BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The 10th-ranked Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team clinched the top seed in the SCAC East Friday evening with an 81-64 win against Centre College in Bill Battle Coliseum.
The Panthers move to 21-1 overall and 13-1 in the conference, extending their current win streak to 14 games and their home win streak to 40 games. The Colonels drop to 14-7 overall and 8-5 in the league.
The first seven minutes of the game were back-and-forth, with eight lead changes and three ties, and Centre led 14-12 at the 13:24 mark. BSC kicked into high gear after that, using a 13-2 run to go up 25-16 with 9:30 left in the half. The Panthers steadily increased their lead after that point, out-scoring Centre 19-11 for the rest of the period to lead 44-27 at the half.
BSC maintained its large lead for the rest of the game, going up by as much as 29, twice, before eventually winning by 17.
Junior Zac Richards hit 6-of-7 from the field to lead the team with 16 points, while senior Jasen Jonus, junior Kevin Kegarise, and sophomore Colin Henry recorded 10 points apiece. Senior Caleb Lee led on the boards with nine rebounds, and sophomore Jason Holland led with four assists.
The Panthers shot 28-of-54 (.519) for the game, hitting 12-of-21 (.571) from three-point range and 13-of-19 (.684) from the free throw line.
Greg Ross led Centre with 17 points, and Chris Taylor added 10 points. Donovan Whiteside led with seven rebounds, and Jeff Mullaney led with three assists.
The Colonels hit 24-of-55 (.436) from the field, 1-of-13 (.077) from beyond the arc, and 15-of-17 (.882) from the line.
BSC out-rebounded Centre 36-24 but committed 11 turnovers to the Colonels' seven.
The Panthers are at home again on Sunday, facing Sewanee at 3 p.m. BSC is also set to host the 2012 SCAC Basketball Championship, Feb. 24-26.