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KNOXVILLE — PCM’s two returning players from last season were a thorn in the flesh for the Knoxville Panthers in the Panther Pit Tuesday night. 6-foot-6 post man, Durant Van Dyke, and crafty point guard, Carson Vande Lune, each poured in 21 points and took charge of the game in the second half. Van Dyke controlled the glass and Vande Lune sliced and diced his way through the Panther defense for key baskets.

The young and inexperienced Panthers showed promise of good things to come in the first half as they trailed by only six at 39-33 at intermission. But in the second half the Mustangs amped up the defense and got the transition game going. The result was a 13-2 third quarter margin and a 23-13 fourth quarter deficit for a tired Panther team.

“We are a very young team with lots of potential,” Knoxville coach Troy Pearson said. “The PCM transition game caused a lot of frustration on defense in the third quarter and that frustration carried over to our offensive production. We will work hard to improve before taking on the Clarke Indians next Tuesday.”

Knoxville opened the game with three-balls from Noah Keefer and Carson Uitermarkt sandwiched around a pair of free throws by Jay Keller to take an 8-6 midway through the period. But the Mustangs answered with an 11-4 run to take a 17-12 lead into the second stanza.

PCM scored the first 10 points of the second period and appeared ready to blow the game open with a 27-12 lead with 5:31 left in the first half. But hold the phone, the scrappy Panthers were not ready to fold. Enter the game, Landon Norris. The freshman immediately drained a pair of threes and the scoring became contagious. Keller notched a three and Connor Willis and Uitermarkt each knocked down a long ball. Suddenly the Mustang lead had shrunk to 33-29 and the joint was jumpin’. PCM managed to stop the bleeding and went into halftime with a six-point lead.

The Panthers could not get in to an offensive flow in the third quarter and their lone basket was on the inside by Jack Bertrand. It was the same story in the final frame as PCM pretty much had their way on defense. The bright spot for the Panthers would be a triple and a pair of free throws by Gabe Clark.

Norris was the only Panther in double digits as he came off the bench to can 12 points. Keller was near double digits with nine points.

PCM                      17           22           13           25           -              77

Knoxville              12           21           2             13           -              48

Knoxville scoring (FG FTM/FTA PTS) – Noah Keefer 1 0/0 3, Carson Uitermarkt 2 0/0 6, Mike Greubel 1 0/1 2, Koby Higginbotham 1 0/2 2, Gabe Clark 1 2/2 5, Jay Keller 1 6/8 9, Kaiden Smith 1 0/0 2, Connor Willis 1 0/0 3, Landen Norris 5 0/0 12, Jack Bertrand 1 2/4 4. Team 15 10/19 48. Three point goals – (8) Uitermarkt 2, Norris 2, Keefer 1, Clark 1, Keller 1, Willis 1.

Knoxville Rebounds(37) – Bertrand 7, Greubel 6, Willis 6. Clark 5, Kaden McGill 3, Norris 3, Kellar 2, Higginbotham 2, Keefer 1, Uitermarkt 1, Smith 1.

Knoxville Steals (9) – Greubel 3, Kellar 2, Keefer 1, Uitermarkt 1, Higginbotham 1, John Buttell 1.

Knoxville Assists (9) – Kellar 3, Norris 3, Uitermarkt 1, McGill 1, Buttell 1.

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