Lander point guard Michael Panaggio attempts to drive past Brewton-Parker's Justin Quarterman during an early season game. These days, Bearcats have won four consecutive Peach Belt Conference games and seven of eight overall.
(Andrew Macke | Index-Journal)
Last January, when a 74-63 loss against Montevallo dropped the Lander University men's basketball team to 1-3 in the Peach Belt Conference, the Bearcats went on to lose nine more consecutive games en route to finishing with a 9-17 record.
Nearly three weeks ago, on Jan. 4, this year's Bearcats dropped to an identical 1-3 PBC record with a loss to that same Montevallo program.
But where last year's Bearcats went in the tank in January, this year's squad did nothing of the sort. In fact, it did the opposite.
Since that defeat, Lander has won four consecutive PBC games, and is currently in the midst of a streak of seven wins in eight contests. The stark turnaround has vaulted the Bearcats (11-6 overall, 5-3 PBC) to third in the East Division behind conference powerhouses USC Aiken and Georgia Regents.
While Lander's recent success has all but wiped away the memories of the season's early struggles, coach Jeff Burkhamer said those early losses are actually a large part of the reason the team is now playing so well.
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