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Panthers hold on, down Rust 68-66

Box Score

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Birmingham-Southern (11-13) Panthers held off a feverish last-minute push from Rust College (13-10) defeating the Bearcats 68-66 in their final home game of the season.

The Panthers used a strong first half to put away the pesky Bearcats.  Both teams shot 41-percent from the floor, but the Panthers used a plus-nine rebounding advantage to their advantage taking seven more shots in the period.  BSC closed the half on a 9-2 run, taking a 42-31 lead into the break.

The Bearcats opened the second half on an 8-1 run to erase the Panther lead.  Aaron Parr nailed two free-throws five minutes in sparking another Panther surge.  The game continued back-and-forth over the next ten, but the Panthers did not relinquish the lead until a pair of threes sent Rust up, 58-56, their first lead since early in the first half. 

The game was tied at 66 with 2:38 left on the clock.  The pace quickened as the seconds ticked away.  Neither team was able to break the stalemate until Rust’s DeJuan Watts let his emotions get the better of him.  A foul on  a defensive rebound under the Panther glass resulted in some exchanged words and shoving in front of the official.  The resulting free-throws and technical foul shots were enough to give the Panthers the victory, #Nathan West# and #Michael Rebarchak# both hit one-of-one at the line putting the Panthers up two with a 1:23 remaining.

The final minute was chaotic.  The Bearcats committed two critical turnovers trying to move the ball up the court.  The Panthers were called for a five-second count at midcourt trying to inbound the ball.  Luckily, the Panthers had fouls to give and the Bearcats’ shot at the buzzer to tie clanked off the front of the rim into the waiting arms of Rebarchak.

The Panthers were led by #Roger Williams# with 20 points and 11 rebounds.  #Isiah Doaty# and #Nathan West# also scored in double-figures with 11 and 10 points respectively.  Kennan Hardy led all scorers with 31 points and 7 rebounds.

The Panthers will wrap up the 2008-09 season on the road this weekend as they travel to Memphis to take on the Rhodes College Lynx.  Tipoff is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.  Live Stats are available at RhodesLynx.com