LaGrange opened the 2021-22 season with a 108-101 win over Pensacola Christian in Mariotti Gym on Monday.
The Panthers (1-0) had a balanced scoring attack with six players in double figures. Senior Kyle Brown had a team-high 18 points, pulled down seven rebounds, and had a career high nine assists.
Sophomore Cooper Dolhancyk and junior Andrew Shepherd each had 17 each, making 8-of-14 treys between them. Freshman Kyle Smith came off the bench to score 15 points and grab five rebounds. Junior Zac Hill added 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Senior Bershard Edwards finished with 12 points, seven assists, and six rebounds.
"It was a great night for Kyle and Bershard because of how much they mean to this team," said Coach Kendal Wallace, who had his son Rex on the bench as an assistant. "We've got a great group of guys that can really score the ball when they want to, especially on open looks.
"Overall, it was a fun night. I'm happy for the win; this is what we wanted to do is play against somebody different than ourselves. I do know one thing we have to work on and that's our defense; we gave up way too many points."
Pensacola Christian (0-3) scored the game's first basket and never led again. LC broke a 4-4 tie with a 20-4 run over a span of four minutes to take control of the game early.
Dolhancyk's 3-pointer with 8:20 left in the first half, gave the Panthers their largest lead of the game, 43-19. The high scoring half ended with LC up 60-42. The Panthers shot 61.5%, including 7-of-15 shooting 3's. Dolhancyk and Shepherd had 12 points each in the half.
In the second half, the Panthers held off several Eagle runs. Edwards' trey pushed LC's lead to 22, 69-47, two minutes into the half. The 108-101 final score was as close as the Eagles would get the rest of the way.
LC finished the game shooting 52.5% overall. The Panthers made 16 3s in the game, shooting 42.1%. The Panthers, led by Brown and Edwards, had 23 assists on 42 baskets. LC also held a 52-42 rebounding edge.
The Panthers host the Wingate by Wyndham Classic on Friday and Saturday. LC plays Mississippi University for Women on Friday at 7 p.m. and Sewanee on Saturday at 5 p.m.