The Panthers of Purdue North Central came into The Den on Saturday afternoon and took the opener from the Brescia Bearcats in a tightly-contested men's basketball game by the final score of 80-77. PNC came out firing early, leading by as much as 11 points in the first half before Brescia got themselves going and tied the game at 34-34 heading into halftime.
The game was back-and-forth in the second stanza, with Brescia taking a 5-point lead at the 12:00 minute mark only to see the Panthers turn that into a 5-point lead of their own just a couple of minutes later. With the game tied at 71 and less than two minutes remaining, PNC stripped the ball on a Jermain Langley layup attempt and converted a traditional three-point play on the ensuing fast break to take a three-point lead. After a couple of missed free throws and Brescia conversions, the Bearcats had a chance to tie or take the lead as they inbounded the ball underneath their own goal, trailing 79-77 with seven seconds remaining. However, an Austin Morris fadeaway jumper fell short and Brescia was forced to foul again. After PNC went 1-2 from the foul line on the ensuing possession, the Bearcats got the ball back down by three with one second remaining. However, the inbounds pass went astray and PNC held on for the victory.
Junior college transfer Mike Martin led the Panthers with 26 points and 6 steals. For Brescia, Trey Howard scored 19 points and Austin Morris had 18 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 blocked shots. Jermain Langley also found double-figures with 15 points and Dillon Geralds scored 10 points in his first career game.
The Bearcats will return to action at home on Tuesday night at 6:00pm as they welcome the Bulldogs of Boyce College. Tuesday will be Meadow Lands Elementary School night at The Den, with the Little Dribblers performing at halftime and admission being two canned goods per person and the proceeds going to the MLES Family Resource Center.