BSC wins thriller against Centre, 67-66

Ross Welch (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)
Ross Welch (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Coming from behind in the final two minutes of the game, the Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team picked up an exciting 67-66 win at home against Centre, Friday evening in Bill Battle Coliseum.

The Panthers moved to 10-6 overall with their sixth straight win, and remained unbeaten in Southern Athletic Association action, going to 5-0 and first place in the league standings. The Colonels fell to 10-6 overall and 2-3 in the SAA.

Centre got off to a quick start, pulling out to a 13-2 lead by the 13:26 mark. The Colonels maintained the lead until an eight-point run by the Panthers, including two three-pointers from senior Ross Welch, tied things up 21-21 at the 2:55 mark. The teams exchanged leads several times after that, before two three-pointers by Jarod Griffin put Centre up 29-25 with 1:01 left on the clock. Welch responded in kind, including a long three-pointer at the buzzer to give BSC a 31-29 lead at the half.

The Panthers built on their lead in the second half, using an 8-2 run to expand the lead to 49-39 at the 12:47 mark. The Colonels then used a 10-0 run to tie it up 49-49, but a three-pointer from junior Evan Lewis broke BSC's scoring drought and put the Panthers back in the lead, 52-49, with 7:16 left in the game.

BSC hung on to the lead, going up by five, 61-56, with 3:13 remaining, but two straight three-pointers and two free throws by Tucker Sine put Centre back in front, 64-61, at the 1:57 mark. An Avery free throw cut it to 64-62, and a defensive rebound by Lewis then led to another Welch three-pointer to put BSC back on top, 65-64, with just under a minute left.

Blake Scinta made a basket after that to put the Colonels up by one, but then fouled Avery on the other end of the court. The senior stepped up and hit both free throws, putting the Panthers back up by one with 10 seconds remaining. After a time out by BSC, Sine got the final look but his three-pointer was off the mark, preserving the Panther victory.

Welch led BSC with 18 points, hitting 6-11, all from beyond the arc. Avery added 16 points, shooting 5-10 from the field, and a game-high 10 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the season. Junior Ian Thom also recorded 12 points, and Avery and Lewis led with three assists each.

Sine had a career game, scoring 25 points for the Colonels on 7-10 shooting, including 5-8 from three-point range. Scinta and Blake Gump were also in double digits for Centre with 13 and 15 points, respectively.

The Panthers are back in action this Sunday at home, hosting Sewanee at 3 p.m.