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Colonels grind out first SAA victory, defeat BSC 75-71

Colonels grind out first SAA victory, defeat BSC 75-71

DANVILLE, Ky. – Centre men's basketball won a grueling 75-71 decision against Birmingham Southern Friday night in Alumni Gymnasium, earning their first Southern Athletic Association (SAA) victory of the season.

Sophomore Art Walker (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) led the team in scoring for the third time in the last four games, netting 17 points as the Colonels improved to 6-6 overall and 1-1 in-conference. The visiting Panthers dropped to 4-9 (1-1 SAA) with the defeat.

Friday's affair started about as rough as the Colonels could have anticipated, however, as they saw themselves down 11-0 after nearly five minutes of action.

Centre eventually settled in, and over the next 10 minutes of game action began clawing away at the deficit.

The Colonels' perseverance paid off, as a bucket from freshman KC Purvis (Louisville, Ky.) sandwiched by 3-pointers from sophomore Bailey Rakes (Mt. Washington, Ky.) saw them take their first lead of the night, 20-18, near the seven-minute mark.

Despite beginning in an 11-point hole, the home side took a 37-33 lead into the halftime break.

The final 20 minutes proved to be a physical back-and-forth between the two conference foes, as Centre and BSC had little separation and seemed to trade basket after basket.

Leading 54-53 midway through the period, Centre reeled off what appeared to be a game-clinching 11-2 run to take its biggest lead, 65-55, with less than four minutes to play.

Still, the Panthers continued to battle, and gave the Colonels a scare by pulling within 73-71 with just six seconds remaining.

Forced to foul to extend the game, BSC put Walker on the line and the sophomore coolly sank a pair of freebies to ice the victory.

Walker's 17 points came on a 6 for 16 shooting effort, and pushed his team-best scoring average to 13.7 for the season.

Sophomore Jacob Bates (LaGrange, Ky.) turned in another stellar effort off the bench, recording a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double while adding two steals, two assists and two blocks.

Junior Tucker Sine (Bowling Green, Ky.) paced the Centre starters with 11 points, adding four rebounds.

Purvis played a crucial role for the Colonels, grabbing eight boards – three offensive – while chipping in four points, team-high three blocks and an assist while primarily guarding BSC's leading scorer, Harrison Deneka.

For the second game in a row the Colonels committed a season-low five turnovers, and recorded a 47-21 advantage in bench points.

The Colonels are back in action Sunday, hosting Millsaps in Alumni Gym at 3 p.m. ET.