Panthers win second straight in 81-73 home victory over Belhaven

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

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team played its second home game of the season Thursday evening, defeating Belhaven University, 81-73, in game one of the Black Tie Classic in Bill Battle Coliseum.

BSC moved to 3-5, while the Blazers fell to 1-6.

The Panthers led for the first eight minutes before Belhaven achieved its only lead of the game at the 12:16 mark, going up 21-19. BSC used a 9-0 run after that to go up 28-21, and led by as much as 13 before taking a 50-39 lead into halftime.

After the Blazers opened the second half with two quick dunks, cutting it to 50-43, BSC used another 9-0 run go pull up by 16, 59-43, at the 15:29 mark. The Panthers would lead by 16 again at the 13:25 mark, 65-49, for their largest lead of the game, and then led by 15, 74-59, with 6:29 left before Belhaven tried to rally. The Blazers put together a 9-0 run of their own, cutting it to 74-68 with 3:18 left in the game, and cut it to six twice more after that, but the Panthers held on to win by eight.

Senior John Crain led the scoring effort with 17 points off the bench, going 5-8 from three-point range, and senior Alex Avery added 15 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, shooting 6-8 from the field. Senior Ross Welch had 12 points and five assists, and sophomore Harrison Deneka recorded 11 points. Junior Evan Lewis led with seven assists, and Welch led with three steals.

Belhaven's De'La Mayers posted a game-high 19 points, followed by Josh Gaskin with 18 points. Mayers also led on the boards with nine rebounds.

The Panthers shot over 52 percent in the first half and ended the game shooting 47.5 percent (29-61). Belhaven was impressive in the first half as well, going 18-31 (58.1 percent), and ended up shooting 30-60 for the game.

BSC out-rebounded the Blazers 37-30 while turning the ball over 17 times, twice more than its opponent.

Belhaven is coached by Jonathan Vines, who served as a Birmingham-Southern assistant coach for seven seasons before taking over the Blazers' program in 2014.

The Black Tie Classic continues tomorrow with Belhaven facing Berea College at 5 p.m. BSC will then take on Berea on Saturday at 3 p.m.