BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Birmingham-Southern men's basketball team came back from a big deficit in Sunday's home Southern Athletic Association game against Berry College to knock off the Vikings 83-79.
It was a tale of two halves as the Panthers were outplayed in the first half where they trailed by as much as 19 points but roared back in the second half to complete a spectacular comeback, giving BSC its first conference win of the season.
The visitors from Berry (9-4, 2-1 SAA) put up 52 points in the first half to take a 16-point lead over the Panthers heading into halftime. In the second half, however, BSC put Berry's offense on ice. The Panthers held the Vikings to 27 points in the last 20 minutes, nearly cutting their offensive production in half.
A hot start and 12-0 run coming out of the break helped bring the Panthers within striking distance while they slowly whittled down the Berry lead.
With 3:27 to go, sophomore forward Christian Stewart (Irondale, Ala./Shades Valley HS) hit a layup to bring the Panthers within one point. Then, with 2:43 to play, Berry's Ethan Haslam fouled Stewart, sending him to the free throw line where he sank both shots and gave BSC its first lead of the game, 75-74.
Senior forward Aidan Waldrum (Nashville, Tenn./Hendersonville HS) sealed the game, hitting two free throws with a second left to give BSC its final four-point lead.
By securing the spectacular comeback win, the Panthers improve to 7-6 overall and 1-2 in the SAA.
BSC was led by senior point guard Zachary Allison (Pelham, Ala./Wallace State CC), who finished with 19 points, seven assists and a steal. Eleven of Allison's points came in BSC's big second half.
Stewart and junior guard Cole DenBesten (Orlando, Fla./Berry College) hit double-digit buckets as well, with Stewart scoring 12 points and DenBesten coming off the bench to score 14 points.
Sophomore Ben Spence (Memphis, Tenn./Christian Brothers HS) led the Panthers with 11 rebounds.
Birmingham-Southern hits the road for its next two games, traveling to conference opponents Rhodes and Hendrix before coming back to Birmingham to play Sewanee on Friday, Jan. 18.