DANVILLE — Centre did what it had to do Wednesday to escape with a 74-72 men's basketball victory over Transylvania. The win was the Colonels' school-record 28th in a row at Alumni Gymnasium, which was nearly full with 1,328 fans.
Centre (2-0) built a 16-point lead with just over seven minutes left, then hung on for dear life.
The Colonels' final point came on a Mike Geegan free throw with 6 seconds left.
Transy, in its season opener, got the ball across half-court and called time with 2.9 seconds left.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The Pioneers' plan was to get shooters to the corners and spread things out for freshman point guard Sam Sergeant, who was simply terrific during crunch time.
However, instead of receiving the ball at the top of the key, Sergeant had to go to the half-court line, where he momentarily bobbled the ball. He had to settle for a very deep three-point attempt, which hit hard off the backboard.
"It was a packed house and two very powerful programs, Transy and Centre," winning coach Greg Mason said. "I think anybody who came to the game had to go away saying that's about as good a basketball game as you can expect to see."
Blake Scinta led Centre with 25 points and five assists. Tyler Wesley added a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, plus four blocks. Andrew Steggeman scored 12 points.
"It's our home-court magic. We haven't lost here in awhile and we plan to keep it that way," Scinta said. "And it's always fun with the rivalry going on, so it's always good to get a win from them."
Transy's Sergeant scored 18, all in the last 7:07. Alex Jones and Jake Williams scored 11 each, with Jones adding seven rebounds and four assists.
"I'm thrilled with how our young guys continued to battle," Pioneers Coach Brian Lane said. "I will take a ton of positives out of this."
Centre sank 17-of-21 free throws and had only eight turnovers. Transy committed just six turnovers.
"I'm really pleased with our guys. I like our team," Mason said. "Their heart is really, really good. We got back on our heels a little bit; that happens in basketball. ... But to our credit, we made enough plays coming down the stretch. Blake Scinta had a huge defensive possession on that last play. He used his 6-9 to get in the way of the shot of Sam Sergeant. Just a great game."
With the game tied at 22, Steggeman went on a personal 9-0 run to put Centre in control. After a layup came a four-point play, with Steggeman draining a three-point shot and a free throw. He finished the flurry with a three-pointer to give Centre a 31-22 lead.
Tim Bickel's bucket ended Transy's drought, but back-to-back threes by Geegan gave Centre its biggest lead of the half, 37-24. The Colonels led 39-32 at intermission.
The gap was still seven when Centre went on a 9-0 run to take a 61-45 lead.
Soon after, though, Sergeant got going and Transy turned up its full-court pressure. An 11-0 run, the first seven by Sergeant, rallied Transy to within 65-62. The margin shrunk to two when Jones hit a three to make it 69-67 with 3 minutes left.
Steggeman, scoreless since his nine-point flurry in the first half, answered with a three-pointer. But, after a Centre free throw, Sergeant hit a three with 1:04 left, making it 73-70.
The Pioneers added two free throws by Tommy Sirkin with 8.3 seconds left, just ahead of Geegan's free throw for Centre.