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No. 12 Panthers drop hard-fought match against John Carroll in Point Plaza Invitational, 87-83

Kevin Kegarise

NEWPORT NEWS, Va.—Despite shooting nearly 53 percent from the field, the 12th-ranked Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team lost a close battle with John Carroll University, 87-83, Saturday in the opening game of the Point Plaza Invitational, hosted by Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va.

BSC falls to 2-2 with its second straight loss; JNU moves to 2-1.

The teams played to six ties in the first 12 minutes of the first half. After a 26-26 tie at the 8:16 mark, John Carroll made two layups and a three-pointer to pull up 33-26, the largest lead of the game so far by either team. The Panthers clawed back over the last eight minutes to tie things up, 40-40, by halftime.

The second half was close throughout, with the lead changing hands five times in the first four minutes. The teams were neck-and-neck for the entire remainder of the game, with neither team leading by more than four at any point. Down the stretch, BSC led 78-77 with 4:11 remaining, after which a three-pointer by JCU's Danny Wallack put the Blue Streaks up for good. Ryan Angers was 4-4 from the free throw line in the closing seconds to help clinch the victory for John Carroll.

Senior Kevin Kegarise led BSC with 21 points, followed by sophomore Larry Thomas with 19, senior Zac Richards with 12, and junior Colin Henry with 11. Richards led with six rebounds, and Kegarise also led with six assists. All but 18 of the Panthers' points were scored by the starting five.

Kyle Hubbard paced the Blue Streaks with 19 points, and was the only starter in double figures. Wallack and William Starks each recorded 11 points, and Jordan Murphy added 10, all off the bench. Hubbard also led with nine rebounds, and Angers led with five assists.

The Panthers hit 27-51 (.529) from the field and 14-30 (.467) from three-point range, and shot 15-20 (.750) at the free throw line. The Blue Streaks were 31-66 (.470) overall, 12-29 (.414) from beyond the arc, and 13-16 (.812) from the line. JCU won on the boards, pulling down 37 rebounds to BSC's 27, and the Blue Streaks also turned it over less with 10 turnovers to the Panthers' 13.

BSC will play in the consolation game of the Invitational tomorrow, facing the loser of the game between host Christopher Newport and Wesley College at 2 p.m. Eastern.