STEUBENVILLE, Ohio—Led by a trio of Panthers with 13 points each, the Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team won the championship game of the NCAA Division III Provisional Tournament with a 69-60 victory over Covenant College today in Steubenville, Ohio.
Senior Patrick Price was named Tournament MVP after scoring 13 points today and 14 points last night. Junior Jasen Jonus also scored 13 today and was named to the All-Tournament Team.
The Panthers finish the season with a 23-4 record after also winning the SCAC regular season title.
"What a great way for our seniors to end their careers," Head Coach Mitch Cole said. "This last tournament championship was special for them because they helped start the program in 07-08."
BSC will be a full-fledged member of NCAA Division III and will be eligible for the SCAC and NCAA tournament next season after being a provisional member since 2007.
The Panthers and Scots already met up once during regular season play, and according to Covenant head coach Kyle Taylor, both games were, "eerily similar". When the two teams faced off earlier this year, the final score of that game was also 69-60 in favor of the Panthers.
The game was close throughout, with Covenant having a small lead until halfway through the first half. The Panthers used four three-pointers and some key free-throws in the last ten minutes of the first half to hold a 39-29 point lead by halftime.
"It was a little bit of a grind," Cole said. "But, our kids are tough and resilient."
The Panthers built up a lead of as much as 15 in the second half, but Kyle Taylor's squad refused to go down without a fight. "We know that they are a very good team, very deep, and they're not going to make many mistakes or miss many shots. But all year our kids played hard, competed in every game, and that's what we did tonight. I'm proud of my guys' heart," Taylor said.
Covenant's Callum Sears lead all scorers with 17 on the day and Sam Bowman added 12 points and seven boards before fouling out late in the second half.