and 60% from the stripe. They out rebounded Centenary, 44-21, and turned the ball over 16 times.
You can listen to the game on KMHT ESPN 1450 AM or online at www.etbusports.com . Mike Midkiff will be bringing you the play-by-play from Centenary College.