Men's Basketball: Panthers shut down Birmingham-Southern 80-67

Photo by Jacob Kryziak
Photo by Jacob Kryziak

LaGrange shut down Birmingham-Southern 80-67 in the Wingate by Wyndham Classic on Sunday in Mariotti Gym. The Panthers went 2-0 in their own tournament and are now 3-1.

Birmingham-Southern (4-2) was the third Southern Athletic Association team the Panthers have beaten this season. They beat Rhodes 80-77 last weekend at the Rhodes Tip-Off Tournament and Berry 85-80 on Saturday.

"We play closely with the SAA conference and they have a lot of good teams," Coach Kendal Wallace said. "It's a rivalry with Birmingham-Southern especially with Coach (Jasen) Jonus being an alumni. They have a very good team, well disciplined, and very well coached."

The two teams played to a 39-39 tie in the first half. LC held BSC to 30.3 percent shooting in the second half, including just 3-of-14 from 3-point range. BSC held a 49-36 rebounding edge in the game. The Panthers forced 13 turnovers, while committing just four.

"We did a great job of stepping up defensively with our half court defense today to get the win," said Wallace. "I can't say enough about my defense and how we were able to switch guys in and out to play defense or offense really helped us out tonight. Elijah Adedoyin played incredible defense and Jamison McCray also played well defensively. We put both guys on the point guard who had not played the position before."

BSC scored the first seven points of the second half. The Panthers came back to tie the game, then used a 10-0 run to take the lead for good. Julian Cameron completed a three-point play to put LC up 59-49 with 9:42 left.

The visiting Panthers got within seven, 69-62, with 3:16 left. Travis Thompson answered for the Panthers with a three-point play of his own to push the lead to 72-62 and BSC never got closer than eight points the rest of the way. Gary Bishop's two free throws gave LC its biggest lead, 78-64.

Bishop had a game-high 19 points to lead the Panthers. Jalen McCallum had 16 points and a team-high nine rebounds. McCray finished with 15, Cameron with 13, and Thompson had 12 off the bench.

The Panthers open USA South play at Piedmont on Tuesday.