ROME, Ga.—After leading for much of the game, the Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team survived overtime against a tough Berry team to win on the road, 87-86, Friday evening in Rome, Ga.
The Panthers moved to 6-6 overall and 2-0 in the Southern Athletic Association; the Vikings fell to 3-8 overall and 1-1 in the league.
After trailing 11-7 at the 13:31 mark of the first half, BSC used a 14-3 run to pull ahead 21-14 by the 9:56 mark, and led the rest of the half, taking a 39-32 lead into the locker room at the break.
In the second half the Panthers led by as much as 13, 55-42, at the 14:44 mark before the Vikings rallied, coming from behind to tie things up 72-72 at the 2:26 mark and then 76-76 with 24 seconds left. Berry sent BSC junior Evan Lewis to the free throw line with three seconds left, where he made one of two, and Viking Kahlil Newkirk took the inbound pass and was fouled on a long three-pointer with 0.4 seconds left in regulation. He made the first and missed the next two, sending the game to overtime.
Late in the overtime period, Newkirk sank a three-pointer with 38 seconds remaining to put the Vikings up 86-84, but BSC sophomore Harrison Deneka responded in kind with a three-pointer with eight seconds remaining, putting the Panthers back up by one. Berry got off two shots before time expired, but both were off the mark, leaving BSC victorious by one point.
Senior Alex Avery led all players with 23 points on 8-14 shooting, and also led BSC with 13 rebounds, six assists, and four steals. Lewis added 12 points, going 4-5 from the field, and junior Ian Thom posted 10 points and four assists.
The Panthers shot a season high 57.7 percent (30-52) from the field, and were 8-19 (42.1 percent) from three-point range and 19-32 (59.4 percent) from the free throw line.
BSC stays on the road this Sunday to face Oglethorpe at 3 p.m. ET in Atlanta, Ga.