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BSC upends Rhodes 75-70

Larry Thomas (photo by Cari Dean)
Larry Thomas (photo by Cari Dean)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Handing Rhodes its first conference loss of the season, the Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team battled to a 75-70 win at home Friday evening in Bill Battle Coliseum.

The Panthers moved to 12-6 overall and 4-3 in the Southern Athletic Association; the Lynx fell to 13-4 overall and 6-1 in the SAA, snapping a five-game win streak.

It was a close game throughout, with neither team leading by more than five at any point. The first half featured four ties and five lead changes, culminating in a three-point Rhodes lead, 32-39, after the first 20 minutes of play. The second half was more of the same, with five ties and five lead changes. The final tie came at the 3:23 mark when the score was knotted at 64-64 courtesy of a free throw—the first of two—from BSC sophomore James McLean. His second free throw put the Panthers up 65-64 and BSC would never trail again after that point. After a jumper from senior Larry Thomas put BSC up by three, the teams traded baskets and free throws, with the Lynx cutting the lead to one three times, including 71-70 with nine seconds left to play. Thomas was fouled and went to the free throw line, sinking both to put the Panthers up by three with eight seconds remaining. The Lynx missed a three-pointer on the ensuing possession, and fouled McLean with 0.4 seconds on the clock. He stepped to the free throw line and made both to extend the lead to five, and Rhodes was unable to get a shot off before the buzzer.

The Panthers went 10-10 at the free throw line during the last 3:23 of the game, and hit 30-40 (75 percent) for the game.

Thomas led all players with 23 points on 6-8 shooting, including 3-5 from beyond the arc and 8-9 at the line. Junior Alex Avery scored 13 points on 6-8 shooting, and sophomore Evan Lewis also added 13 points off the bench, going 11-12 at the charity stripe. Thomas also led with seven rebounds, and sophomore Ian Thom led with five assists.

Drew Miller led the Lynx with 22 points, going 8-14 from the field and 4-8 from three-point range, and five assists. Geoff Livsey also scored 18 points for Rhodes and led with seven rebounds.

Rhodes out-rebounded BSC 32-29, and turnovers were nearly even at 16 for BSC and 15 for the Lynx. BSC's reserves were key for the win, with 25 points coming off the bench as compared to eight for Rhodes.

The Panthers are at home again this Sunday, hosting Hendrix at 3 p.m.