URBANA — The Central State Marauders lost to Urbana University, 81-77 on Dec. 12.
The loss drops CSU to an overall record of 4-5. Urbana claimed its first win of the season, improving to 1-9 on the year.
CSU coach Joseph Price said, “We got off to a slow start and were never able to fully recover in tonight’s loss. We need to come back with a renewed focus as we prepare for our upcoming road trip against two quality opponents in Clark Atlanta and Morehouse.”
Urbana opened the game on a high note, taking a 29-18 lead after a Chris Jackson dunk at the 10:05 mark of the first half. CSU responded with a 15-3 run capped off by a Chris Cook three-pointer to take a 33-32 lead with 6:40 remaining in the half. The teams traded baskets before two free throws by Malik Jacobs gave Urbana a 39-37 lead at intermission.
Urbana built its lead back up to double figures in the early stages of the second half. Abdul Kanu knocked down two free throws to put Urbana up, 57-44, with 13:16 left to play. Urbana remained comfortably ahead until the final minute.
Trailing by nine with 1:18 remaining, Chris Cook and Martin Oliver came up with tough baskets in the paint to bring CSU within four. After an Urbana turnover, Sterling Gilmore hit from beyond the arc to cut the lead to one with 8 seconds left. Forced to foul, CSU’s chances for a come back were erased as Urbana converted its final four free throws to seal the victory.
Urbana made 20 of 21 free throw attempts compared to CSU’s 18 for 29 performance from the line. Urbana also converted 13 of 26 three-point attempts while CSU struggled from the perimeter, going 3 for 15.
Jacobs led Urbana with 24 points and five rebounds. Mike Ryan finished with 15 points. Jackson came off the bench to contribute 11 points and six rebounds.
Oliver paced the Marauders with 24 points and five rebounds. Frank Barber III added 15 points and seven rebounds. Chris Scott finished with 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
The Marauders will resume conference play on the road this Saturday Dec. 16 against Clark Atlanta.
The Marauders remain on top of the SIAC West Division standings with a 3-1 ledger in conference play.
Martin Oliver, a sophomore from Chicago, recorded a career-high 24 points on Tuesday. Chris Scott recorded his fourth double-double of the season on Tuesday.
CSU’s next three opponents are, or were recently, among the top 10 in the Division II Sports Information Directors Association South Region Poll. Clark Atlanta had been ranked No. 10, Morehouse currently ranks No. 8, and Claflin had also been ranked No. 10.