Men's Basketball: Wagner-led Panthers top Rust 97-84

Men's Basketball: Wagner-led Panthers top Rust 97-84

Sophomore guard Mark Wagner had a career night in leading LaGrange to a 97-84 non-conference win over Rust at Mariotti Gym on Wednesday.

The Panthers improved to 4-3 on the season with just their second win in 13 tries against the Bearcats (4-6).

Wagner set a new career-mark for himself with a game-high 28 points, 22 coming in the second half. He was 11-for-17 from the floor, including 5-of-9 shooting 3s.

Rust held a 60-42 edge in the paint during the game. But the Panthers, led by Wagner, made nine treys in the game, while holding the Bearcats to 2-for-15 shooting from 3-point range.

The Panthers out rebounded the Bearcats 50-43. Senior Patrick Dugger and junior Nick Mitchell each recorded double-doubles.

Dugger had 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds with three blocks. Mitchell had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Senior Denzel Robinson followed Wagner with 20 points. Robinson had 12 of his points in the second half as he and Wagner combined for 34 of the Panthers' 52 points in the half.

The Panthers trailed only twice in the opening minute of the game. Isaiah Core's layup three minutes into the game put the Panthers up 6-4 and they never trailed again.

The Bearcats stayed close and tied the game at 36 with three minutes left in the half. The Panthers scored the final nine points to go up 45-36 at halftime.

Wagner completed a three-point play off a Bearcat turnover with 12 seconds left to give the Panthers the nine-point cushion.

Dugger's two free throws to open the second half pushed the Panthers' lead to 11, 47-36. The Bearcats got within six, 69-63, midway through the half.

Leading 87-80, Wagner and Robinson hit back-to-back 3s to put the game out of reach with 1:24 left. Mitchell's two free throws gave the Panthers their biggest lead, 95-80, twenty seconds later.

The Panthers play at Rhodes on Dec. 14. They will play in the Country Inn & Suites Holiday Classic hosted by Oglethorpe University in Atlanta on Dec. 29-30.

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