MARYVILLE, Tenn. – The LaGrange men's basketball team turned the corner in dramatic fashion on Saturday as the Panthers beat Maryville 85-83 in a USA South game.
Junior Dustin Baxter, who transferred to LaGrange from Maryville this season, beat his former team with the game-winner at the buzzer. Baxter's shot capped a rally in the final two minutes for the Panthers, (8-8, 2-6 USA South), who swept the Scots (7-11, 3-7 USA South) in the regular season for the first time ever.
Second-year head coach Kendal Wallace and assistant coach David McGreal, both Maryville alumni, got their third win in five tries against their alma mater. The Panthers have won four of the last six from the Scots, who won the first 29 games of the series.
Junior Patrick Dugger paced the Panthers with a game and season-high 23 points. Dugger was 10-for-15 from the floor and 3-of-3 at the line.
Kyron Anderson scored 20 points in his first game back after missing the last nine. Anderson started the winning rally for the Panthers.
Trailing 82-75, Anderson completed a three-point play with 1:36 left to make it 82-78. He followed with a steal at the defensive end and fed the ball to Marcus Vaughn for a layup to get the Panthers within two, 82-80.
Oscar Butler made 1-of-2 free throws to give the Scots a three-point lead, 83-80, with 59 seconds left. Anderson, who was 3-for-3 from 3-point range, tied the game at 83 with his final trey of the game with 36 seconds left.
Christian Ford's shot to give Maryville the lead back was off the mark and Dugger pulled down the rebound. The Panthers called timeout with 11 seconds to set up the winning shot.
The Panthers executed to perfection as Anderson passed the ball to Baxter. Baxter let fly from just inside the 3-point line and nailed the shot as the buzzer sounded.
The Panthers trailed 44-37 at halftime despite shooting 58.3 percent. They finished the game shooting 55.7 percent.
The Panthers play at Ferrum and Averett next Saturday and Sunday in USA South games.