ASHLAND, Va.—Despite a career-high 18 points from sophomore Ross Welch, the Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team lost to Randolph-Macon College, 67-57, at Crenshaw Gymnasium in the first round of the Coaches Classic sponsored by Kay Jewelers.
The Yellow Jackets move to 5-4 while the Panthers fall to 6-2.
Welch led all players with his 18 points on 7-11 shooting from the field, including a 4-5 performance from beyond the arc. Junior Larry Thomas was also in double digits with 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds, as well as five assists and three steals.
The Panthers jumped out to a 17-10 lead just over six minutes into the contest and pushed the advantage to eight at 22-14 with 11 minutes left in the first half. R-MC then used a 16-5 run to take a 30-27 lead with 2:20 to go in the period and led 32-29 at the half.
Randolph-Macon never surrendered the lead in the second half. BSC got as close as two at 38-36 before a 17-7 spurt by the Yellow Jackets made it 55-43 with just under 10 minutes remaining. The lead did not get below six the rest of the way before R-MC posted the 67-57 victory.
Akeem Holmes led the Yellow Jackets with 15 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, while Marcus Badger added 13 points and led with three assists.
R-MC out-rebounded the Panthers 43-38, and BSC struggled offensively as well, shooting a season-low 37.1 percent (23-62) from the field. Thomas, the team's leading scorer on the season, went 5-21 from the field and 2-9 from three-point range. The team as a whole shot 40 percent (8-20) on three-pointers and 37.5 percent (3-8) at the free throw line. The Yellow Jackets shot 41 percent (25-61) overall, 13.3 percent (2-15) from beyond the arc, and 71.4 percent (15-21) from the line.
The Panthers also turned the ball over 14 times, three more than R-MC with 11.
BSC is in action again tomorrow in round two of the Coaches Classic, facing Guilford College at 1 p.m. Eastern.