Both teams traded buckets with Centennial relying on Bryson Cowper’s 21 points while Urbana looked to Payton Sheen to lead their scoring with 13 points. One of Urbana’s leading scorers, Keonu Duke was injured on a hard foul while going up for a layup during the very physical contest.
The end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter saw Centennial jump ahead to an 11 point lead with just over five minutes in the game.
Aided by an elevated level of defense, Urbana stormed back after forcing turnovers with a full-court press. A clutch layup from Urbana’s Kamari Ray-Davis tied the game at 64 with just over 11 seconds to play.
Centennial Senior Tommy Makabu was fouled while going to the hoop, and would later drain two key free throws that would prove to be insurmountable with just a few seconds left. The chargers clinched the victory after a travelling turnover on Urbana’s Payton Sheen.
“I feel like we gave good effort but we still have things to work on as a team in order to win these close games,” said Urbana center Miller Calhoun, who had 6 points and 5 rebounds.
Urbana is all too familiar with close losses to Centennial, as they lost in the final seconds last year after missing a last second layup. The Tigers have a chance to redeem themselves as they look to top the Chargers for the first time since 2013 on February 9th in Champaign.