Greene County News
ORANGEBURG, S.C. — The Central State Marauders opened up Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play with a 81-72 road win over Claflin University on Tuesday night.
In a game that featured 11 lead changes, the Marauders leaned on an efficient shooting performance from beyond the arc through the first half. CSU opened the game hitting 6 of 10 shots from the three point line to build a 35-26 lead with 2:08 left before halftime. Claflin responded in final 120 seconds with an 8-0 run to cut the deficit down to one at the break.
Neither team gained much separation in the early stages of the second half. A Dymiere Finch layup at the 12:02 mark gave the Marauders a 53-52 lead and sparked a 12-2 run to push the SU lead up to nine with 8:10 remaining. Finch added two free throws at the 3:50 mark to give the Marauders their largest lead of the night, 75-62. A good three pointer by Dwight Richard, Jr. sealed the deal with 1:05 left in the game and the Marauders cruised to a nine-point victory.
As a team, CSU shot 45 percent from the field and an impressive 48 percent from three point range. CSU also had its best performance of the season at the freethrow line, making 73 percent of its attempts. Led by Richard, Jr., the Marauder reserves outscored the Claflin bench, 46-15.
Richard, Jr. was consistent throughout the game. The junior from Fort Wayne, Ind. made 8 of 10 shots from the field and finished with a game-high 25 points.
“I told Dwight that he is a big part of what we do as a team. He has really accepted his role coming off the bench and has been sensational for us so far this season,” CSU head coach Joseph Price said. “As a team, our goal is to continue to improve on execution as we enter another tough SIAC contest against Benedict College on Thursday.”
Senior Markese McGuire had his best game as a Marauder, scoring 18 points; Frank Barber III scored all nine of his points in the second half. Finch came off the bench to finish with nine points and a game-high five assists to help Central State improve to 4-2 overall and 1-0 in conference play.
Claflin was paced by Ryan McNeill-Moses’ 20 points, three blocks and six rebounds. The Panthers fell to 2-3 on the year with a 0-1 mark in SIAC play.
Central State will attempt to win three games in a row when they travel to play Benedict College in Columbia, S.C. at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.