USA South leader Maryville turned back LaGrange's upset bid with a 63-58 win Saturday in Mariotti Gym. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Panthers (7-7, 3-2).
"A very tough game tonight against a very talented Maryville team. I thought we played super hard but made a few mistakes at important times during the game," Coach Lee Buchanan said. "We missed too many free throws and that's what cost us the game.
"It was an even game and against good teams you have to be able to do the little things right. We are getting better each day."
The Panthers battled the Scots on even terms in the first half. The game was tied seven times in the half and the lead changed five times. The Panthers led by six, 19-13, with 6:15 left but needed a basket from Johnson to in the closing seconds to lead 27-25 at the break.
Maryville controlled the third quarter, outscoring the Panthers 20-7 to take a 45-34 lead heading to the final period.
Trailing 49-38 with 6:31 left in the game, the Panthers put together a final rally. Walthall's two free throws made it a three-point game, 53-50. On the Scots' next possession, Johnson made the steal and layed it up to make it 53-52 with 2:22 left.
But the Scots scored eight of the next nine points to go up 61-53 with under a minute remaing. The Panthers were unable to get closer than five points the rest of the way.
The Panthers host Pensacola Christian in a non-conference game Tuesday.