CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky.—Led by junior Ian Thom with 17 points, the Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team picked up its first win of the season on Saturday, defeating Thomas More College, 78-75.
The Panthers moved to 1-3, while the Saints, hosting the Coach Jim Connor Classic, fell to 1-1.
The first half was a battle both ways, with several ties and lead changes. The biggest lead by either team was when TMC pulled up 26-19 at the 8:12 mark, but BSC worked its way back into the lead, pulling ahead 32-30 on a three-pointer from senior Ross Welch at the 2:37 mark. The lead went back and forth twice after that before ending in a 26-26 tie at the end of the first half.
It was more of the same in the second half, with both teams making baskets and the lead going back and forth until the Saints were able to pull up by seven, twice, near the middle of the period. TMC held the lead until the 3:24 mark when a Thom jumper put BSC up 73-71. Two free throws from Thom at the 1:55 mark put the Panthers up 76-73, and two more with 10 seconds remaining put them up 78-75. The Saints missed a three-pointer on the last possession to presever the Panther victory.
Thom's 17 points led all players, and he shot 6-10 from the field. He and senior Alex Avery led with three assists apiece. Freshman Matty Rudak led on the boards with seven rebounds off the bench, and he also added 10 points on 4-6 shooting. Junior James McLean, drawing his first career start, recorded 13 points on 4-9 shooting, and Welch scored 12 points, going 4-8 from three-point range.
The Panthers held the rebounding advantage, 31-29, but turned the ball over 19 times, three more than TMC. BSC shot better overall from the field, hitting 51.8 percent (29-56) overall and 50 percent (10-20) from beyond the arc, while the Saints shot 45.5 percent (25-55) from the field and 21.4 percent (3-14) from three-point range. TMC was perfect at the free throw line, however, going 22-22, while BSC hit 76.9 percent (10-13).
BSC is back in action after Thanksgiving, facing LaGrange, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m. ET in LaGrange, Ga.