BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team upended Centre College 91-89 Friday night in Bill Battle Coliseum on a tip-in at the buzzer by sophomore Chris Graham (Dothan, Ala./Dothan HS). The come-from-behind win handed Centre its second Southern Athletic Conference loss of the season. BSC improved to 6-9 overall, 4-2 in SAA play.
Ian Thom (Cold Spring, N.Y./Croton-Harmon HS) finished with a game-high 21 points. Graham hit double-figures in the first half. He would finish with 17. And Matty Rudak (Augustów, Poland/Millbrook School) and Harrison Deneka rounded out the Panthers in double-digits at 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Despite trailing by as many as 12 in the first half, the Panthers pulled to within eight at the break, 47-39 and continued the momentum into the second half. BSC would pull within one 63-62 with 10:50 to play. They took the lead on a pair of free throws from Rudak. Both teams vied for the lead, with neither team leading by more than five down the stretch.
BSC tied it up at 87 with 1:01 on the clock when Rudak completed the and-one off a jumper. After a Colonel jumper gave them the lead, Thom responded with a layup to tie it again at 89 with 35.7 left in the game.
Perry Ayers was fouled driving to the basket with eight seconds left and went to the line to shoot two. He missed both and Graham grabbed the rebound and passed to Thom who drove it into the paint. When his float jumper bounced off the right side of the rim, Graham tipped it in with one second left. The ball dropped through as time expired and the Panthers won.
BSC remains at home for their next contest. They take on Sewanee at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 22 after the women's game at 1 p.m.