Elgin, IL - The Panthers fell to the host Eagles of Judson University on Wednesday evening 62-59 in a key CCAC Conference matchup.
It was all Judson early, as the Eagles built a 26-10 lead over the Panthers midway through the first half. The Panthers countered with their own 13-4 run and built some momentum, before going into halftime trailing 36-27. Judson's success in the first half was keyed by their explosive 64.0 percent shooting percentage coupled by the Panthers' 12 turnovers.
After the break, the Eagles picked up where they left off, scoring on four of their first five possessions, again establishing a double-digit lead of 44-32, with just over 15:00 left to play. Panther freshman Mario Herron's (Hammond, IN) drive and layup while being fouled resulted in an old-fashioned 3-point play jump started the Panther comeback and 12-4 run. Freshman Nick Lafty (Hobart, IN) would add a critical 3-point basket.
The Panthers would grab a 54-53 lead, their first of the game with 4:10 remaining. With the Panthers up 59-58 and under 0:40 seconds remaining in the contest, the host Eagles would go to work scoring the last four points of the game, while limiting the Panthers' offensively, before claiming the 62-59 victory.
The Panthers were led in scoring by senior Nick Neal (Detroit, MI) with 16 points and sophomore Kyle Sanders (Knox,IN) with 13 points.
The Eagles trio of post players of Brian Pederson, Adam Hodge, and Caleb Sutton combined for 47 of the team's 62 points while shooting a combined 19 for 30 from the field.
The Panthers will travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Saturday, February 18th to take on Cardinal Stritch University in the final regular season game of the year at 3:00pm CST. The Wolves of Cardinal Stritch University are currently ranked #6 in the NAIA Men's Basketball (DII) Coaches' Top 25 Poll.