KNOXVILLE — For just the second time this season, Knoxville took the floor on Tuesday as they opened South Central Conference play against Clarke. After some good back and forth play early, the Panthers would pull away to defeat the Indians, 72-52.
Both sides exchanged buckets early on as Spencer Hixson found an early groove with a pair of threes for Knoxville while lanky freshman guard Jack Cooley was tough around the rim for six early points for Clarke.
Knoxville held a 15-8 advantage going into the second quarter. There they would splash home a couple of more triples with Hixson hitting his third of the first half before Mike Hudson would catch fire late with three straight three-pointers before the half to push the Panthers’ lead to 33-22 at the break.
After a quiet first half, Kieren Nichols would get into his bag in the third quarter. Nichols, along with Hixson, would go off in the third quarter. The two would attack the rim hard with Nichols going off for 13 in the quarter while Hixson added six as the duo accounted for 19 of Knoxville’s 24 points in the third.
They would pull Knoxville ahead 57-38 entering the fourth where they would empty their bench with the damage done.
Nichols would lead the Panthers with 22 points while Hixson added 19 points of his own. Cooley finished with 17 points to lead Clarke.
Knoxville (2-0, 1-0 SCC) travel to Chariton (0-1, 0-1 SCC) on Friday at 8 p.m.
*Knoxville stats were not available at time of print