The Sewanee Tigers get hype for the Black-Tie Classic. Photo courtesy of Lyn Hutchinson.
By J.T. Mitchell
It was a big weekend for the Sewanee men’s basketball team, as the Tigers went undefeated in the annual Birmingham-Southern Black-Tie Classic.
On Friday night, the Tigers overcame a double-digit deficit to defeat the Panthers of LaGrange College, 87-80.
For the first two minutes of play, it seemed like there was a lid on the rim. Neither team could get anything to fall until LaGrange’s Lincoln Anderson hit the first basket of the game with 17:59 on the clock.
Anderson’s jump shot sparked a 13-6 run for the Panthers, making the score 15-6 at the under-12 media timeout.
Post-timeout, Sewanee still could not find a way to slow down the LaGrange offense. The Panthers, hitting shot after shot, were able to take a 47-32 lead into the locker room.
After the half, Sewanee looked like an entirely new team. Kyle Brown went for a layup for LaGrange to begin the half, but then the Tigers went on a massive 18-1 run to tie the game up at 50. Every point during the run was scored by Joey Knox (C’21) and Ryan Starr (C’22).
The Panthers did not falter, though, as they pushed their lead back to 12 points, 68-56, with 9:42 left in regulation.
The deficit remained at 12 with six and a half minutes left when Sewanee went on yet another huge run. Only this time, the 17-4 run gave the Tigers their first lead of the contest—one they would not relinquish.
Starr and Jordan Warlick (C’22) were major contributors to the Tigers’ 87-80 win, nearly scoring half of the team’s points with a combined 42.
The next game, which was played Saturday against the Hawks of Huntingdon College, was another close game for Sewanee as they squeaked by with a 73-71 win.
The Tigers began the game on a 7-1 run, but Huntingdon quickly bounced back, tying the game at 18 halfway through the opening period.
Sewanee responded to the Hawks’ offensive burst with a 10-0 run of their own, with the ten point lead being the largest of the game. However, the Hawks slowly began to chip away, narrowing the deficit to five, 41-36, going into halftime.
Five minutes into the second half, Huntingdon found its first lead, 47-46, in over fifteen minutes of play.
The rest of the game was back-and-forth as the two teams exchanged leads nine times in the final 15 minutes, but no lead change would probe more important than when Knox nailed a three-pointer to give the Tigers a 72-70 lead with 1:10 to play.
The go-ahead dagger from Knox plus a free-throw from Michael Barry would solidify the Tigers’ third straight win over the Hawks, 73-71.
It was also the second straight year in which Sewanee defeated Huntingdon on a go-ahead three-pointer. Last year, Hunter Buescher (C’19) hit a game-winner as time expired versus the Hawks.
Knox led the Tigers with 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting, while Adrian Thomas (C’20) posted 13 points and three assists.
This weekend may not have been picture-perfect for the Tigers. However, the 2018 SAA Champions proved that they are capable of overcoming any in-game challenge.
Next up for Sewanee (3-1, 0-0) will be a Wednesday night contest against sixth-ranked Emory.