Lander University senior Michael Panaggio drives to the basket during the Bearcats' win against Armstrong Atlantic on Wednesday night.
(MADDY JONES | INDEX-JOURNAL)
After sluggish starts in each of his team's last two games, Lander University point guard Michael Panaggio came out Wednesday night against Armstrong Atlantic looking to be more aggressive in the early going.
The result was a great first half that propelled him to a fantastic finish.
Panaggio dropped 30 on the Pirates and drained three free throws with 1.1 seconds remaining to break a 70-all tie and give the Bearcats a 73-70 conference victory.
"Usually, I don't start off as aggressive in the first half looking for my shot," the senior guard said. "But the last two games, we've kind of struggled in the first half and had to play catch-up, so I wanted to come out and be aggressive in the first half, and I was just fortunate enough to make shots."
Panaggio, who entered the game averaging 12.1 points per contest, made plenty of shots, converting 10 of his 13 attempts, including seven of nine attempts from behind the 3-point arc.
But it was the late ones from the free-throw line that played the biggest role in the outcome.
After a 3-pointer by Armstrong's Emmanuel Tiluscar tied the game at 70 with 30 seconds remaining, the ball never left Panaggio's hands as he brought the ball down the court, waited until the final seconds were ticking away,and drew contact from the Pirates' Darius Morales as he let sail a 3-point attempt.
With the game in the balance, he stepped to the line and calmly sank all three freebies to provide the decisive points.
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