BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Feb. 27, 2016) – For the first time since 2005, the Sewanee men's basketball team will play for a conference postseason championship Sunday. Winning its 20thgame on Saturday, the Tigers topped rival Centre 68-62 inside Bill Battle Coliseum to advance to the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) title game against host and No. 1 seed Birmingham-Southern.
Sewanee, who is 20-7 overall, reached the 20-win mark for the first time since the 1997-98 season. The No. 2 seeded Tigers will play BSC at 3:00 p.m., Sunday.
All season, Sewanee has been a team that has had a balanced offense and a stout defense. Against Centre, the Tigers continued that trend in the semifinals. Sewanee made 46.2 percent of its attempts, which included 42.9 percent of its three-point shots.
On defense, The Tigers limited Centre to a 38.0 field-goal percentage and forced 10 turnovers. Centre's largest lead of the night was only by a single point with 18:14 left to play in the first half.
After Centre opened with a 6-5 advantage, Sewanee answered back. The Tigers opened a 9-2 run over the next three minutes. Then with 11:42 left in the opening half, a jumper by Jacob McCullough sparked a 12-6 run by the purple and gold.
Eventually, Sewanee led by six, 35-29, at halftime.
In the final 20 minutes, Sewanee never trailed. The Tigers built their largest advantage 12, 57-45, when freshman Cody Jones made a three with 4:27 to play.
From there, Centre pulled to within single digits with 2:16 left after Jarod Griffin hit a three. The Colonels pulled to within four, 64-60, after scoring seven of eight points in less than 30 seconds with under a minute to play.
After a Sewanee timeout, senior Keshonn Carter was fouled. Carter then hit both free throws to push Sewanee's lead back to six, 66-60. Eventually, Jones added two more free throws before Tucker Sine closed the game with a pair for Centre with 10 seconds left.
Individually, both Jones and Carter led the Tigers with 15 points each. Clay Born added nine points while fellow starters McCullough and Brody Stone finished with eight.
All-SAA First-Team selection Blake Scinta led all players for Centre with 19 points.