Balanced attack leads SLU past Centenary, 99-67

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HAMMOND, La. – Southeastern Louisiana had five players in double figures in scoring its most points in a season opener in eight years in a 99-67 victory over Centenary Friday night in the University Center.

The Lions matched the 99 points they scored in a 99-50 win over the University of Science and Arts to open the 2009-10 campaign.

Senior guard Eddy Polanco led Southeastern (1-0) with 18 points. Junior guard Marlain Veal tossed in 17 points and had six assists while senior forward Jordan Capps, seeing his first action in nearly a year, added 14 points. Senior guard Jabbar Singleton contributed 12 points and senior forward James Currington 10. Junior forward Moses Greenwood had a game-high nine rebounds for the Lions who shot 53.7 percent from the field and out-rebounded Centenary 36-25. Southeastern was also 10-of-21 (47.6 percent) on 3-pointers and 31-of-39 (79.5 percent) from the line.

Cedric Harris had a game-high 21 points for the Gents (0-1). Travion Kirkendoll added 12 points and Neil Hawkins 10. Centenary shot 47.1 percent overall.

Polanco scored 16 points as Southeastern took a 53-40 lead into the half. Centenary continued to hang around in the opening minutes of the second half with a 3-pointer by Harris cutting the deficit to 62-51 with 12:42 left. But a 3-pointer by junior guard D’Angelo West started a 20-0 run for Southeastern at the 10:06 mark. Currington scored six straight points, redshirt freshman Brandon Gonzalez knocked down a 3 and Capps capped the run with a dunk and a layup to give the Lions an 82-51 lead with 6:10 remaining.

Southeastern got out to a 13-5 lead on Singleton’s 3 with 17:36 left in the opening half. Centenary countered with an 11-2 run to take its only lead at 16-15 on a Harris jumper at the 16:33 mark. A pair of Currington free throws started a 6-0 run for the Lions with two free throws by Polanco making it 22-16 with 15:11 left.

Veal lofted a pass to Greenwood for a dunk to give Southeastern a 27-18 lead with 12:43 remaining. Harris trimmed the margin to 29-26 with a 3 with 10:28 left. Another 3 by Kirkendoll made it 35-33 at the 5:27 mark. Polanco responded with eight straight points and Capps added two free throws to push the Lions’ lead up to 45-35 with 2:44 left. West knocked down a 3 for his first points as a Lion to make it 51-37 with 37 seconds remaining.


Southeastern defeated Centenary for the first time since 1997 and got its first home win over the Gents since an 89-77 win in 1996. Centenary leads the series 24-20.

Southeastern won its second straight opener, the first time the Lions have done so since the 2009-10 and ’10-11 seasons. Southeastern is now 35-35 in openers.

The Lions won their 12th straight home opener.

Capps saw his first action since Nov. 14, 2016 at Tulane. Charleston, who played in both of the Lions’ exhibitions, played in his first regular season game since Dec. 4, 2015 against Southern.

West, Gonzalez and senior guard Quinton Thomas all made their regular season debuts for Southeastern.


Southeastern head coach Jay Ladner:

On pulling away in the second half:

“I thought as we began to settle down in the last four minutes of the first half, we finally began to get into a rhythm offensively. We were forcing things too much those first 16 minutes. Once we settled down there and as the game went on, our defensive pressure just wore them down and they began to turn the basketball over kind of in some flurries that we were able to take in and convert and bust the game open. I was proud of the way we played in the second half compared to the last game (the exhibition against William Carey).”

On getting contributions throughout the lineup…

“I was very encouraged by some guys who got some minutes. Brandon Gonzalez, D’Angelo West, Quinton Thomas ‑ I thought those guys came in and played well. As we go through the basketball season, it’s such a marathon, so having good quality depth is important. It was good having Jordan back. It’s his first action in almost a year. I thought that first time through he was really rusty but basketball takes time and as the game went on, I thought he began to look more like himself.”


Southeastern opens a stretch of six straight road games Monday at Tulane. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse in New Orleans.

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