Men's Basketball: Panthers advance in USA South tournament; down N.C. Wesleyan 88-76

MARYVILLE, Tenn. - LaGrange charged into the semifinals of the USA South Tournament with an 88-76 win over N.C. Wesleyan on Thursday on the campus of Maryville College.

The Panthers (16-10) beat the Bishops (13-13) for the second time this season. The Panthers will face Greensboro on Friday at 7 p.m.

All five of the Panther starters scored in double figures, accounting for 76 of the 88 points. Dustin Baxter and Denzel Robinson led the team with 17 points each.

Mark Wagner had 16 points, while Patrick Dugger added 15 and Nick Mitchell 13.

The Panthers led for all but a span of 2:36 in the second half. They led by as many as 11 in the first half before the Bishops cut it to three, 46-43, by halftime.

The Bishops tied the game at 46 on their first possession of the second half. They had their only lead after a layup by Shannon Huff put them up 60-59 with 13:26 remaining.

Robinson's layup broke a 61-61 tie at the 9:26 mark. The Panthers never trailed again.They pulled away in the final two minutes.

The Panthers were 10-of-12 at the free throw line during the stretch. Robinson's shot with 1:45 left was the only Panther basket during the closing minutes.

The Bishops had a 48-41 edge in rebounding. But the Panthers forced 20 turnovers, aided by 14 steals, while only commiting eight.