In his 32nd year of coaching, Maryville College head basketball coach Randy Lambert grabbed his 600th career victory, defeating LaGrange College, 63-50, in LaGrange, Ga.
The win not only gave Lambert his career mark, but it also snapped a two-game skid against the Panthers (11-14, 6-2 GSAC), while knotting the Scots (16-9, 6-2) with LaGrange for the lead in the Great South Athletic Conference race.
Maryville out-rebounded the Panthers 47-36, and the Scots were able to capitalize on 17 LaGrange turnovers with 14 points.
Senior Milton Stanley put the game on his shoulders late, giving the Scots the lead before they went on a run to pull away. Stanley finished the game with 21 points and five rebounds.
Fellow senior Donald Rucker finished with a double-double, posting 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Junior Wes Lambert deposited 12 points and finished the day with a team-leading three steals.
For LaGrange, Kyron Anderson finished with 15 points, and Denzel Robinson and Joey Anderkavich finished with 14 and 13, respectively.
During the first half, the Scots saw themselves struggle to get things started. It took nearly five minutes for Maryville to sink its first basket.
The Panthers and the Scots fought back and forth throughout the contest.
With 9:39 left in the first, the Scots took control. Eight minutes later, MC gained its biggest lead of the game (8) off two Wes Lambert free throws following a technical on former Maryville player and current LaGrange coach Kendal Wallace.
Maryville would enter the half leading 31-24. Donald Rucker led all scorers with nine points and six rebounds. Milton Stanley dropped eight points off of a 4-of-6 performance, while Wes Lambert helped with six, going 4-of-4 from the line.
Denzel Robinson led the Panthers with nine points.
During the second half, the Panthers came storming back.
Kyron Anderson dropped a big three, followed by a turn-around jumper to knot the game at 39-all.
On the other end of the court, tempers flared, and LaGrange’s Marcus Vaughn was ejected from the game, after getting wrapped up with MC freshman center Joey Bodewig. Bodewig was called for a technical on the play, as emotions began to boil over.
With 10:59 remaining in the half, the Panther’s regained the lead for the first time in nearly 20 minutes. Joey Anderkavich’s lay-in gave LaGrange a 43-41 lead, while the Scots couldn’t get their three-point shots to fall, as they slipped to 0-12.
Three straight mid-range jumpers by Stanley allowed the Scots to regain control with a 51-47 lead at the 8:44 mark.
Rucker and Christian Ford then made free throws, followed by another jumper by Stanley, which gave the Scots their biggest lead of the second half, 55-47.
As the game began to wind down, the Scots went on a run which pulled them ahead by 16, before a trey by Denzel Robinson took the game to its final margin.
“To be honest with you, I was a player with him at 200 and a coach with him at 500, so I knew I was going to be a part of the next one,” Wallace said in a post-game interview. “I didn’t know I was going to be on the other side of it … He does a great job with his team, and I wouldn’t be where I’m at without him. Coach Lambert is one of the best men I’ve been around.”
Check out our next issue for full coverage of Randy Lambert’s 600th career win, as well as GSAC tournament coverage.