Men's Basketball: Panthers head to Florida for Daytona Beach Shootout

Men's Basketball: Panthers head to Florida for Daytona Beach Shootout

The LaGrange basketball team travels to Daytona Beach, Fla. for the Daytona Beach Shootout on Sunday and Monday, Dec. 20-21. The Panthers will play Lynchburg on Sunday at 6 p.m. and Eastern Connecticut on Monday at 4 p.m.

The Panthers enter the tournament with a 7-1 record and riding a six-game winning streak. In their last outing, the Panthers downed Methodist 97-79 in their USA South opener.

Seniors Mark Wagner and Braxton Ford combined for 50 points in the win. Wagner had a game-high 27 points, 19 coming in the second half as the Panthers outscored the visiting Monarchs 58-35. Ford was near perfect, hitting 8-of-10 from the floor and all five of his free throws in finishing with 23.

Wagner leads the team and is second in the USA South in scoring, averaging 19.4 points per game. He also has a team-high 16 steals, which is third in the conference.

Junior Justyn Olson is second on the team in scoring, averaging 13.5 points per game. Ford (12.3 ppg) and sophomore Alex Bonner (11.3) follow Olson.

The quartet of Wagner, Olson, Ford, and Bonner have accounted for 91 of the team's 130 assists. Ford leads the team with 25, while the remaining three have over 20 each. The Panthers are third in the conference, averaging 16.3 assists per game. 

The Panthers lead the conference in scoring, averaging 91.9 points per game. Through games of Dec. 13, the Panthers rank 17th in scoring in the NCAA Division III statistics. They are second in the conference in rebounding, averaging 42.8 rebounds per game, and third in steals with 10.1 per game.

Lynchburg is 6-3 this season and coming off a 77-60 win at Averett, the preseason favorite to win the USA South. The Hornets are led by senior forward Alex Graves, who was a Old Dominion Athletic Conference second team selection last season. Graves leads the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 17.3 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.

Eastern Connecticut is 7-3 entering its game against Berry on Sunday. The Warriors were ranked 14th in the D3hoops.com preseason Top 25. They have six straight 20+ win seasons, including last year's 22-6 mark. The Warriors have been to the NCAA Division III tournament three of the past four seasons.

Sophomore guard Tarchee Brown is averaging 19.0 points per game to lead the Warriors. In an earlier game against Ramapo this season, Brown was an incredible 15-for-15 from the floor that included 10 3-pointers, as he finished with 44 points. As a freshman, he was a first team Little East All-Conference selection. 

Lynchburg Info: 
Location: Lynchburg, Va.
Colors: Crimson, Gray
Enrollment: 1,839
Head Coach: Hilliary Scott
Record at LC/Yrs: 101-90 (8th year)
Career Record/Yrs: 101-90 (8th year) 
2014-15 Record: 17-10

The Series:
Overall: Tied 1-1
at Mariotti: LaGrange leads 1-0
at Lynchburg: 0-0
at Neutral Site: Lynchburg leads 1-0
First Game Played: 1999 (Lynchburg 87-75)
Last Game Played: 2005 (LC 80-79)

Eastern Connecticut Info: 
Location: Willimantic, Conn.
Colors: Light Navy, Burgundy
Enrollment: 5,261
Head Coach: Bill Geitner
Record at EC/Yrs: 217-152 (14th year)
Career Record/Yrs: 217-152 (14th year) 
2014-15 Record: 22-6

The Series:
First meeting