BSC holds off Berea to win at home, 86-73

Harrison Deneka (photo by Tim Sofranko)
Harrison Deneka (photo by Tim Sofranko)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Holding off a late-game surge by the opponent, the Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team picked up another home victory on Saturday, defeating Berea College 86-73 in Bill Battle Coliseum.

The Panthers moved to 4-5 with the win, while the Mountaineers fell to 7-5.

Berea scored the first basket of the game which would turn out to be its only lead of the game, as BSC used a 15-2 run to pull out to a 15-4 lead by the 15:03 mark. The Panthers kept a comfortable lead the rest of the half, leading by as much as 19, 44-25, at the 3:51 mark. After that, the Mountaineers used a 12-3 run to cut it to 47-37 at the half.

BSC opened the second half with a 14-5 run to pull back out by 19 less than four minutes in, but the Mountaineers put together a 20-4 run after that to cut the Panthers' lead back to three, 65-62, with 11:07 left in the game. BSC held on to the lead, going back up by 10, 73-63, at the 6:29 mark, but Berea rallied again, cutting it to five, 78-73, with 2:18 on the clock. A three-pointer from senior Ross Welch then put the Panthers up by eight, and a layup and free throw by junior Ian Thom expanded it to 11 with 1:23 left. After two missed Mountaineer three-pointers, senior Alex Avery got a put-back for the final bucket of the game to put the Panthers up by 13.

Sophomore Harrison Deneka led BSC with 17 points, shooting 6-12 from the field, as well as a team-high eight rebounds. Junior Evan Lewis added 14 points, going 4-6 from the field, and dished out a team-high four assists, and Avery posted 13 points.

Anthony Myrks led Berea with 17 points, almost all from the free throw line, where he was 14-16. Ethan Harris pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds for the Mountaineers.

BSC shot 46.7 percent (28-60) for the game, including a 53.3 percent (16-30) showing in the second half. Berea held a slight advantage in rebounding, 38-37, but also turned the ball over 12 times, once more than BSC.

The Panthers take a 10-day break for the holidays before returning to action on Tuesday, Dec. 29, traveling to Farmville, Va., to face Hampden-Sydney College in a 1 p.m. ET game. BSC then opens Southern Athletic Association play at home on Sunday, Jan. 3, hosting Millsaps at 3 p.m.