Berry uses late-game rally to defeat Panthers, 76-72

Ian Thom (photo by Ben Breland)
Ian Thom (photo by Ben Breland)

ROME, Ga.—After leading by as much as 22, the Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team lost on the road to Berry, 76-72, after a late-game rally by the Vikings.

The Panthers fell to 13-7 overall and 5-4 in the Southern Athletic Association, while the Vikings moved to 6-13 overall and 2-7 in the league.

Sophomore point guard Ian Thom recorded a career-high 19 points for the Panthers, going 5-7 from the field and 7-10 from the free throw line.

BSC opened the game on an 11-0 run, and kept a small but comfortable lead throughout the first half, leading 38-27 at the break. The Panthers started the second half with seven straight points to pull ahead 45-27, and pulled ahead by their largest lead, 51-29, at the 15:54 mark. The Vikings responded with a 13-0 run to cut it to 51-42 at the 10:48 mark, and kept chipping away at the lead, finally tying it up, 68-68, at the 1:37 mark, and then achieving their first lead of the game, 71-70, with 1:04 left. Neither team would hit another field goal after that, but traded free throws, with Berry coming out ahead thanks in large part to Lee McCloud's 4-4 showing in the final 35 seconds.

Thom led BSC with his career-high 19 points, while junior Ross Welch scored 13, junior Alex Avery had 11, and sophomore Evan Lewis scored 10 off the bench. Avery led with six rebounds and six assists, and Lewis led with three steals. Senior leading scorer Larry Thomas was held to only six points, his lowest single-game total since Feb. 22, 2013, when he scored six against Hendrix.

Berry's Owen Jacobs led all players with 23 points off the bench, shooting 9-13 from the field, as well as a game-high 14 rebounds.

The Panthers stay on the road in the state of Georgia for a Sunday game against Oglethorpe, tipping off at 3 p.m. Eastern in Atlanta.