ORANGEBURG, SC (February 11, 2023) – The Claflin Panthers (18-5, 9-5 CIAA) gave it their all, but the effort was not enough as the team took a 67-63 loss to the Saint Augustine’s Falcons (7-16, 4-10 CIAA), Saturday afternoon. After falling into an early deficit, the Panthers made a great comeback effort, but it was not enough in the hard-fought loss.
The big second half balanced out a slow first half for the Panthers. The team finished the game shooting just 36.5% (20-of-55) from the floor. The Claflin junior backcourt of Jailen Williams and Bryson Dixon led the way for the team. Williams had another terrific game with 23 points and five steals in the game. Dennis added 19 points with four rebounds. Senior forward Shamarie McLeod added eight points with six rebounds in the game.
The first half was a real struggle for the Panthers. The team managed just 27 first half points in the game and fell behind by as many as 17 points. A pair of free throws from senior guard Allen Hatchett with 3:42 left in the first half were the final points that the Panthers would manage as the team allowed 10 points to the Falcons and ended the half trailing, 27-44.
The second half told a much different story with the Panthers staging a big comeback. Through the half, the Panthers steadily chipped away at their deficit as a pair of McLeod free throws capped a five-point run that pulled the Panthers to within striking distance, 51-54 with 6:17 left to play. In the final seconds of the game, the Panthers cut their deficit down to just two points after a pair of Williams free throws cut the Claflin deficit to just two points, 63-65. However, Saint Augustine’s would go on to hit a pair of free throws and sealed the Panthers’ 67-63 loss.
With the loss, the Panthers fall to 18-5 and 9-5 in Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) play. The loss drops the Panthers back to a three-way tie for first place in the CIAA Southern Division at 5-3. The Panthers will have a chance to break the deadlock when the team hosts the Fayetteville State Broncos, Wednesday evening.
For more information on Panthers basketball, contact the Claflin University Office of Athletics Media Relations at (803) 535-5548 or log on to www.athletics.claflin.edu.