Panthers defeat Huntingdon at home, 87-67

Ross Welch (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)
Ross Welch (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Led by senior Ross Welch with 20 points on 7-10 shooting, the Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team won its fifth straight game Monday evening, defeating in-state rival Huntingdon 87-67 in Bill Battle Coliseum.

The Panthers moved to 9-6, while the Hawks fell to 6-9.

The first half was a battle back and forth, with 12 lead changes and neither team leading by more than five. Huntingdon found itself up 36-35 with 2:51 left, but Welch sank two three-pointers after that to put BSC up 41-36 at the half.

The Hawks opened the second half with two straight baskets, cutting the BSC lead to one, but that was the closest they'd come. Behind a 65.5 percent shooting effort, the Panthers expanded the lead out to double digits by the 10:52 mark, and led by as much as 25, 81-56, with 2:25 left in the game before winning by 20.

Welch shot 7-10 from the field, including 6-8 from beyond the arc, and senior Alex Avery was also impressive with a game-high 12 rebounds as well as 11 points on 5-8 shooting and eight assists. Freshman Mateusz "Matty" Rudak also recorded a career-high 15 points off the bench, going 6-6 from the field.

Raheem Berry led four Hawks in double digits, scoring 20 points, and Andre Ashley led on the boards with nine rebounds for Huntingdon.

BSC shot a season-high 60.7 percent (34-56) from the field, and was 10-25 (40 percent) from three-point range. The Panthers also out-rebounded the Hawks 39-30.

BSC is back at home this weekend, resuming conference play with games against Centre, Friday at 8 p.m., and Sewanee, tied with BSC atop the Southern Athletic Association standings at 4-0, Sunday at 3 p.m.