Men's Basketball: Banner season ends with loss to Birmingham-Southern in NCAA tournament

Men's Basketball: Banner season ends with loss to Birmingham-Southern in NCAA tournament

ATLANTA, Ga. - LaGrange's banner 2015-16 season ended  Fridaywith a 93-91 loss to Birmingham-Southern in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament at Emory's Woodruff P.E. Center.

The Panthers finished 20-9, the first 20 win season by an LC team since 1992-93. They reached the NCAA tournament for the third straight year as well as the USA South Tournament championship game.

The game was the final one for seniors Braxton Ford, Mark Wagner, and Mike White. Ford finished with 19 points, while Wagner added 17. Wagner finished his career ninth on the LC points list 1,433. 

Sophomore Alex Bonner led the Panthers with a game high 25 points. Junior Justyn Olson followed Bonner with 21 points.

The Panthers led 22-14 nine minutes into the first half. BSC came back and held a 46-34 lead with a 2:42 left. The Panthers scored 12 of the last 16 points to cut the deficit to four points, 50-46, at halftime. Olson got the Panthers' final five points on a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer.

Bonner's 3-pointer early in the second half tied the game at 57. From there, the game would be tied four for times and the lead changed hands eight times. 

With the game tied at 73, Bonner sank a jumper to put the Panthers back in the lead. Wagner blocked a shot at the other end and Ford drained a trey for a 78-73 lead with 5:42 remaning.

But the next four possessions for the Panthers ended with three missed shots and a turnover. BSC ran off 12 points for a 85-78 lead with 2:18 left.

The Panthers were forced to foul and BSC scored its final six points at the free throw line. Bonner hit a shot from beyond half court at the buzzer for the 93-91 final.

The Panthers tied a season high with 16 3-pointers in the game. BSC was 29-of-38 at the free throw line, while the Panthers were 15-of-21.