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Union hangs on to defeat Panthers, 84-81

Alex Avery (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)
Alex Avery (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)

ATLANTA, Ga.—In a game that was back-and-forth the whole way, Union College hung on to a lead down the stretch to defeat the Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team, 84-81, Monday afternoon in the Emory Tournament in Atlanta, Ga.

The Panthers fall to 6-4 with their third straight loss, while the Dutchmen move to 6-2. BSC will face Bates College in the consolation game tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET.

The game featured nine lead changes and nine ties, with BSC fighting back late in the first half to lead 46-43 after the first 20 minutes of play. At the 14:44 mark of the second half, the Panthers led 58-57 for their final lead of the game, after which Union used an 11-0 run to pull ahead 68-58. BSC was able to cut the lead to one, 82-81, with 27 seconds left, but the Panthers were forced to foul twice after that, and the Dutchmen hit two free throws with 18 seconds left to go up by three. BSC was unable to find the net, missing two three-pointers, and Union held on for the victory.

Junior Alex Avery led five Panthers in double figures, scoring 16 points on 7-9 shooting, and also led the team with eight rebounds. Junior John Crain scored 14 points off the bench, going 5-6 from the field and 4-5 from three-point range, and junior Ross Welch added 13 points. Freshman Harrison Deneka also scored 12 off the bench, going 4-5 all from long range, and senior Larry Thomas scored 10 points and led all players with six assists.

Union's Deshon Burgess scored a career-high 28 points, going 10-19, and William Hython posted 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Dutchmen.