BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team survived an epic thriller at Bill Battle Coliseum on Sunday afternoon, taking down the Rhodes College Lynx 109-106.
The Panthers were led by junior forward Matty Rudak (Augustow, Poland/Millbrook School), who dropped 22 points and added a block in the final seconds that sealed the win for BSC.
In a game that saw nine ties and 15 lead changes, BSC and Rhodes battled neck-and-neck for the entire first half and into the second half. Midway through the second half, the Panthers put together a 14-5 run starting with a three-point jumper by Calvin Bak (Muscle Shoals, Ala./Muscle Shoals HS) and ending with a lay-up by Jibri Loving (Harlem, N.Y./Albright College). The run gave BSC a 12-point, 78-66 lead with just over 11 minutes to play.
BSC's 12-point lead would not be enough to silence the Rhodes offense, however, as the Lynx went on a run of their own to tie and then regain the lead, 90-89, with 3:50 remaining. From that point forward, the remainder of the game would be a story of small, quick scoring runs by each team.
The Lynx went on a small run to gain a four-point advantage before the Panthers countered with another run to take a 101-95 lead after a Matt Gonda (Roswell, Ga./Roswell HS) three-pointer with 1:26 to play.
The two sides continued the intense fight back-and-forth with BSC maintaining a slight edge until the very end. With nine seconds to go, BSC guard Zach Allison (Pelham, Ala./Wallace State Community College), who led the team in assists and steals, made two crucial free throws to give the home team the 109-106 lead. But Rhodes would have one last chance to tie it up. With just a few ticks left on the clock, Rhodes senior guard Dalton Price hurled up a three-pointer, but it was blocked by Rudak. Rhodes picked up the rejection but the shot at the buzzer was wayward and off target, ending any chance at overtime and giving BSC the big conference win.
With the victory, Birmingham-Southern improves to 6-10 overall and 3-2 in the Southern Athletic Association.
Birmingham-Southern's next contest will be at home against SAA foe Berry College on Friday, Jan. 19. That game is scheduled to tip-off at approximately 8 p.m.