BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Led by sophomore Larry Thomas with 31 points on 12-16 shooting, the No. 12 Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team defeated in-state rival Huntingdon College, 90-80, Saturday evening in Bill Battle Coliseum in the final game of the 2012 Black Tie Classic.
BSC moves to 2-0, while the Hawks fall to 0-2 after losing to Emory on Friday. Emory and University of the Ozarks also faced off earlier today, with Emory winning 90-80.
Besides Thomas' strong performance from the outside, hitting 7-9 from three-point range, 56 of the Panthers' points were in the paint, with senior Zac Richards scoring 23 of those on 11-15 shooting.
BSC opened the game with a 4-0 lead and the Hawks tied it up 4-4 before the Panthers pulled ahead for good. BSC increased its lead to 14-7 by the 14:21 mark and then 21-13 at the 10:03 mark, after which the Hawks made an 8-2 run to cut it to 23-21 with 7:15 left in the half. But that was the closest they would come as the Panthers increased their lead steadily for the remainder of the half, going up by as much as 18, 46-28, before taking a 49-35 lead into the halftime break.
The Panthers kept their lead for the duration of the game, although Huntingdon stayed just a couple of steps behind BSC the whole way, cutting the lead to seven several times. BSC kept scoring, though, and led 90-76 with 1:25 left in the game before winning by 10.
Thomas led all players with his 31 points, followed by Richards with 23. Richards also led on the boards with eight rebounds, and Thomas grabbed seven steals. Senior Blaise White led with six assists and also had four steals.
Jeremiah Thomas led Huntingdon with 22 points, followed by Ryan Petty with 20 and Jason Varney with 10. Thomas also led with seven rebounds.
BSC shot well in the game, hitting 38-64 (.594) from the field and 10-22 (.455) from long range. The Panthers were 4-7 (.571) at the free throw line. The Hawks shot 29-61 (.475) overall, 8-23 (.348) from three, and 14-18 (.778) from the line.
Rebounds were nearly even with the Panthers pulling down 32 to the Hawks' 31. Huntingdon turned the ball over 19 times to BSC's 17.
The Panthers are on the road for the next month, beginning with a road game against LaGrange this Tuesday, Nov. 20, at 8 p.m. Eastern. BSC returns home on Monday, Dec. 17, against Rust College at 7 p.m. Central.