Visiting Methodist handed LaGrange its second straight USA South loss Friday night with a 90-87 victory over the Panthers. The Monarchs (10-11, 8-5 USA South), took advantage of 23 turnovers by the Panthers (14-6, 10-3 USA South).
"I did not feel like we played tough at all tonight," Coach Kendal Wallace said. "We let them out tough us, we let them out rebound us, we turned the ball over. Giving up 30 points off 23 turnovers should show you how to take care of the basketball. We just continue to go do the same mistakes over and over."
Travis Thompson tied for game honors with 22 points before fouling out. Jamison McCray added 21, 16 coming in the second half. Jalen McCallum had 13 points and with his two blocks set a new school season record. McCallum now has 80 blocks, eclipsing Randy Hagerdon's mark of 79 set during the 1993-94 season. Julian Cameron finished with 11 points and Jack McCormack 10.
LaGrange did not trail in the game until Kymon Mitchell's two free throws put the Monarchs up 71-69 with 6:17 remaining. Aided by a technical foul against the Monarchs, the Panthers scored eight of the next nine points for a 78-72 lead. Thompson's last basket of the game put LC up 84-81 with 1:39 left. But Methodist converted three straight Panther turnovers into a 87-84 lead. McCray's layup pulled LC within one, 88-87, with three seconds showing. Dante Burden's two free throws iced the game for Methodist.
"It's just a shame to come out in front of your home crowd and play poorly," Wallace said. "I thought we hit shots and got good looks at the basket. But if you don't take care of the basketball, you allow the other team to have second chances and shoot many free throws you're not going to beat very many people."
The Panthers host East Division-leading Covenant on Saturday at 6 p.m. Covenant won the first meeting 81-65 back on Nov. 30.