Career win number 720 for Maryville College's Randy Lambert was enough to advance the Scots to the USA South semifinals after a 91-77 defeat of LaGrange College in the league's first-round tournament action in MC's Boydson Baird Gymnasium late Tuesday evening.
A Calvin Songster jump shot and an Emier Bowman layup capped a first half where the Scots took a slim 42-41 into the locker room at the half. Maryville went 17-for-35 from the floor (49%) while the Panthers countered with a 15-for-30 (50%) effort from the floor. Emier Bowman paced the Scots with 10 first-half points while Kaleb Estes and JR Sanders each added seven points on a combined 5-of-7 shooting. LaGrange kept pace with Travis Thompson's 14 points and five boards.
Maryville went on a 14-4 run to begin the second half and with a Kaleb Estes jump shot at the14:51 mark gave the Scots a 58-45 lead. MC's defense held the Panthers to only a 37% success rate from the floor while the visitors could not find their perimeter attack hitting only 4-of-16 treys. The Scots pulled away with a 56% shooting effort to close the challenge hitting 15-of-27 shots. Bowman closed with 16 second-half points while Calvin Songster added 10 points as the clock ran down.
LaGrange finishes their season 17-9. They were led by Travis Thompson's 21 points while Lincoln Anderson added 15 points. The duo combined for 14 rebounds. Jamison McCray tossed in 10 points off the bench for the Panthers.
Maryville advances to 19-7 on the season. Emier Bowman paced the Scots with 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting while adding six blocks, four rebounds, and a pair of assists. Calvin Songster dropped a pair of three-pointers before finishing with 16 points. Kaleb Estes ran an efficient offense while depositing 12 points and grabbing six rebounds. Dante Hoppa added 11 points on 3-of-4 shooting while dishing out five assists. Nick Clifton led MC on the boards with seven rebounds.
The Scots will advance to the USA South semifinals at Lookout Mountain, Georgia on Friday and Saturday. Covenant College will host the league's final four. Maryville will challenge Averett University at 5:00 on Friday. The Cougars defeated North Carolina Wesleyan in first-round action by the score of 82-78. In the other semifinal action, Covenant College will host Methodist University at 7:0 p.m. on Friday evening.
The conference championship game is slated for 3:00 p.m. on Saturday.