Berea, KY-The men's basketball team, ranked #7 in the second week of the USCAA Division I Men's Basketball Coaches Poll, returned to the Seabury Center this evening. The team welcomed the Birmingham Southern College Panthers to the Roland Wierwille Court looking to extend their four game winning streak.
In a tightly contested game, evident by the fact the game had twelve lead changes and twelve ties, Corey Wise's jump shot followed by a Dyonta Bizzle-Brown three-point shot gave the Mountaineers a 5-2 lead. A 10-3 run by the Panthers pushed them into the lead at the 15:41 mark, 12-8. Birmingham Southern took their largest lead of the game of six on a pair of free throws, 16-10, before eight of the next ten points by Berea, all scored by Richard Parker, followed by Bizzle-Brown's dunk off an assist from a slashing Anthony Myrks-Brewer, making the fans in attendance jump out of their seats, gave the Mountaineers their second lead of the game, 20-18. As the teams exchanged the lead back and forth, Gabe Hinton's layup tied the game for the eighth time, 30-30, before Terique Miller's jump shot forced the seventh lead change of the game, giving Berea a 36-35 lead. Miller's three-point shot put Berea ahead 39-38 as the teams went to the lockerrooms for halftime.
After another lead change for the Panthers, Myrks-Brewer got into the lane on a fastbreak to put the Mountaineers back ahead 41-40, a lead they held for a majority of the second half. The game saw Birmingham Southern pull within one or two points of the lead multiple times, but Berea never paniced or backed down, responding with shots to increase their advantage. As the score progressed to 46-45 in favor of Berea, a 6-2 scoring rally with three points each from Wise and Miller gave the Mountaineers a 52-47 cushion. The opponent brought it back to within two points, 52-50, before a Hinton tip-in off a Wise missed jumper pushed the lead back out to four, 54-50. Birmingham Southern threatened to take the lead, tying the game at 56 a piece, before a Parker jump shot and Bizzle-Brown three-point play put Berea ahead by five, 61-56.
The largest lead of the game for the Mountaineers came at the 4:32 mark when Bizzle-Brown's three-point shot gave the team a six point advantage, 70-64. Jair Jackson's tip-in dunk with 3:38 remaining in the game put Berea back ahead by six points, 73-67. With 44 seconds remaining in the game, the Panthers took back the lead 76-75. Trailing by three points, 78-75, Mryks-Brewer was fouled as drove into the lane for a layup and was sent to the line where he hit both his free throws to pull within one of the lead. After a foul to stop the clock by the Mountaineers, the free throw shooter for the Panthers split a pair of free throws to make the score 79-77 with 21 seconds left.
On the following play after the foul, Myrks-Brewer was fouled as he was passing the ball to Wise on the wing, promptly sending him to the free throw line where he made two free throws to tie the game 79-79. As the crowd anticipated what was going to happen next, the Mountaineers needed a defensive stop to have an attempt at a game-winning shot or to send the game to overtime and Jackson provided them the opportunity they needed. With 3.4 seconds left, Jackson stole the inbound lob attempt by Birmingham Southern and threw it to Wise as he was running down the sideline and shot a halfcourt shot as the buzzer expired which went through the net causing the crowd to erupt with cheers and giving Berea a 82-79 win, their fifth straight.
Wise netted 20 points for the game to go along with Parker's 19, Bizzle-Brown's 14 and Myrks-Brewer's 13. Jackson led the rebounding effort for the Mountaineers with seven, while Myrks-Brewer finished with six assists and Parker was the team leader in steals with three.
Berea (7-3) returns to the Roland Wierwille Court on Monday, December 19th when they welcome Centre College to the Seabury Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 PM.