Panthers upset No. 22 Centre, 53-50

Larry Thomas (photo by Cari Dean)
Larry Thomas (photo by Cari Dean)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team notched a thrilling 53-50 upset win against Centre College, Friday evening in Bill Battle Coliseum.

The Panthers move to 13-9 overall and 7-4 in the Southern Athletic Association. The Colonels drop to 17-4 overall, snapping an 11-game win streak, and tonight marked their first conference loss as they fall to 10-1 in the SAA.

The game stayed close for the first 10 minutes, and the teams were tied 8-8 at the 10:41 mark, after which junior Larry Thomas hit a jumper to put BSC up for good. The first half was uncharacteristically low scoring for both teams, with the Panthers leading 21-17 at halftime.

Although BSC maintained the lead for the remainder of the game, and led by as much as 11, Centre fought back to cut it to two, 43-41, with 6:01 left in the game. After BSC pulled back ahead, the Colonels were able to cut the lead to three, 50-47, with 42 seconds remaining. With 15 seconds left, senior Colin Henry stepped to the free throw line for BSC and hit two clutch shots, putting the Panthers up by five. Senior Griffin Schamp also made a free throw with three seconds on the clock before Josh Karsner collected the defensive rebound off Schamp's missed second free throw attempt and sank a hail-mary half-court shot at the buzzer to cut the final score from 53-47 to 53-50.

Junior Larry Thomas led the Panthers with 18 points on 7-12 shooting and 10 rebounds. Donovan Whiteside and Karsner led Centre with 12 points each, and Tyler Wesley led on the boards with nine rebounds.

BSC held the advantage in rebounding, 38-34, but also committed two more turnovers than the Colonels with 12.

The Panthers are at home again on Sunday against Sewanee, tipping off at 3 p.m. following the women's game at 1 p.m.