BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The top-seeded Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team opened the Southern Athletic Association Men's Basketball Championship with an 82-69 win over eighth-seeded Hendrix, Friday afternoon in Bill Battle Coliseum.
Friday's win was extended the team's winning streak to 16 games and improves their record to 20-6 overall. Hendrix dropped to 4-22.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Four different Panther starters scored in the opening three minutes of the game to claim an early 9-0 lead. It was a lead the Panthers would never relinquish.
- Trailing by 11 at the intermission, Hendrix opened the second half with seven straight points to pull within four at 40-36 with 17:19 left.
- The Panthers answered quickly with a two threes from junior Evan Lewis and one from senior Ross Welch in a 1:25 time span to push the lead back out to nine with 14:43remaining.
- Another three from Lewis with 9:15 left in the game pushed the lead to 19, the Panthers' largest of the game.
- Hendrix was within five at 70-65 with just under three minutes left. The Panthers would put the game away in the next two minutes powered by five straight points from senior Alex Avery and the fifth of Lewis's game-best five three-pointers on 5-6 shooting from beyond the arc.
- Earlier in the afternoon Avery was selected SAA Player of the Year and head Coach Chris Graves was voted Coach of the Year. It is the second time Graves has received such an honor being named SCAC Coach of the Year in 2012.
- Avery recorded a game-high 21 points and 15 rebounds; it was his 15th double-double of the year.
- The Panthers enjoyed the rebounding advantage, 40-32, and assists advantage, 14-9, while turning the ball over three more times than Hendrix, 14-11.
- After the game, BSC was presented with its SAA regular season trophy after going 14-0 in the SAA regular season.
- Fifth-seeded Berry will return to Bill Battle Coliseum to challenge the Panthers for a berth in the SAA Championship finals tomorrow at 6 p.m.