Panthers hold off Emory for 75-72 road win

Kevin Kegarise (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)
Kevin Kegarise (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)

ATLANTA, Ga.—After leading by as much as 19 in the first half, the Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team held off a late-game surge by Emory to win 75-72 on the road, Wednesday evening in Atlanta.

The Panthers move to 4-2 on the season, while the Eagles fall to 4-2.

BSC set the tone for the first half in the opening minute-and-a-half, with senior Blaise White and sophomore Larry Thomas hitting back-to-back three-pointers to put the Panthers up 6-0. The Panthers steadily increased their lead, pulling ahead by double digits at the 9:45 mark on a free throw by junior Colin Henry, and then going up by 18 at the 5:36 mark on back-to-back three-pointers from senior Kevin Kegarise. Another three from Kegarise at the 1:31 mark put BSC up 46-27 for its largest lead of the game, and the Panthers took a 46-32 lead into the locker room at halftime.

BSC maintained its large lead through the opening minutes of the second half, leading 58-40 at the 14:53 mark before Emory began to chip away at the margin. After the 10:23 mark when BSC led 65-52, the Eagles scored nine unanswered points and cut the lead to two, 65-63, with 6:02 left to play. The Panthers responded with six straight points, though, to go back up by eight. Emory cut it to two again down the stretch, when two free throws from Michael Friedberg made it 74-72 with 42 seconds left. White went to the free throw line for BSC 10 seconds later and made one-of-two, putting the Panthers up 75-72, and BSC prevented the Eagles from scoring in the closing seconds to clinch the three-point win.

Kegarise led all scorers with 21 points on 7-10 shooting, all from three-point range, and also led with six assists. Thomas had 20 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, White recorded 12 points, and senior Zac Richards had 10.

Jake Davis led Emory with 19 points, followed by Friedberg and Alex Greven with 17 apiece, and McPherson Moore with 10.

BSC out-rebounded the Eagles 33-25 while committing 21 turnovers, nine more than Emory. The Panthers also out-shot the Eagles, hitting 28-52 (.538) from the field and 15-26 (.577) from long range, while Emory was 27-60 (.450) overall and 6-21 (.286) from beyond the arc. BSC was 4-9 (.444) at the free throw line, however, while Emory was 12-13 (.923).

The Panthers are off until Saturday, Dec. 15 when they open Southern Athletic Association play on the road against Millsaps at 5 p.m. in Jackson, Miss. BSC returns home on Monday, Dec. 17, taking on Rust College at 7 p.m. in Bill Battle Coliseum.