Senior forward Greg Ross (Cincinnati, Ohio) hit a pair of free throws with 0.3 seconds left in overtime to give the Centre College men's basketball team a 69-67 win over #10 Cabrini College in the championship game of the Papa John's/Country Hearth Inn Tournament Friday, Jan. 30 in Danville, Ky.
With the win, the Colonels have now won four straight and improve to 8-3 overall, while the Cavaliers suffer their first loss of the year and fall to 9-1 overall.
Cabrini raced out to a 10-0 lead in the first 2:32 of the game, but Centre answered with 10 straight points to tie the game at 10-10.
The Cavaliers then went on a 17-6 run to take a 27-16 lead with 6:22 left in the opening period. Senior guard Jeff Mullaney (Louisville, Ky.) hit a lay-up to cut the lead to nine and then hit a pair of free throws to make it a seven-point game. His second free throw gave him 1,000 career points, making him the 28th player in Centre men's basketball history to reach that milestone.
The Colonels scored six of the last 10 points of the half on two three-point baskets by sophomore guard Collin Lopez(Louisville, Ky.), including one at the buzzer to cut the Cabrini lead to 31-26 at the intermission.
The Cavaliers scored the first five points of the second half to push the lead back to 10, but again the Colonels would fight back cutting the lead to one (47-46) midway through the second half.
Trailing by three with 4:42 left to play in regulation, Lopez hit another three to tie the game at 51 apiece. The two teams traded baskets for a 53-53 game, but Ross hit a free throw and Mullaney a jumper to give Centre its first lead at 56-53.
John Boyd cut the lead to one and Cory Lemons then made a jumper to give Cabrini a 57-56 lead with only 2.8 seconds on the clock. Ross took a full court pass from freshman Josh Karsner (Frankfort, Ky.) and was fouled while driving the lane with 0.4 left. After missing the first free throw, he connected on the second to send the game to overtime.
In the extra period, the Colonels led by two with 2:02 to play, but Cabrini's Goran Dulac tied the game with a bucket at the 1:44 mark. Mullaney then hit one of two free throws and Ross hit a jumper to give Centre a 67-64 lead with 40 seconds to play.
With time winding down on the shot clock Dulac hit a three-pointer from the top of the key to tie the game at 67-67 with 20 seconds on the clock.
Following a timeout, Mullaney got the ball to Ross on the left wing. As he drove to the basket, his game-winning lay-up attempt was blocked, but a foul was called and Ross went to the line for two shots. He hit both attempts, and the last second full court shot missed giving the Colonels the upset win.
Ross was named the tournament MVP after posting 20 points, nine rebounds and four assists in the championship game. Lopez was also named to the all-tournament team following an 18-point performance. Although he only scored seven points, Karsner grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds, and after scoring his 1,000th point, Mullaney added seven more to finish with 12 points, three rebounds, two steals and two assists.
Lemons led Cabrini with 15 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and three steals in 45 minutes of action. Boyd finished with 13 points and four rebounds, while Knowles added 10 points and eight rebounds.
Lemons and Knowles were both named to the all-tournament team along with Johns Hopkins' Alex Pandrangi and Berry's Lake Graham.
Centre returns to action in 2012 with a home non-conference contest against Berea College Wednesday, Jan. 4. Game time is set for 7 p.m. in Alumni Gymnasium in Danville, Ky.