Midland, Texas - The Panola College men?s basketball team went 1-2 this weekend in the Midland Classic hosted by Midland College. After this weekend?s play Panola?s record is 3-2. "We hit about as much as adversity as you can in a three day span." Stated Head Coach Grant McMillan. "Playing three high quality opponents this early in the year will only help us when we get into league play." He added.
Game 1 ? Phoenix College
The opening game of the tournament features Panola and fifth ranked Phoenix College. Using solid defense, the Ponies took a 13 point lead with just under 6:00 minutes remaining in the first half. After back to back turnovers, Phoenix College cut the lead to 37-32 heading into the locker rooms. The second half Phoenix College used hot shooting from the three point line, netting 10 total, to take command of the game. Phoenix extended the lead by as much as 11 points in the second half before the Ponies cut the lead to four with under two minutes left. Panola could not get any closer. Phoenix won, 80-73.
Leading the way for Panola was Tope Arikawe who recorded a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Marlon Taylor recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds and Eric McGill netted 10 points. Devyn Wilson came off the bench and tallied 14 points. Panola was ice cold from three as they shot 2 for 26 from the game.
Game 2 ? Sunrise Christian
Game two featured Sunrise Christian, one of the top rated prep schools in the country with six division-one signees. A see-saw battle in the first half left Panola trailing 34-28. Panola came out fighting in the second half as both teams exchanged blows all half long. Panola finally took the lead with 19 seconds remaining in the game on a Marlon Taylor layup. Sunrise went down and converted on a traditional three point play to take a two point lead. Panola had a chance to tie the game or take the lead but never got a shot off. Sunrise won by a final tally of 73-72.
Arikawe had another monster game with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Wilson and Taylor were both in double figures with 19 and 13 points, respectively. Panola had a season high 19 offensive rebounds in the game and but only shot 39 percent from the field.
Game 3 ? Midland College
The final game of the tournament Panola faced Region V foe, Midland College. Panola came out to a 20-14 lead before an injury timeout led to a 25 minute delay. With the game resumed, neither team led by more than three points the rest of the way. Midland led at halftime 35-33. The heated contest saw 23 lead changed and 11 ties. Panola had a one point led when Midland converted an offensive rebound to regain the lead 72-71 with 30 seconds remaining. Marlon Taylor was fouled on a shot attempt with .8 seconds in the game. Taylor made both free throws and Midland never got a shot off as the Ponies won 73-72.
Eric McGill was high point man with 17 points. TJ Killings had 12 points of the bench. Taylor and Chan Williams Bey scored in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Arikawe chased down 10 rebounds. As a team, the Ponies shot 91 percent from the free throw line and netted eight three-pointers.
Panola will next be in action this upcoming Tuesday when they host Houston-Tomball. Tip-off is set for 7:30 in the Arthur Johnson Gymnasium on the campus of Panola College.