The Clark Atlanta University Panthers overcame a 15-point deficit to win their sixth game in a row, defeating Fort Valley State 69-61 Saturday at L.S. Epps Gymnasium.
The Panthers (7-9, 7-1 SIAC) haven’t lost since mid-December – their only conference loss so far this season – and continue to lead the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference East Division race. Fort Valley State falls to 3-12, 1-5 in the SIAC.
Saturday, the Panthers had to deal with a stubborn Wildcats squad that turned a 20-19 lead midway through the first half into a 14-point lead at halftime.
That lead grew to as many as 15 points early in the second half after Malik Clark’s 3-pointer made it 44-29. CAU whittled that lead down to six after Colin Bell’s free throw made it 48-42 with 13:44 remaining. After FVSU increased that lead to ten points at 52-42, Clark Atlanta made another big run.
The Panthers outscored Fort Valley State 12-2 over the next seven minutes to tie the game at 54-54 on Romaine Thomas’two free throws with 6:54 remaining. Thomas’ next basket tied the game again at 56-56, but took the lead for good on Malik Williams’ free throw with just under five minutes remaining.
The Wildcats kept it close, but Clark Atlanta was able to hold them off for the win.
Clark Atlanta only gave up six baskets in the second half and forced 18 turnovers.
Tyler Singleton and Elijah Stewart both had 17 points for CAU. Singleton also had three rebounds and three assists, while Stewart two assists, a steal and a rebound. Thomas finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Williams had eight points. Shannon Smith added seven points while Bell pulled down seven rebounds and had three points.
K’Viontae Williams led Fort Valley State with 18 points, along with seven rebounds. Shawn Foxbrennen added 12 points and seven boards.
The Panthers are off until Monday, Jan. 20 – the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday – when they host Savannah State in L.S. Epps Gymnasium at 8 p.m.