Panthers claim USA crown

Last updated: March 03. 2014 12:28AM - 705 Views
By Kevin Eckleberry keckleberry@civitasmedia.com



The LaGrange College Panthers celebrate after beating Huntingdon to win the USA South championship.LaGrange College photo
The LaGrange College Panthers celebrate after beating Huntingdon to win the USA South championship.LaGrange College photo
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They’re the champs.


The LaGrange College Panthers completed a perfect stay in the USA South tournament with a 94-84 victory over Huntingdon on Saturday in the championship game at Maryville College (Tenn.).


The win not only secures the USA South title for the Panthers, but it also gives them a spot in the NCAA Division III national tournament.


The Panthers were down by 10 points at the half, and they trailed by as many as 14 points in the second half before storming back.


After the game, LaGrange College head coach Kendal Wallace said it was “a great day to be a Panther.”


“We stayed positive and played together,” Wallace added. “After getting down by 10 points or so we regrouped and were able to get a few stops in a row and then converted on the offensive end.”


Nick Mitchell, who was named the tournament MVP, led the Panthers with 21 points.


Denzel Robinson added 19 points, and Patrick Dugger had 17 points and seven rebounds.


Mark Wagner, who played all 40 minutes, scored 14 points, and Donta Daniel had nine points off the bench.


“Hats off to Nick Mitchell and Patrick Dugger for being selected to the all-tournament team,” Wallace said. “Denzel Robinson had an amazing stat line and Jerod Howard had huge minutes and capped a run with a big 3-pointer. We are excited about the NCAA tournament and having the opportunity to represent Lagrange College.”


Huntingdon was ahead 52-42 at the half, and it extended that lead to 62-48 four minutes into the second half.


A 12-0 run gave the Panthers a 62-60 lead.


It remained close for the next few minutes, and the game was tied 68-68 with 7:49 remaining.


Dustin Baxter drained a 3-pointer to give the Panthers a 71-68 lead, and they didn’t look back.


The Panthers went on to lead by as many as 15 points with less than two minutes remaining.

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