By John Bombatch
WILBERFORCE — A pair of forceful Clark-Atlanta dunks, combined with some cold Central State late-game shooting woes, earned the visiting Panthers a 69-60 upset win, Thursday night in the Beacom/Lewis Gymnasium at Central State University.
The host Marauders held a slim 55-54 lead after Hosie Smith Jr’s spin move and lay-in from the left side with 4:55 left to play, but that was the last lead CSU would have.
Clark-Atlanta (3-10, now 1-3 in the SIAC) took the lead on an old-fashioned 3-point play by Devante Harvey to put the Panthers out in front, 57-55. A David Basil free throw and Tim Sanders’ jump shot made it a 60-55 lead.
Central State’s Tre’ Edwards responded with an NBA-range 3-pointer from the left wing as the shot clock was about to expire, to pull the Marauders to within 60-58, but back-to-back jarring dunks by Clark-Atlanta’s Basil sealed the win.
Jeremy Brown scored CSU’s final points on a goal-tending call, and the Marauders fell to the upstart Panthers.
“This is very frustrating. I knew this was a trap game for us. Clark-Atlanta had nothing to lose, and we had to come ready to play,” CSU coach Joseph Price said. He said he doesn’t have a standout player to rely on this season, and had hoped his team would play more as a team against the Panthers.
“It’s not about our opponent. It’s all about us. We struggled from the floor. Very seldom do we shoot above 40 percent, and tonight we shot 33 percent (21-0f-63). And we struggled from the 3-point line. We keep talking about driving and attacking the paint, driving and going inside, but then the game gets going and we end up shooting 23 3’s.
The Marauders (3-6, 3-3 SIAC) converted just seven of those 23 tries (30 percent), and hit just three of 14 in the second half.
The two SIAC teams wound up all even at 33 apiece at the break.
Tre’ Edwards, who led CSU with a 33-point effort on Monday in a win over Fort Valley State, did not score in the first half. Edwards entered the game leading the team with a 13.8 points per game average, but finished with eight against Clark-Atlanta. Similarly, Atlanta’s top scorer — Damien Enoch — was limited to just two points in the opening half.
Smith Jr. led the Marauders with 15 points scored, and Sterling Gilmore finished with 10 in the loss.
Central State stays at home for another contest at the McLin Gymnasium, 3 p.m. Saturday against Morehouse College.
Marauder women fall, 80-58
In the women’s basketball opener, Clark-Atlanta opened up the first half with 78 percent shooting … from the 3-point arc (7-of-9), to jump out to a 46-24 lead at the break, and an eventual 80-58 win.
The visiting Panthers hit another trey in the second half to shoot 80 percent (8-of-10) from behind the arc for the game.
Wright State transfer Kourtni Perry, and Shannon DeFoe led the Marauders with 11 points apiece in the loss.
The Marauders went on a little 9-0 run with about 6 minutes left in the final period of play, to pull within 17 points at 70-53, but couldn’t get any closer.
Central State (3-7, 1-4 SIAC) has now lost its last four games. They Monday play at Marygrove College in Detroit for a 7 p.m. game.
Clark-Atlanta’s Mykala Jones entered the game leading the SIAC in scoring with 22.4 points per game. She had 13 points by halftime, and finished with a game-high 21. Teammate Siera Bubb also is a SIAC leader, in rebounding, with 10.9 boards per contest. She had seven by halftime and finished with a game-high 12.
The Panthers are now (5-9, 3-1 SIAC).
John Bombatch can be reached at (937) 372-4444, Ext. 2123.