LaGrange shut down visiting Pensacola Christian 73-59 in the 2016-17 season opener Tuesday night in Mariotti Gym.
The Panthers (1-0) overcame poor shooting by forcing 26 Pensacola Christian turnovers. LC had a 31-5 advantage in points scored off turnovers in the game. The Panthers shot only 32.9 percent from the floor, but held the Eagles to 0-for-11 3-point shooting in the game.
"I thought we played a very active defensive game. Our game plan was to make them shoot jump shots and we didn't do that very well," said Coach Kendal Wallace. "They were able to get into the paint and score over half of their buckets and that's not what we're trying to do. We wanted to keep them out of the paint but we did want to try to turn them over. I thought we did a pretty good job with that and I thought we did a pretty good job of converting turnovers."
"We got 23 points off the bench for us and that's not bad. I felt like we didn't shoot the ball real well tonight," Wallace pointed out. "We had almost all the open looks and they didn't contest the three very well and we did not convert on that very well and didn't make shots. We have to get back in the gym and practice and get back to work tomorrow."
The Panthers trailed only for two minutes in the game. Tyler Langston hit three treys in a row to put LC up 17-9 in the first half. The Panthers took a 32-21 lead into halftime, with 19 of the points coming off Eagle turnovers.
In the second half, the scoring picked up for both teams. The Panthers jumped out to a 14 point lead to open the half, but the Eagles came back to cut the lead to four points.
Leading 56-51, the Panthers held the Eagles to a pair of free throws over a seven minute span. LC opened up a 66-53 lead over this span. Langston's layup off a steal and assist from Olson gave the Panthers their largest lead, 71-55 with a minute remaining.
The Panthers face Emory & Henry and the University of Dallas in the Covenant Classic on Friday and Saturday.