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Panthers hang tough with second-ranked Eagles

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

The Emory Eagles exited Mariotti Gym with their perfect record still intact, but the LaGrange College Panthers made them work for it.

In a game where the two teams combined for nearly 200 points, it was Emory improving to 8-0 with a hard-earned 98-89 victory.

Emory, the nation’s second-ranked NCAA Division III team, outscored LaGrange College 51-44 in the second half after leading 47-45 at the break.

“We learned a lot, we grew up a lot tonight,” said LaGrange College head coach Kendal Wallace. “It’s important for us with our conference schedule coming up. Our next game we’ve got Maryville, so this was a great game for us to grow up a little bit losing to the number two team in the country by nine. I don’t like moral victories, but I want my kids to stay positive.”

The Panthers fell to 1-4, but they’ve been competitive in every game while facing a loaded early season schedule

“I want to play tough teams,” Wallace said. “That’s what we want to do. There’s no reason to play a bunch of teams we know we can beat. We want to play the best teams, so that in February we’re ready to play, and can handle all the things that come at us.”

The game was tied 53-53 early in the second half, but the Eagles went on a 15-4 run to take a 68-57 lead with 12:39 to play.

After falling behind by 13 points, the Panthers made a push and got within six points with 8:54 remaining, but that’s as close as they came the rest of the way.

Julian Cameron, a junior guard, had a monster night for the Panthers with 29 points on 13-of-26 shooting, and he also had seven assists and four rebounds.

Kyle Brown added 15 points while making 7-of-13 shots from the field, and Henry Blair scored 13 points.

Junior Lincoln Anderson, who was 5-of-9 from the field, added 10 points, and he led the Panthers with nine rebounds.

Matthew Schner led Emory with 30 points, and Romin Williams and Lawrence Rowley scored 24 and 20 points, respectively.

LaGrange College visits Maryville on Dec. 14.