MONTGOMERY, Ala. - LaGrange overcame a sluggish start to edge Rust 45-42 at the Huntingdon College Classic on Saturday. The Panthers finished the tournament a perfect 3-0.
"Tonight was a game of attrition. Playing three games in three days is a very tough challenge for any team but we found a way to get three wins," Coach Lee Buchanan said. "I am really proud of our perseverance and working through the rough parts of the game as a team. It may have been ugly, but I wil take ugly wins over pretty losses any day of the week."
Both teams struggled shooting the ball. Rust shot 28.1 percent in the game, the Panthers only slightly better at 29.8. The two teams were just 6-for-34 from 3-point range.
"We didn't shoot it well but found other ways to be successful tonight," Buchanan pointed out. "I thought our defense was really good at times as we made it tough on them to get open looks. Even the last play of the game Austin (Richardson) made a deflection on the ball that caused a scramble for the ball so they did not get a good shot. It's the little things sometimes that make the biggest differences.
Rust (2-7) tied the game at 40 with 4:45 left. Johnson scored off a fast break and Farr put back a missed shot for a 44-40 lead. Jaelynn James made the second of two free throws to make it 45-42. Richardson's defensive play on the Bearcats' last possession sealed the win.
The Panthers host Sewanee on Wednesday at 3 p.m.