BSC downs Rhodes in 85-80 overtime thriller

Larry Thomas (photo courtesy of Larry Radloff,
Larry Thomas (photo courtesy of Larry Radloff,

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—After hitting the game-tying three-pointer with 32 seconds left in regulation, junior Larry Thomas led the Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team with 25 points in an 85-80 overtime win against Rhodes College, Sunday afternoon in Bill Battle Coliseum.

The Panthers move to 10-6 overall and 4-2 in the Southern Athletic Association; Rhodes falls to 11-6 overall and 4-2 in the SAA. It was the first home overtime game for BSC since Jan. 16, 2011, when the Panthers defeated Colorado College 93-80 in Bill Battle Coliseum.

BSC never trailed until late in the first half, when a three-pointer by Patrick McGrall would put Rhodes up by one, 39-38, before halftime. The Lynx held a small lead for much of the second half, going up by as much as seven, 55-48, with 12 minutes left, but BSC clawed back to tie it up 57-57 with 6:12 remaining. The remainder of regulation was back-and-forth between the teams, with neither leading by more than three.

After the score was tied 70-70 with 1:06 left, McGrall hit another big three with 41 seconds on the clock to put Rhodes up 73-70. The Panthers came back down the court and Thomas caught a pass from senior Jason Holland and took a three-pointer under pressure, nailing the shot—his fourth three of the game—to tie it up again 73-73 with 32 ticks remaining. BSC immediately called a timeout, and Rhodes took a three-point shot as time wound down, but it was no good, sending the game to overtime.

The Panthers opened overtime play with a Thomas layup before two free throws from Luke Collins tied it back up, 75-75. BSC was able to extend its lead to four, 79-75, after that, and stayed just ahead of the Lynx until they cut it to one, 81-80, with 1:45 remaining. Holland stepped to the free throw line after that, making one of two to put BSC up 82-80, and Rhodes turned the ball over on its next possession. After a BSC time out, sophomore Ross Welch put the Panthers up by four, 84-80, with a layup with 11 seconds left, and the Lynx turned the ball over again on their next chance. Rhodes fouled Thomas, and he made one of his free throws to put the Panthers up 85-80 with four seconds left in overtime. The Lynx got one shot off before the buzzer, an off-balance three-pointer, but it was no good and BSC came away with the victory.

Thomas led all players with his 25 points, going 7-16 from the field and 4-8 from beyond the arc, and also led BSC on the boards with seven rebounds. Schamp also had 16 points and Freeman had 11 points and three blocks. Holland dished out seven assists.

Six Lynx scored in double figures, led by Drew Miller with 15, and Geoff Livsey led with 10 boards. Johnny Dunavant led with five assists.

BSC out-rebounded Rhodes 36-24, and turnovers were even at 11 for each team.

The Panthers are at home again this Wednesday, Jan. 29, hosting non-conference rival Maryville College at 7 p.m. in Bill Battle Coliseum.