8:31 PM PST, March 4, 2011
MARIETTA, Ohio -- The Centre College men trailed by 13 points at the half, rallied to cut the deficit to two late but fell 67-62 to host Marietta College on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.
“Marietta is a very good team. They come from one of the top three conference in Division III, they are very legit,” Centre coach Greg Mason said. “Our guys competed as well as we could have hoped for.”
Donovan Whiteside had 18 points, Greg Ross had 15 points and six rebounds before fouling out, Jeff Mullaney had 14 points and five assists and Alex Lloyd pulled down 10 rebounds.
Centre trailed 330-20 at the half, but got hit from the outside to start the second half. Two three by Whiteside and a 3 each from Mullaney and Bryon Ellis cut the Marietta lead to 39-32 with 14:58 to play. Whiteside, Ellis and Mullaney all hit two 3-pointers in the second half as the Colonels went 6-for-10 from long range.
“That’s kind of who we’ve been this year,” Mason said. “We had the same philosophy in the second half,we just kept on atttacking. We just starting making the shots.”
A three-point play from Ross and layup by Whiteside off a Ross assist made it 41-39 Marietta with 9:14 to go.
Ross picked up a personal foul, then a technical foul -- his fifth personal -- after a turnover with 7:19 to play.
“The guys, that never shook them, we went on competing,” Mason said.
A jumper from Lloyd made it 49-47 with 5:19 to go, but the Colonels could get no closer.
Marietta led 17-14, but Centre scored just four points in an eight-minute span as the Pioneers rolled out to their 13-point halftime lead.
“That’s who we’ve been all year, we’ve been a little streaky offensively,” Mason said. “We didn’t change what we were doing in the second half, we kept attacking them. The difference was our shots started going in.”
Centre, making its fifth straight trip to the tournament, finished the season 21-6. The Colonels were 22 of 56, 6 of 18 from 3-point range, and made 12 of 14 free throws.
Marietta was held well below their average, but shot 50 percent on 26 of 52 from the floor, hitting three of 11 3s and 12 of 18 free throws and outrebounding Centre 32-31.
“I could not be more pleased with the guys,” Mason said. “It’s been a great season, we have a lot to be thankful for, and we represented Centre very, very well.”