Men's Basketball: Panthers improve to 5-1 with 88-80 overtime win over Birmingham-Southern

Men's Basketball: Panthers improve to 5-1 with 88-80 overtime win over Birmingham-Southern

Justyn Olson's career night helped LaGrange turn back visiting Birmingham-Southern 88-80 in overtime Wednesday in Mariotti Gym.

Olson poured in a game-high 29 points for the Panthers, now 5-1. Mark Wagner added 16 points, while Drew Vanderbrook had a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds. Alex Bonner and Braxton Ford had 10 points each. 

"Birmingham-Southern played hard tonight. We struggled rebounding and guarding their inside players," said Coach Kendal Wallace. "We didn't share the ball as much as I would've liked but I'm very happy we were victorious."

The Panthers took the lead six minutes into the game and held it until 55 seconds were left in regulation. They led 36-31 at halftime, as BSC's Alex Avery had 17 points and 12 rebounds in the half. Avery would finish with 26 points and 21 rebounds. Wagner, Olson, and Vanderbrook had 27 of the Panthers' points in the half.

Wagner's 3-pointer with 13:02 left put the Panthers up 12, 51-39. The visiting Panthers chipped away at the lead, finally going up 71-70 after a basket by Matty Rudak with 55 seconds remaining.

Two free throws by Wagner and another from Olson put the Panthers up 72-70, but Rudak's jumper with 15 seconds left tied the game at 72 to send the game into overtime.

Olson took over in the extra period, scoring 11 of the Panthers' 16 points. After Olson tied the game at 74, he passed to Ford, who drained a 3-pointer to put the Panthers ahead to stay, 77-74.

The Panthers built the lead to 10, 87-77, after Olson's two free throws with 11 seconds left. Ford's free throw closed out the scoring for the 88-80 final.

"We finished strong in overtime with big shots coming from Braxton and Justyn," Wallace said. "Drew and Duncan Parker both had nice games. Go Panthers!"

The Panthers host Auburn-Montgomery on Saturday with a 4 p.m. tip-off.