WINSTON-SALEM, NC (February 9, 2023)- The Claflin Panthers (18-4, 9-4 CIAA) used some great play late to claim a 71-62 win at Winston-Salem State (16-6, 8-5 CIAA), Thursday evening. Though the Panthers were in control for nearly the entire game, the team had to fend off a late run by the Rams to claim the key Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) victory.
The Panthers took the win behind a balanced attack with three players reaching double-digit scoring in the win. Claflin junior guard Bryson Dennis led the way with 17 points in the game while junior guard Daijohn Stewart came off the bench for 12 points of his own. Claflin senior forward Allen Hatchett added 10 points as well. Junior center Timothy McElroy nearly pulled out a double-double with eight points and seven rebounds in the game.
The first half was a tough one with neither team going ahead by more than seven points for much of the period. However, in the final two minutes of play, the Panthers surged ahead as a Hatchett three-pointer with just over 40 seconds left to play in the half sealed the Claflin run and gave the team a 36-25 halftime lead.
The second half told a different story, however. Once again, the Panthers remained in control of the game, but the team soon had to fend off a hard-charging Winston-Salem State team that cut the Panthers lead down to just four points, 61-57, with 4:05 left to play. It was then that the Panthers would go on a 10-2 run that was capped by a Stewart lay-up with 00:26 left to play and gave the Panthers a 71-59 lead. From there, the Panthers just held on in the final seconds to cruise to the 71-62 victory.
With the win, the Panthers improve to 18-4 overall and 9-4 in CIAA play. The Panthers also move into a first place tie in the CIAA Southern Division. 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.