Westwego, La. – Mitch Renshaw (Rutland, Mass.) missed a top of the key jumper and Marcus Armstrong (Malden, Mass.) had his follow-up fade away attempt rim out and Clark University missed out on a huge upset – falling 58-57 to No. 22 Birmingham Southern in their final game of the Big Easy Classic on Friday evening.
The Cougars now stand at 7-5, while the Panthers improve to 10-1 overall and have now won three straight following their only loss of the season.
Clark got high-flying Birmingham Southern – a team that has topped 90 points on five occasions so far this season - to play at their pace, holding them to a season low in points, but the Panthers shot 48 percent from the floor and held a 32-20 edge on points in the paint.
Most of the inside points for Birmingham Southern came from 6-foot-6 Zac Richards, who finished with a game-high 17 points on 8-for-12 shooting.
The game was close throughout, with neither team holding a lead greater than seven points and featured nine ties and ten lead changes.
Clark's last lead came with a little less than nine minutes left when Armstrong dropped in a three-pointer making the score 51-49.
Richards responded a few minutes later, giving the Panthers the lead for good on a conventional three-point play.
The lead grew to as many as five down the stretch but an offensive rebound and putback by Renshaw and then a steal and finish from Drew Billington (Fairfield, Conn.) cut the lead to one with less than a minute to play.
Clark looked to have forced a shot clock violation with 18 seconds left, but the officials call was overturned. Two seconds later the Cougars got possession anyway following a jump ball tie-up setting up the final opportunities for Clark.
Travis Curley (Trumbull, Conn.) led the Cougar offense with 13 points and six rebounds, while Renshaw just missed out on a double-double with ten points and nine rebounds.
Clark will return to action on Wednesday when they open up NEWMAC play with a visit to Babson. Tipoff is slated for 7:00 p.m.