Story by Nicholas Petrone, Central Methodist Sports Information
LAMONI, Iowa - Central Methodist (Mo.) men's basketball coach Jeff Sherman picked up career win number 500 Thursday as the Eagles took care of Graceland (Iowa), 84-64, inside the Closson Center.
Sherman becomes the ninth coach in NAIA Division I to surpass the 500-win plateau, and Central Methodist (10-6, 3-1 Heart of America Athletic Conference) remains within a game of first place in the league standings after defeating the Yellowjackets (4-11, 1-3 HAAC).
Thursday's game also matched father versus son for the first time, as Jeff's son, Matt, was on the sidelines for Graceland as an assistant coach. Matt was a standout player for the Eagles and his father on the hardcourt from 2006-10.
With the game tied at eight in the first half, the Eagles' Melvin Tillman drilled three of his game-high 19 points to start an 8-0 run. Caleb Shaw hit a trey at the 9:28 mark to push Central Methodist's advantage to 24-13. Elliott Black canned a bucket for the Eagles as time expired to give the visitor's a 37-28 upper hand at halftime.
Michael Banks, Jr. opened the second half with a shot from distance to push Central Methodist's lead back to double digits at 12 points. A Shaw bucket from behind the arc made the score 57-37 with 12:35 to go in the game, and the Eagles' second half advantage swelled to as many as 26 points, 65-39, at the 10:38 mark.
Black finished with 17 points and a game-high seven rebounds. Shaw and Robert Mason tallied 12 points apiece, as each played nailed four treys. Eric Franklin had a career-high 15 assists, one shy of the school's single-game record.
The Eagles fired on all cylinders offensively, shooting 56.1-percent (32-of-57) from the floor and 51.9-percent (14-of-27) from behind the arc.
Central Methodist outrebounded Graceland, 39-26.
The Eagles host Avila (Mo.) for Free Admission Day on Saturday inside Puckett Field House. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. CT.