BSC holds off Sewanee in home finale, 65-55

Larry Thomas (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)
Larry Thomas (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Led by senior Larry Thomas with 18 points on Senior Day, the Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team defeated Sewanee in its home finale, 65-55, Sunday afternoon in Bill Battle Coliseum.

The Panthers moved to 15-8 overall and 7-5 in the Southern Athletic Association, while the Tigers fell to 14-9 overall and 8-4 in the SAA.

Thomas and fellow seniors Mason Holle and Ander Galfsky were honored in a pregame ceremony.

BSC raced out to an 11-2 lead within the first three minutes of the game and led by 13, 21-8, at the 12:46 mark. Sewanee chipped away at the lead after that, using a 17-4 run over the next six minutes to tie things up 25-25. That was the closest the Tigers would come, however, as BSC pulled back ahead 38-30 by the end of the first half, thanks in large part to freshman Harrison Deneka, who scored seven of the team's 13 points after the tie.

The Panthers stayed on command of the game through the second half, allowing the Tigers to only come as close as five, twice, and leading by as much as 15, 64-49, with 1:30 left in the game. Sewanee out-scored BSC 6-1 after that point, but it wasn't enough, and the Panthers came away with the 10-point victory.

Thomas led all players with his 18 points on 7-12 shooting, followed by Deneka and junior Alex Avery with 14 points apiece. Deneka and Avery also led with seven rebounds apiece, and Thomas led with four assists and three steals.

Marcellus Caldwell led the Tigers with 15 points, with Brody Stone pulling down a game-high nine rebounds.

The Panthers were on fire in the first half, shooting over 71 percent (15-21), and ended up with a 25-46 (54.3 percent) showing for the game. BSC struggled mightily at the free throw line, however, hitting a season-low 34.8 percent (8-23).

BSC travels to face Rhodes and Hendrix next weekend to wrap up the regular season, with the SAA Championship beginning on Friday, Feb. 27, at the site of the top seed. Centre and Rhodes are currently tied for the top spot at 9-3 apiece, followed by Sewanee at 8-4 and Oglethorpe and BSC at 7-5.