BIRMINGHAM, Ala. –The Huntingdon men's basketball team got its first taste of ranked competition on Saturday.
The Hawks came up short in a 90-80 loss to 12th-ranked Birmingham-Southern, but Huntingdon head coach Mike Pugh was encouraged by the performance.
"We played well today," Pugh said. "We had our chances and it just didn't go our way. But we played well and we played hard. I think we learned some things about ourselves. We had some guys step up against tough competition and we did some positive things that we can build on."
Birmingham-Southern (2-0) led the entire game, but the Hawks remained within eight points until the final minutes of the first half. After Huntingdon pulled within two points with 5:14 left in the first half, the Panthers pulled ahead to an 18-point lead with 2:01 left in the half. Huntingdon trailed 49-35 at the half.
In the second half, Huntingdon cut the Panthers' lead to seven points twice in the final 12 minutes. But each time, Birmingham-Southern had an answer. The Panthers built a 16-point lead with 8:45 to play before a Hill 3-pointer, two Thomas free throws and four points from Petty cut Birmingham-Southern's lead to 77-70 with 6:21 left. In the final six minutes, the Panthers extended their lead back to 14 points and closed out the game.
Larry Thomas led Birmingham-Southern with 31 points and Zac Richards had 23 points.
Huntingdon plays its first home game of the season on Tuesday, hosting Mississippi College at 7 p.m.