Panthers Fall To Centre In SAA Title Game

DANVILLE, Ky. --  Birmingham-Southern (20-8) missed a last second 3-point attempt as Centre College (21-5) won a 46-44 defensive struggle to claim the 2013 Southern Athletic Association Men's Basketball Championship on Sunday.

Larry Thomas and Kevin Kagarise led the Panthers with 11 points apiece followed by Zac Richards with 10 points and Griffin Schamp with nine points. Richards and Schamp led BSC with seven rebounds.

The Panthers trailed 41-34 with 6:40 left in the second half before a Kagarise 3-pointer and a Larry Thomas layup trimmed the deficit to 41-39 at the 4:27 mark.

Blake Scinta's layup and free throw gave the Colonels a 46-42 lead with 2:36 remaining before a Schamp tip-in of a missed shot made it a two-point contest with 2:03 left.

The Panther had two shots to tie or win the game over the final 1:02. Thomas missed a jumper at the 1:02 mark and Kagarise grabbed a Centre missed shot to give BSC it's a final chance with 36 seconds remaining.

On the final play, Richards drive towards the basket was cut off by the Centre defense forcing a pass to Schamp whose 3-pointer attempt fell short at the buzzer.

The Panthers held a 10-5 lead in the first half following a layup by Richards with 14:32 and with 7:41 left took its biggest lead at 17-9 on another Richards basket.

With the game tied at 19, BSC went on a 6-2 run over the final 3:40 of the half.  A White layup and a Schamp basket and two free throws gave BSC a 25-21 lead at intermission.

Centre started the second half on a 5-0 run to take a 27-25 lead before BSC took a 31-27 lead on a Richards jump shot with 14:23 to play.

Matt Griggs made two free throws to tie the game 31-31 while Thomas gave the Panthers a 33-31 lead with just over 12 minutes remaining.

A Scinta basket and free throw help the Colonels take a 34-33 lead before Schylar Freeman tied the game at the nine minute mark.

The defense played a key role in the low scoring affair. BSC held Centre to 34 percent shooting for the game while the Panthers shot 27 percent.

Scinta was the Colonels leading scoring with 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.