MOUNT BERRY, Ga. - Mark Wagner's buzzer beater layup lifted LaGrange to a 90-89 opening night win over Berry on Wednesday.
The game winner capped a milestone night for the senior guard. Wagner finished with a team-high 20 points and became the 27th Panther to score 1,000 points in a career. He entered the game with 990 points.
"First, I want to commend Coach Rodgers and his team," said Coach Kendal Wallace. "They played amazing and shot an unprecedented 63 percent from the 3-point line and 64 percent from the field for the game.
"Secondly, we as a team believe in each other. I played 13 of my 16 guys and each one contributed in a positive way. We didn't plan to be in that position but are very fortunate to get the win."
The Panthers won despite hitting only 3-of-27 shots from 3-point range. They made up for it by going 23-of-28 at the free throw line and forcing 29 turnovers by the Vikings.
Wagner's basket capped a furious comeback by the Panthers (1-0) over the final minutes. Berry (0-2) led 87-76 after Kahlil Newkirk's 3-pointer with 4:15 left.
Wagner started a 12-0 run by the Panthers with a pair of free throws.Alex Bonner, who had 16 off the bench, hit two free throws and the Panthers' only 3-pointer of the second half to make it 87-83.
After Elijah Adedoyin scored inside, Wagner drove the lane to tie the game at 87 with 1:12 left. Bonner made the second of two free throws to put the Panthers up 88-87 with 26 seconds showing.
Berry ran the clock down and Lukas Korn was fouled with four seconds left. Korn made both of his free throws to put the Vikings back up 89-88 and setting up Wagner's sprint to the basket for the game winner.
The Panthers trailed by as many as 15 in the first half. They chipped away at the deficit to trail 46-44 at halftime.
The Panthers play at Pensacola Christian on Saturday at 4 p.m. EST.