ATLANTA—A three-pointer from freshman Larry Thomas with one second remaining lifted the No. 19 Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team to a 63-62 victory against Oglethorpe University, Saturday afternoon in Atlanta.
The Panthers remain undefeated at 6-0, while the Stormy Petrels drop to 3-4. It was the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference opener for both teams.
Oglethorpe led for the majority of the first half, but the Panthers stayed close on the Petrels' heels, cutting the lead to one, 33-32, at halftime after a pair of free throws from junior Blaise White.
The Petrels opened the second half with a three-pointer and built the lead up to eight, three times in the first five minutes before expanding the lead to 11, twice, before the 12-minute mark. BSC fought back, cutting it to one, 60-59, on a three-pointer from Thomas with a little over five minutes left, and both teams went cold after that. The next basket came over three minutes later, a layup by the Petrels to put them back up by three, 62-59, with two minutes left in the game.
Junior Zac Richards was sent to the free throw line with 37 seconds remaining, and hit one of two to cut the OU lead to two, 62-60. BSC fouled after that, with the Petrels only in the single bonus, and OU missed their free throw with 31 seconds left. Richards pulled down the rebound, but BSC turned it over and fouled the Petrels again immediately with 14 seconds to play. OU missed the front end of the one-and-one again, and senior Jasen Jonus came down with the ball. With one second remaining, Thomas hit the three-pointer off an assist from Richards, putting the Panthers up by one for the victory.
Thomas, who exploded for a game- and career-high 24 points, shot 8-of-14 from the field and 8-of-11 from three-point range. Sophomore Jason Holland led with five rebounds, and he and Jonus led with three assists apiece. Thomas also led with three steals.
The Panthers shot 40 percent (20-of-50) from the field, 39.3 percent (11-of-28) from beyond the arc, and 80 percent (12-of-15) from the free throw line. OU shot better overall, hitting 47.1 percent (24-of-51), but hit 30.4 percent (7-of-23) on three-pointers and 77.8 percent (7-of-9) from the line.
OU out-rebounded BSC, 31-26, but BSC committed fewer turnovers with 13 to the Petrels' 15.
BSC is back in action next Saturday, Dec. 10, facing Point University (formerly Atlanta Christian College) at 2 p.m. in Bill Battle Coliseum.