Thomas' career-high 33 points propel BSC past Millsaps, 82-76

Larry Thomas (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Junior Larry Thomas scored a career-high 33 points Sunday evening to help the Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team to a 82-76 conference victory against Millsaps in Bill Battle Coliseum.

The Panthers move to 4-1 overall, while the Majors fall to 1-4.

Millsaps scored the first bucket of the game and led by as much as seven, 17-10, at the 10:03 mark of the first half before BSC got rolling offensively. The Panthers used a 20-5 run (11 of those points from Thomas) over the next seven minutes to go up 30-22 by the 3:34 mark, although the Majors responded with a 6-1 run of their own to cut it to 31-28 by the end of the half.

BSC opened the second half with seven straight points to go up by 10, and pulled ahead by as much as 12, 48-36, at the 15:06 mark. The Majors used an 11-2 run after that to cut the lead back to three, 50-47, with 11:26 left in the game, and then cut it to one, 53-52, at the 10:25 mark, but would never overtake the Panthers. BSC used a 7-2 run to go back up by 10, and then led by 14—the largest lead of the game—three times down the stretch. Millsaps made a run at the end, putting together a 9-0 run to cut it to five, and then cutting it to three, 79-76, with 50 seconds remaining. The Majors were forced to send BSC to the free throw line, though, where the Panthers were 3-4 over the last 46 seconds for a final score of 82-76.

Thomas led all players with his 33 points, hitting 11-15 from the field including 5-6 from the three-point line and 6-6 on free throws. He also had a double-double with a game-high 12 rebounds. Three other Panthers were in double digits in scoring, led by sophomore Ross Welch with 16 points, followed by senior Jason Holland with 13 points and a game-high six assists, and senior Schylar Freeman with 10 points.

Murray Kastner and Ryan Berger led the Majors with 15 points apiece, and Berger and Ronnie Frebis led with six rebounds each. Marc Robertson and Tully Gilligan led with four assists each.

BSC hit 27-48 (56.3 percent) from the field including 10-19 (52.6 percent) from three-point range, and was 18-25 (72 percent) at the free throw line. Millsaps shot 29-53 (54.7 percent) overall and 9-15 (60 percent) from beyond the arch, and was 9-14 (64.3 percent) from the charity stripe.

The Panthers held the rebounding advantage 29-23 but committed 19 turnovers, two more than the Majors.

BSC is on the road for its next game, traveling to Lookout Mountain, Ga., to face Covenant Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. Eastern. The Panthers will return home Dec. 16 to host in-state rival Huntingdon in a doubleheader with the women. The women's game will tip off at 5 p.m., with the men immediately following at 7 p.m.