Posted: Nov 2, 2012 9:00 PM
Updated: Nov 2, 2012 11:11 PM
OLATHE, KS -- Melvin Tillman shot 50-pecent from the field and scored a game-high 22 points to lead Central Methodist University to a 72-64 season-opening win against Park University in the MidAmerica Nazarene Tip-Off Classic.
The Eagles (1-0) outscored the Pirates (0-1) 50-38 in the final 20 minutes inside Bell Family Arena to erase a four-point halftime deficit.
Central Methodist found itself down by five points early before answering with a 14-2 run in the span of nine minutes. A three-pointer from Nathan Jackson was followed by a jumper by Tillman at the 10:09 mark of the first half, giving the Eagles a 14-7 upper hand.
Park closed the first half outscoring Central Methodist by 11 points (19-8). Noel Surles fastbreak bucket gave the Pirates a 26-21 edge with 1:19 remaining in the first half.
Torr Woodhouse's made bucket 3:33 into the second half gave Park an eight-point cushion, 36-28, before the Eagles began to take over. After Robert Mason's two-point bucket tied the contest at 53 with 6:29 left, Derek Kitch's jumper sparked a 7-0 run that gave the Green and Black a 63-56 lead with 2:50 remaining in the game. Alex Barner's third made field goal of the contest made the difference eight points at 68-60, and Central Methodist never led by less than six point the rest of the way.
Tillman was 6-of-12 from the floor, including 3-of-6 from distance. He was also 7-of-10 from the free throw line to go along with five assists and three steals.
Eric Franklin added 11 points off the bench for the Eagles. Elliott Black had 10. Black and Tillman recorded five rebounds apiece.
Surles and Nigel Van Oostrum tallied 15 points apiece for Park. Woodhouse had eight points and seven rebounds.
Central Methodist was 23-of-50 (46-percent) from the field and 10-22 (45.5-percent) from behind the arc.
The Eagles limited the Pirates to less than 40-percent (23-of-58) shooting from the floor and 31.3-percent (5-of-16) from distance.
Central Methodist head coach Jeff Sherman now sits nine victories away from the famed 500-win milestone.
The Eagles battle Baptist Bible College on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. CT.