Break-even weekend for Panthers
By Kevin Eckleberry
It was a break-even weekend for the LaGrange College Panthers.
After a hard-earned 84-78 win on Saturday against Emory, LaGrange College’s men’s basketball team finished its stay in the Lee Richter Classic with a 66-63 home loss to Oglethorpe on Sunday.
LaGrange College had the ball at the end in Sunday’s game, but a potential game-tying 3-pointer didn’t find the target, and Oglethorpe got the rebound as time expired.
On Saturday, it was LaGrange College making the plays at the end to dispatch a strong Emory team.
Jamison McCray, who had a team-best 26 points, hit a 3-pointer with 38 seconds remaining to give the Panthers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
McCray was on target throughout the game.
He was 9-of-14 from the field, and he hit four of his seven 3-point attempts on the way to the 26-point night.
With the game on the line, it was McCray who hit the biggest shot of the afternoon.
After Christopher Avant scored with 54 seconds left to give the Eagles a 78-77 lead, the Panthers took possession trailing for the first time in the second half.
Alex Bonner passed the ball to McCray, who knocked down the 3-pointer to give the Panthers a two-point lead.
“Jamison’s 3-pointer was huge, a big, big shot for us,” LaGrange College head coach Kendal Wallace said. “He has struggled a little bit in practice and I talked with him about staying positive and bring his best game. He did that today and it was a huge game for him, very proud of that young man.”
Bonner made four free throws in the closing moments to help the Panthers put the game on ice.
Bonner, who was 9-of-11 from the free-throw line, scored 20 points, and Travis Thompson and Elijah Adedoyin added 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Lincoln Anderson, a freshman from LaGrange Academy, scored eight points on 3-of-5 shooting, and he made a 3-pointer with 15 minutes left that gave the Panthers a 15-point lead.
Emory fought back and took the lead with less than a minute remaining, but the day belonged to LaGrange College.
In Sunday’s game, Oglethorpe went on top 62-55 with 3:16 to play on a 3-pointer by Chris Lawrence.
The Panthers responded with a 5-0 run that was capped by a 3-pointer by Shannon Holt with 1:33 remaining.
Tom Inungu made two free throws with 1:05 remaining to make it a 64-60 game, and that’s the way it remained until Holt made another 3-pointer with 10 seconds left.
Lane Foster connected on two free throws with seven seconds to play to push the lead to three, and LaGrange College got the ball one final time down by three.
Bonner’s 3-point attempt didn’t fall, and Chris Lawrence got the defensive rebound to end it.
Holt, who only played 11 minutes, scored 14 points and was 4-of-6 on 3-point attempts.
Bonner, who was 6-of-12 from the field, led the Panthers with 17 points, and Thompson and Adedoyin added nine and eight points, respectively.
LaGrange College will open its USA South schedule on Thursday with a road game against Covenant.