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Panthers cruise past Oglethorpe, 75-59

Ross Welch (photo courtesy of Larry Radloff, d3photography.com)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team won in decisive fashion Friday evening, defeating Oglethorpe 75-59 in Bill Battle Coliseum.

The Panthers move to 15-9 overall and 9-4 in the Southern Athletic Association with their third straight win, moving to second in the league standings; the Stormy Petrels fall to 19-5 overall and also now stand at 9-4 in the SAA.

Junior Larry Thomas continued his impressive junior year performance, recording 18 points and 10 rebounds to pick up his eighth double-double of the season. Sophomore Ross Welch also added 12 points on 4-7 shooting (3-4 from beyond the arc), and senior Griffin Schamp had 11 points on 5-6 shooting. Schamp led with three assists, and Welch had two steals along with freshman Evan Lewis and junior Mason Holle.

The Panthers would never trail in the game, quickly pulling out to a 14-11 lead in the first five minutes of play, and then out-scoring the Petrels 7-0 over the following five minutes to go up 21-11. BSC would lead by as much as 16 before leading 38-24 at the half, and maintained a double-digit lead for the entire second half. The Panthers' largest lead came at the 6:54 mark when a layup and free throw by Welch put BSC up 72-46. BSC led 75-52 with 3:37 left in the game, and the Petrels scored seven unanswered points to cut it to 75-59 before the end of the game.

Jordan Kinney led OU with 13 points, with three other Petrels scoring in double digits. Alex Davis and Will Perry led with six rebounds each, and George Andino led with three steals.

The Panthers pulled down 43 rebounds, the second-highest total of the season, to Oglethorpe's 35 boards, and BSC turned the ball over 12 times while the Petrels committed 18 turnovers.

BSC is at home again on Sunday for the regular season finale, hosting Berry at 3 p.m. in Bill Battle Coliseum. A win will clinch the second seed in next weekend's SAA Championship, which will be hosted by Centre College in Danville, Ky.