ATLANTA-- In the first of two highly anticipated match-ups between neighboring Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College, it was the Maroon Tigers who squeezed by the Panthers 57-56 Sunday at Epps Gymnasium on CAU's campus for the first time in over 10 years.
The atmosphere was fitting for this epic showdown that came down to the last possession as Clark Atlanta welcomed this AUC rivarly game back to Epps Gymnasium before a packed house.
Within the final minute, Clark Atlanta held a one-point advantage with an opportunity to extend its lead with 30 seconds remaining, but a failed free throw attempt on a 1-and-1 gave the ball back to the Maroon Tigers and Jonathan Tassin's lay-up put them on top with nine seconds left. CAU had one final chance to re-claim the lead, but Jarrel Joye's shot attempt was rejected by Andrae Nelson as the buzzer sounded.
"My guys fought hard today and played with a lot of heart and pride," said CAU Head Coach Dale Brown. "We were pleased with their effort on both ends of the floor."
With 13 ties and 12 lead changes, it was a very tight contest from the beginning with no team leading by more than six points as the Panthers held the largest advantage early in the second period. Led by Dwayne Bingham's 11-point performance in the first period on 5-of-8 shooting from the field, CAU took a 34-32 lead at the half.
It was much the same in the second period as the score remained considerably close throughout the contest. CAU edged the Maroon Tigers at the charity stripe while shooting 75 percent (9-of-12) compared to Morehouse's 46 percent (5-of-11). The Panthers defensive pressure was impressive as they recorded 11 steals with Bingham at the forefront with four. As a team, Morehouse gained a slim advantage on the boards 40 to 33 over Clark Atlanta with the help of Darius Williams who finished with a game-high 13 rebounds.
Both teams struggled from behind the arc while shooting only 18 percent from the three-point line. Bingham's 17 total points topped the Panthers to go along with his team-high nine rebounds while Kevin James and Johnnel Young chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Williams led the conference leading Maroon Tigers (14-5, SIAC 12-0) with a team-high 16 points followed by Shawn Allen with and Nelson who added 12 points and 10 rebounds
For the Panthers (4-16, SIAC 3-9), who are winners of two of their last three conference games, they will face Miles College on the road Monday, Feb. 11th and return home for their final home game Feb. 18th, against Albany State.