The Panthers tied the game again and took one final lead at 38-37.
Following a Devil timeout, Friend’s bucket provided the final lead change.
Out of an Elwood timeout, Ross picked off a Panthers pass and streaked down court for an easy two. Fouled on the play, Ross converted the freebie for a 42-38 lead with under a minute to play that took the wind out of the Panthers sails.
“Jon made a clean pass challenge, a great play,” Dickey said. “This was a fun basketball game to be a part of, the energy and enthusiasm in this gym was fabulous.”
Friend notched a double-double, leading the Devils in scoring with 12 points and pulling down 10 boards. Ross finished with nine points, while Degenkolb and Maxey each notched eight.
Degenkolb struggled through a 4-of-18 performance on a night that he was well-guarded throughout.
“They were guarding him pretty hard and he never got into a good rhythm,” Dickey said. “But he led us in rebounding and made crucial ball handles in the end.”
Degenkolb finished with 11 rebounds. Brody Dell grabbed 10 boards as the Devils owned a 49-29 command on the glass.
“That’s shocking,” Dickey said. “Coming out of a game where we were literally embarrassed in about every facet of the game, especially rebounding, I’m really excited after a night like this. We were very competitive. This game was a big, big plus for us.”