BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Feb. 28, 2016) –
A 19-point first-half deficit proved to be too much to overcome Sunday, as the Sewanee men's basketball team lost to host Birmingham-Southern, 68-50, in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) Championship game inside Bill Battle Coliseum.
The Tigers end one of the winningest seasons in school history with a 20-8 overall record. That record was the best since Sewanee finished 20-6 in 1997-98. The Tigers also made their first championship game appearance since 2005 while sweeping rival Rhodes for the first time since 2008-09. That Tigers also posted a 3-0 record against Centre, which was the first time Sewanee swept the Colonels since the 1997-98 campaign.
With Sewanee ahead 5-3 after a Clay Born three with 16:55 left in the first half, BSC answered back with a 12-1 run. Leading by six, 15-9, the Panthers built their lead to as much as 19 when they closed the first half on a 19-6 spurt.
Needing to rally in the second half, Sewanee played better. The Tigers pulled to within 12, 49-37, after Hunter Buescher hit a jumper. After a Harrison Deneka free throw, Seth Brown pulled Sewanee to within 11, 50-39, with a layup at the 7:47 mark.
After both teams traded threes, Sewanee pulled to within single digits after Brown hit another three with 4:06 to play.
However, down the stretch, BSC went to SAA Player of the Year Alex Avery. The BSC senior hit a key traditional three-point play on the next possession. That helped the Panthers score 11 of the final 14 points.
Overall, Sewanee made 35.3 percent of its attempts. The Tigers also committed an uncharacteristic 14 turnovers, which led to 13 BSC points.
Welch led three BSC players in double figures with 15 points, all on three-point attempts.
Notes: Both Cody Jones and Carter were named to the All-SAA All-Tournament Team.