LEXINGTON, Va. – The Washington and Lee men's basketball team overcame an 18-point deficit to pull even in the second half, but could never get over the hump in falling to Centre by a score of 93-85 in the opening game of the W&L Tournament on Friday at the Duchossois Tennis Center.
The Colonels (10-1) assumed control of the contest early on, using a 15-0 run over a span of 2:34 to turn a 7-4 deficit into a 19-7 advantage at the 15:22 mark. The spurt began with four consecutive three-pointers, including two by junior forward Art Walker.
The three-point barrage continued for Centre, as the Colonels drilled 9-of-12 (.750) from distance in the opening 20 minutes en route to a 50-39 lead at the halftime break. Walker did much of the damage in the opening stanza, hitting 6-for-6 from beyond the arc for 20 points.
Centre continued to stretch its lead in the opening minutes of the second half, surging to a 64-46 advantage with 15:49 to play. The Colonels held a 15-point lead (68-53) with 13:43 remaining, before the Generals (7-4) mounted a charge that saw them tie the game at 68-68 with 10:18 left in the contest.
W&L's 15-0 run began at the 13:24 mark on a three-pointer by senior guard Devin Kearns (Cibolo, Texas / Samuel Clemens) and ended 3:06 later following a pair of made free throws by senior forward Roy McMillan (Raleigh, N.C. / Broughton). McMillan scored six points total during the run, while junior guard Kevin Dennin (Severna Park, Md. / Severn School) and sophomore forward Curtis Mitchell (Chevy Chase, Md. / Georgetown Prep) each banged home triples during the stretch.
Despite pulling even, the Generals simply couldn't take the lead. Kearns knotted the game again (77-77) on a pair of free throws with 4:23 left, but the Colonels snatched the lead back on a layup by junior forward Jacob Bates the next time down the floor.
It remained a two-point game (82-80) following a McMillan layup with 2:50 left in the game, but Bates finished off a three-point play on the next possession and the Colonels started making their free throws in pushing out to an 87-80 lead with 1:04 remaining. The Generals cut it to three points (88-85) with 37 seconds left on a three-pointer by Dennin, but could get no closer.
For the game, Centre finished 30-58 (.517) from the floor and 11-of-16 (.688) from beyond the arc. However, the Colonels made just 22-of-39 (.564) free throws, allowing the Generals to creep back into the contest in the second half.
Washington and Lee went 29-of-64 (.453) from the floor and 12-of-32 (.375) from three, but W&L missed its share at the line as well, finishing 15-of-26 (.577) from the charity stripe.
McMillan led all scorers with 31 points and a career-high tying 15 rebounds. He was 9-of-14 (.643) from the floor. Kearns posted 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists, while Dennin tallied 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
Bates led Centre with 26 points and nine rebounds, while Walker finished with 25 points on 7-of-9 shooting from distance. Perry Ayers added 15 points as well.
Washington and Lee will be back in action in the consolation game of the W&L Tournament on Saturday at 1:00 pm. The Generals will play the loser of a game between TCNJ and Cabrini.