BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The 12th-ranked Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team opened the 2012-13 season Friday evening with an 84-75 victory against University of the Ozarks in the Black Tie Classic, hosted by BSC in Bill Battle Coliseum.
Huntingdon and Emory also squared off in game one of the Classic prior to the BSC game, with Emory winning 98-70.
The BSC-Ozarks game was close in the opening minutes, although the Eagles pulled out to a modest lead after five minutes, going up 13-7. Ozarks stretched its lead to 21-14 at the 9:43 mark before BSC used a 12-2 run go take the lead, 24-23, on a layup by sophomore Larry Thomas as the 7:18 mark. The teams played to two ties after that before a three-pointer from Joshua Clark with 1:15 left in the half gave Ozarks a 36-33 lead. The Eagles took the three-point advantage into the halftime break.
The teams played to three ties in the opening minutes of the second half before BSC took back the lead for good on a three-pointer by senior Kevin Kegarise at the 17:06 mark. That trey sparked another 12-2 run, putting the Panthers up 52-42 by the 15:03 mark.
The Eagles came back to cut it to one, 54-53, with 10:57 left to play, but that was the closest they would come from that point forward. BSC used an 11-4 run after that to go up 65-57 with 8:46 left to play, and held onto the lead for the remainder of the game, eventually winning by nine.
Kegarise led BSC with 24 points on 7-13 shooting from the field, going 5-9 from three-point range. Senior Zac Richards recorded 23 points, going 8-12, as well as a game-high nine rebounds. Thomas posted 16 points, and senior Blaise White dished out nine assists. Thomas also led with three steals.
Marcus Bobb led Ozarks with 15 points, and Ronnie Dodd posted 13. Kristopher McCrary led with eight rebounds, and Isaiah Boxell led with five assists.
BSC shot 49.2 percent (30-61) from the field, 36 percent (9-25) from three-point range, and 71.4 percent (15-21) from the free throw line. The Eagles were 43.8 percent (28-64) overall, 26.7 percent (4-15) from beyond the arc, and 93.8 percent (15-16) from the stripe.
Ozarks out-rebounded BSC 37-33 but committed 14 turnovers to the Panthers' 11.
Half of BSC's points - 42 - were in the paint, and the Panthers capitalized on offensive rebounds with 17 second-chance points.
The Panthers are back in action tomorrow in the Black Tie Classic, facing in-state rival Huntingdon at 5 p.m. Emory and Ozarks will play at 3 p.m.