ORANGEBURG, SC (January 29, 2023) – The Claflin Panthers (15-4, 7-4 CIAA) got a key Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Southern Division win, Saturday afternoon, when they claimed a 67-64 win over the Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls (6-13, 2-8 CIAA). Though the Panthers controlled most of the game, the team had to fend off a furious comeback effort by the Golden Bulls to claim the win.
The Panthers had to click on all cylinders to claim the win. As a team, the Panthers shot a scorching hot 48.2% (27-of-56) from the floor to claim the win. Three Claflin players reached double-digit scoring in the win with junior guard DaiJohn Stewart leading the way with a career-high 15 points with five rebounds in the game. Senior guard Allen Hatchett added 10 points while junior guard Jailen Williams added 10 points as well.
In the first half, the Panthers took control of the game near the midway point and remained on top for the remainder of the period. However, the Panthers had to hold off the Golden Bulls to stay in the lead. A lay-up from senior forward Shyim Cunningham with 10:04 left in the half gave the Panthers a 16-14 lead. From there, the team remained on top, including a lay-up from sophomore center HowVante Hutcherson in the final seconds to leave the team on top, 30-26 at halftime.
In the second half, the Panthers surged ahead, but the team need to fend off a furious rally by the Golden Bulls to claim the win. The Panthers built their largest lead of the game, 53-41, after a lay-up from senior forward Isaiah Jennings with 11:07 left to play. In the final minutes of the game, the Panthers held a 61-52 lead after a pair of free throws from junior center Timothy McElroy. It was then that the Panthers allowed the Golden Bulls to come to within a point, 65-64, with just two seconds left to play. However. Claflin senior Shamarie McLeod hit a pair of free throws that sealed the win.
With the win, the Panthers improve to 15-4 overall and 7-4 in CIAA play. The team will take a trip outside of conference play, when they head to nearby Columbia, South Carolina to take on the rival Benedict Tigers. 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.