No. 11 BSC hangs on to defeat Rhodes, 76-66

Kevin Kegarise

MEMPHIS, Tenn.—Led by junior Kevin Kegarise with 19 points, the 11th-ranked Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team held off the upset bid from Rhodes College Sunday afternoon, winning 76-66 in Memphis.

The Panthers move to 20-1 with their 13th-straight win, and advance to 12-1 in the SCAC. The Lynx fall to 14-8 overall and 9-4 in the conference.

BSC jumped out to an 8-2 lead to start the game, and led 11-4 at the 15:06 mark. The Lynx fought back to tie things up 13-13, but the Panthers pulled back ahead and stayed just in front of Rhodes for the rest of the half, leading 36-34 at halftime.

Rhodes tied it up twice in the first minute-and-a-half of the second half before taking its first lead of the game, 40-39, at the 17:57 mark. The lead was short-lived as junior Zac Richards made a lay-up to put the Panthers back up by one, but a made free throw a minute later tied it up again, 41-41.

The Panthers scored seven straight points after the 41-41 tie to take back their lead, but the Lynx responded after that with their own 7-0 run to tie it up yet again, 48-48, with 13:07 left to play. Another tie, 50-50, came at the 10:37 mark before BSC used a 10-3 run to go up 60-53 with 5:22 left in the game, but the Lynx wouldn't stay down, clawing back to tie it up once again, 60-60, at the 3:38 mark.

BSC then used an 8-2 run to go up 68-62 with 53 seconds remaining, and held onto the lead down the stretch, eventually winning by 10.

Kegarise led all players with his 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting, and Richards and senior Jasen Jonus added 14 points apiece. Richards led with seven rebounds, and junior Blaise White led with four assists and four steals.

BSC shot nearly 50 percent from the field, hitting 23-of-47, and exactly 50 percent (10-of-20) from three-point range. The Panthers were 20-of-25 (80 percent) from the free throw line.

Rhodes out-rebounded BSC 30-24, but the Panthers committed 10 turnovers, seven less than the Lynx.

The Panthers are at home next weekend, returning to Bill Battle Coliseum to host Centre, Friday, and Sewanee, Sunday. BSC also hosts the 2012 SCAC Basketball Championship, Feb. 24-26.