Men's Basketball: Panthers bounce back to knock off Averett 94-87 for key USA South win

Men's Basketball: Panthers bounce back to knock off Averett 94-87 for key USA South win

DANVILLE, Va. - One day after a disappointing loss to Ferrum, LaGrange bounced back with a 94-87 win over Averett in a key USA South matchup.

The game matched last season's conference regular season champion and the tournament champion. The victory was the first for the Panthers over Averett since joining the USA South three seasons ago. The win left the Panthers (14-5, 5-3 USA South) and the Cougars (14-5, 5-3 USA South) tied for second in the conference standings.

Senior guard Braxton Ford led all scorers with 22 points. Ford was 7-of-11 shooting, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range.

Alex Bonner had 17 points off the bench, followed by Justyn Olson with 15. Mark Wagner and Mike White had 12 points each.

The Panthers had a 56-45 lead four minutes into the second half after White's basket. Averett answered with a 12-0 run to go up 57-56.

The Cougars' lead was short-lived. Bonner hit a jumper, then Wagner made a steal and fed Elijah Adedoyin at the other end for a layup and a 60-57 lead.

Leading 72-70, the Panthers ran off nine straight points to go up by 11 with 4:18 left. The Panthers scored their final 10 points from the free throw line to seal the win.

The Panthers shot 60.7 percent in the first half and led 48-37 at the break. Ford and Bonner combined for 23 of the 48 points.

The Panthers finished the game with a season-high 54.7 shooting percentage. They were 8-of-16 from 3-point range. 

The Panthers host N.C. Wesleyan and William Peace in USA South games next weekend. N.C. Wesleyan is tied with Covenant and Greensboro for first in the conference standings, one game ahead of the Panthers.