BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – It wasn’t pretty, but the Birmingham-Southern men pulled out the final home game of the season tonight against in-state rival Huntingdon, 64-60. The game saw six ties and nine lead changes. The win is BSC’s 20th on the season, giving ‘Southern a 20-3 overall record.
The Panthers shot just 31 percent from the floor in the first half, going 11-of-35, including 5-of-14 from three. Thankfully, the Hawks did not fare much better, going 11-of-26. The main difference in the halftime score was gained at the foul line as Huntingdon hit 8-of-10 while the Panthers made just four of their nine opportunities. The poor shooting resulted in a 33-31 halftime lead for the Hawks.
A Technical foul charged to the Panthers at the end of the first half, handed out as the teams were exiting the court, allowed the Hawks to expand their halftime lead to 35-31 to start the second half. Much of the next fifteen minutes played out just like the first 20, with the lead changing back-and-forth with neither team able to push an advantage.
It took them 35 minutes, but the Panthers finally pushed their lead into double-digits with just over five minutes remaining, 59-49. The Hawks managed to claw back to within four with 1:35 remaining, 62-58. The Panthers got a five-second call on their next possession out of a Hawk timeout and allowed Huntingdon to cut the lead still further to 62-60 with 47.2 seconds on the clock. Aaron Parr drove across the timeline and called a timeout with 38.6 seconds to give BSC a chance to set up their final possession. Whatever the plan was, it didn’t work as the Panthers turned over the inbounds-pass.
The Panther defense held strong as the Hawks struggled to find an open shot at tying the game. #Mark Messenger# came up with a huge block against Huntingdon’s leading scorer, Reggie Sprouse, with seven seconds remaining. Aaron Parr pushed the lead out to four, 64-60 with the resulting free throws to give their 20th win of the season and an undefeated 14-0 home record. It is the first time since the 1999-2000 season that the Panthers did not surrender a home game, and the first time since joining the NCAA.
Senior #Aaron Parr# led the Panthers with 12 points and #Wheeler Flemming# grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds in their final appearance on the Hilltop Hardwood. #Jasen Jonus# scored ten points on the night. They still finished the second half shooting 41 percent for a game total of 36 percent (23-of-64). BSC hit just seven threes in the game for 32 percent (7-of-22).The Panthers will close out the 2009-10 season on the road with a pair of SCAC contests at Centre and DePauw. One more conference win will clinch sole possession of the SCAC East Division Title for the Panthers. They are two games in front of both Centre and DePauw with just the two games remaining.