A last second 3-pointer by Chuka Eneh helped the Clark Atlanta men's basketball team cement its fifth SIAC championship title on Friday with a 64-62 win over Fort Valley State.
Clark Atlanta (21-11 began the first half with a dunk and Lawrance Triplett put CAU ahead with a 3-pointer with 17:14 remaining in the half. Triplett converted the tip-in to break a 6-0 Wildcat run with CAU trailing by just 3 at 8-5. Another 6-0 run extended the advantage for FVSU before the layup from Anthony Williams cut the deficit to 7 points at 14-7. Tim Sanders followed with a 3-pointer on the first Panther possession out of the media timeout.
Derek Harper went 2-for-2 from the free throw line ahead of a Tajai Johnson 3 and a jumpber from Sanders as CAU trailed with 5:23 left in the half.
Sanders and Johnson would again score on back-to-back trips down the court to bring CAU within 4 points. Then, after a pair of free throws from Damien Davis, Harper stole the pass and converted a layout on the fast break pulling CAU within two points. Sanders connected on a 3-pointer with 2:46 remaining to give the panthers a 28-27 lead.
The game went into intermission tied at 2929. CAU shot 10-for-26 from the floor and went 5-for-7 from the free throw line. The Panthers added four 3-pointers. CAU was out-rebounded 28-17 while the Wildcats held the 22-10 advantage on scoring in the paint.
Davis was good on the hook shot in the lane to start the second half scoring. Triplett added a jumper in the lane after a 6-0 run by FVSU. Sanders pulled CAU within 2 points after completing the traditional 3-point play with a layup and free throw with just 13:59 left in the game. Triplet was good on a jumper form the top of the key to tie the game at 40. The next Panther trip down the court had Davis go to the rim with aggression and convert the layup giving CAU the lead 42-40. Triplett added a pair from the free throw line after a technical foul was called against Fort Valley giving the Panthers a 4 point lead. FVSU fought back with just under 9 minutes left in the game bringing the game, once again to a tie at 50.
Davis founded out with 6:01 to play and Clark Atlanta trailed by two. But Williams would tie the game again by going 2-for-2 shortly thereafter. With less than five minutes of play left, Triplett committed his fifth foul and sent Fort Valley to the line. The Wildcat shooter went 1-for-2. Chuka Eneh converted twice from the free throw line to pull the Panthers within 2.. William once again tied the game at 59 by going 2-for-2 from the line. Sanders tied the game with 1:22 to play by making one of two free throws. A defensive stand saw Eneh grab the rebound and Williams pushed the ball up court before an FVSU was called Williams went 1-for-2 and CAU led 61-60 with 43 seconds remaining.
The late jumper from FVSU had the Wildcats leading by one, 62-61 with less than 35 seconds remaining. With the clock ticking down, Willams found Eneh for a 3 from the corner giving the lead with 18 seconds left. A last second shot from Fort Valley was no good and Clark was victorious.
Sanders led the panthers with 16 points joined by Triplett and Willams with 13 each. Johnson had hte team-high seven rebounds.
Next Clark Atlanta will head to Valdosta, Ga. for the NCAA South Regional.
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