Michael Barry (C’20) goes up against Berry. Photo by Matt Hembree (C’20).
By Harry Davis
The Sewanee Men’s Basketball team lost to the Berry College Vikings 69-63 on Friday, February 7, to start their three-game homestand to finish the season.
In the past three games the Tigers had two wins and one loss. Sewanee defeated Millsaps 62-59 in a close game before they lost in another tight one to Hendrix 70-68. Their next close match was a win against Rhodes, 61-59. In all three games, the Tigers started with a great first half and outscored the opponent, but then allowed the opponent back into the game to make a tight second half. Sewanee entered the game with 17 wins and five losses, ranked fourth in the Southern Athletic Association, when they took on the Berry College Vikings who entered with a 16-5 record at number two in the conference.
Berry opened up the game with a quick seven points to Sewanee’s two during the first five minutes of the game. The Tigers regained the lead after a layup turned three-point play by Hunter Buescher (C’19) to put Sewanee ahead 12-11 with just under 10 minutes to play in the half. Both teams exchanged baskets until the score was at 18-18, the Vikings went on an 11 to four run before the Tigers scored twice late, highlighted by a Luke Smith (C’21) three-pointer with nine seconds left in the half, to make the halftime score 29-27 Berry.
Berry came out firing in the second half with four made shots and a free throw to expand their lead to 12 just under three minutes into the half. The Tigers tried to climb back into the game and each time the Vikings answered with their own plays. With under four minutes to play in the game, Buescher made two free throws for the Tigers to decrease the Vikings lead to eight points at 54-46. Berry again responded with four quick points, but now it was Sewanee’s turn for a run.
Smith started the run with a made layup, before Cam Caldwell (C’19) made a three-pointer, and Smith made two more free throws to diminish the Berry lead to five points. As the game wound down the Tigers were forced to foul the Vikings to save any time on the clock, Buescher made one more three-pointer, but Berry made 11 out of 12 free throws late to ice the game and make the final score 69-63 for Berry.
Smith finished the game with a team-high 20 points and three assists, closely followed by Caldwell with 19. Sewanee dominated Berry with 32 points in the paint to the Vikings’ 22. Although a disappointing victory, the Tigers had a very competitive game. Despite the early run by Berry in the second half, Sewanee stayed in the game and the lead only expanded late when the Tigers were forced to foul.
The Tigers will play on Sunday, February 10, against Oglethorpe University before they finish the season at home for Senior Day on Saturday, February 16 against Centre College.