Millsaps holds on to defeat BSC 69-67 for Panthers' first loss

Ross Welch (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)
Ross Welch (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)

JACKSON, Miss.—Suffering its first loss of the season, the Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team lost to Millsaps on Sunday, 69-67, in Jackson, Miss.

The Panthers fall to 5-1 overall and 0-1 in the Southern Athletic Association; the Majors move to 2-4 overall and 1-0 in the SAA.

The entire game was a back-and-forth affair, with six ties and seven lead changes, and neither team leading by more than eight points. BSC led 39-34 at halftime, but Millsaps out-scored the Panthers 35-28 in the second half.

With 6:23 left in the game, BSC saw its final lead of the contest, 57-56, in the midst of a 12-2 Millsaps run go put the Majors up for good. Millsaps pulled up by seven, 66-59, with three minutes left, after which junior Ross Welch single-handedly kept BSC in it, hitting a layup and two three-pointers, including one with 58 seconds left to cut the lead to 68-67. The Majors missed the second of two free throws with 21 seconds left to put them up 69-67, and Welch pulled down the rebound, but the Panthers were unable to score, missing a three-pointer and a jump shot down the stretch.

BSC shot a season-low 41.2 percent (21-51) from the field and recorded a season-low 30 rebounds. Millsaps out-rebounded the Panthers by five and also committed three fewer turnovers with 10.

Welch led all players with 19 points on 7-11 shooting, while junior Alex Avery posted a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 15 rebounds and four assists. Junior John Crain scored 12 points off the bench, and sophomore point guard Ian Thom recorded 10 points. Senior leading scorer Larry Thomas, who was averaging 20.4 points a game prior to today, was held to seven points, hitting 2-10 from the field.

The Panthers stay on the road for the entire month of December, beginning with a trip to Maryville, Tenn., to face Maryville College Dec. 14 at 3 p.m. ET.