February 28, 2014

Men's Basketball: Panthers race past Greensboro 116-102 to reach USA South title game

MARYVILLE, Tenn. - Behind a career night from Nick Mitchell, LaGrange raced past Greensboro 116-102 on Friday in the semifinals of the USA South Tournament on the campus of Maryville College.

The win propels the Panthers (17-10) into the championship game Saturday at 2 p.m. against Huntingdon, who defeated Ferrum in the other semifinal game. The Panthers lost both regular season meetings with the Hawks.

Mitchell had a career double-double to lead the Panthers. The junior poured in a game-high 36 points and pulled down 13 rebounds. He was 9-of-11 shooting and 18-of-22 at the free throw line.

Patrick Dugger backed Mitchell with a double-double of his own, scoring 24 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Mark Wagner added 23 points, making 6-of-12 from 3-point range.

Greensboro (12-15) jumped out to a 21-9 lead in the first eight minutes of the game. Denzel Robinson's layup started a 17-4 five-minute run by the Panthers to retake the lead.

The Pride took the lead back, but Dugger's two free throws put the Panthers up for good, 30-29. Dustin Baxter sank a 3-pointer to put the Panthers up 45-34 and they took a 45-37 lead at halftime.

The Panthers kept the Pride at bay in the second half, never giving up the lead. A trey from Wagner and a free throw by Mitchell pushed the lead to double-digits again, 77-66, with 11:55 remaining.

Seven minutes later, Mitchell sank two more free throws to put the Panthers at the century mark, 100-87.

The Panthers built their largest lead in the closing minutes. Layups from Mitchell and Dugger put the Panthers up 116-98.

The Panthers had their second best shooting game of the season, finishing at 58.3 percent from the floor. They had their best free throw shooting game, hitting 39-of-49 for a 79.6 percentage.

The Panthers, who lead the USA South in scoring, scored over 100 points for the third time this season.