DANVILLE, Ky. – The Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team fell to 1-1 in the Southern Athletic Association on Friday night, dropping a close road game at Centre 75-71.
The Panthers started hot, going on an 11-0 run at the beginning of the game. For the rest of the first half, the Colonels chipped away at BSC's lead before going on a run of their own to end the half up 37-33.
In the second half, the Panthers and Colonels battled back and forth. With 12:24 to go in the game, BSC retook the lead 50-49 after a Ben Spence (Memphis, Tenn./Christian Brothers HS) layup. The two teams continued the fight late into the game with no team able to find separation.
Down 73-66 with 12 seconds to go, BSC's Calvin Bak (Muscle Shoals, Ala./Muscle Shoals HS) hit three clutch free throws to cut Centre's lead to four points. Then, after a defensive stop, junior forward Matty Rudak (Augustow, Poland/Millbrook School) scored on a layup to cut the deficit to two points, 73-71.
However, a Panther foul on the other end gave Centre's Art Walker a chance for two free throws. With three seconds left, Walker made both free throws to seal the game for the home team, 75-71.
Bak and senior Harrison Deneka (Memphis, Tenn./Christian Brothers HS) both dropped 18 points in the loss. Deneka had a double-double with 11 rebounds, as well.
With the loss, Birmingham-Southern drops to 4-9 overall. The Panthers will stay on the road to face the Sewanee Tigers on Sunday, Jan. 7. Tipoff for that game is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT.