SHREVEPORT, La. – Leading from start to finish in their second game in less than a week, East Texas Baptist University pulled away for an 11-point win over Centenary College, 71-59. It was ETBU’s first win of the season as they prepare for the start of American Southwest Conference play on Tuesday in Longview vs. LeTourneau.
Leading the men’s basketball team with his second consecutive double-double was Justin Felicia with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Erby Thompson added 10 points hitting two three-pointers. Monty Gray finished with nine points and five assists. Centenary’s Jonathan Blount led all scorers with 27 points.
The entire first half was close but ETBU never gave up the lead. Gray swooshed home a three-pointer just over two minutes into the game for the 3-0 lead. Centenary tied the game at nine at the 15:15 mark but ETBU added an 8-3 run to take a five-point lead, 17-12, with 12:09 left on a Jamil Samuel jumper. Cutting the lead to two with 4:57 on the clock, Centenary tied the game at 27 by the 4:04 mark.
Ahnre Gray completed an ‘and-1’ shot to give ETBU a three-point lead, 30-27, thirty seconds later but Centenary was within one, twice in the last two minutes. C.J. Jones put ETBU up by four, 35-31, with under 30 seconds to play as Centenary pulled within two at the half on a Blount lay up.
ETBU jumped out to an eight-point lead, 41-33, in the first three minutes of the second half as Gray laid in a shot. Thompson hit back-to-back buckets with a three-pointer (15:53) and a layup (15:13) in just 40 seconds as ETBU took an 11-point lead, 46-35. Thompson hit his second three-pointer in just over a minute and a half as ETBU moved ahead by 12-points, 49-37, at the 14:13 mark.
By the 11:20 mark, Samuel gave ETBU a 15-point lead on a layup. Neither team scored a point in the next two minutes until Centenary’s Donovan Williams hit a free throw. Kerry McClahan gave ETBU their largest lead of 16 points, 56-40, with 8:53 left in the game on a lay up. Centenary fought back and cut the lead to eight, 58-50, with just under five minutes to play. ETBU played through the Centenary run and responded with a 7-0 run pushing the lead back to 15, 65-50, in just under two minutes. Centenary came within just 11 points in the final three minutes as ETBU moved forward with their first win of the year.
Shooting 45% from the floor, ETBU made 35% of their three-point shots and 64% of their free throws. They held Centenary to 35% shooting from the floor, 36% from beyond the arc and 78% from the line. ETBU also out rebounded Centenary 42-33, and both teams had 12 turnovers.
ETBU travels to Longview, Texas, for their American Southwest Conference opener on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. against LeTourneau.