Men's Basketball: Olson's buzzer beater lifts Panthers to thrilling double OT win over William Peace

Men's Basketball: Olson's buzzer beater lifts Panthers to thrilling double OT win over William Peace

Justyn Olson's buzzer beater lifted LaGrange to a thrilling 105-103 double overtime win over William Peace at Mariotti Gym on Sunday.

The last second win kept the Panthers (15-6, 6-4 USA South) in the hunt for the USA South regular season title. They are tied with Ferrum for third in the league standings, one game back of second place Covenant and Greensboro, and two back of first place N.C. Wesleyan.

"Our kids battled hard the entire game. We've talked extensively about getting tougher and finishing games," said Coach Kendal Wallace. "Today, we did that.  I was a little disappointed in us losing the lead and having to go to OT twice, but was proud of how we stayed focused."

In the second overtime, the Pacers (9-13, 4-7 USA South) had the first opportunity to break a 103-103 tie. But Jalen Vince missed both of his free throws with 34 seconds left to give the Panthers possession of the ball for the last shot.

After two timeouts, the Panthers inbounded the ball with 12 seconds left. Mark Wagner misfired a 3-point attempt as the clock ticked down. After a wild scramble for the rebound, Olson came away with the ball. The junior guard whirled and layed the ball in as the buzzer sounded for the win.

In the game, the Panthers were outrebounded on the offensive glass 15-9. But Olson got the biggest rebound of the game.

"Rebounding has been a nemesis for us recently," Wallace pointed out. "It's ironic to win the game off an offensive rebound."

Sophomore Alex Bonner, making his first start of the season, led all scorers with a career-high 23 points and matched a career best with 10 rebounds. The double-double was the first of his collegiate career. He was 6-of-8 shooting in the game and 10-of-14 at the free throw line.

"Alex is a staple in our program. He is always ready whether a starter or coming off the bench," Wallace said. "He's a gamer and always shows up at crunch time, and is one of our toughest players."

Olson finished the game with 22 points, 14 coming after halftime. Drew Vanderbrook had 17 points, Wagner 16, and Braxton Ford 12.

The Panthers led 79-66 with 4:05 left in regulation. The Pacers chipped away at the lead, but trailed 85-82 after Olson hit two free throws with four seconds left. Terry Rogers hurried up the court and hit a 3-pointer as the horn sounded to send the game into overtime.

The Panthers had a chance to end the game in the first overtime. Tied at 95, Wagner drove to the basket but had his shot blocked to send the game into the second extra period.

The Panthers led 44-35 at halftime as Bonner and Wagner combined for 23 points. They trailed 22-14 with 10:52 left in the half, but ended the period on an 11-2 run. Wagner had his own buzzer beater, draining a 3-pointer to give the Panthers their nine-point lead.

The Panthers host Covenant on Friday at 7:30 p.m. They will celebrate Senior Day against Maryville on Saturday at 4 p.m. Ford, Wagner, and Mike White will be honored.