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Morehouse survives second half rally in win over Clark Atlanta

2017-2018 Basketball

Morehouse survives second half rally in win over Clark Atlanta

Tournament atmosphere for the Morehouse and Clark Atlanta season finale.

When Morehouse and Clark Atlanta played each other two weeks ago in a packed-out Epps Gymnasium, it took three overtimes to decide a winner.

In the sequel, the Tigers withstood a strong run by the Panthers down the stretch to win 72-67 Thursday night in a standing-room-only Forbes Arena.

CAU’s late comeback attempt fell just short it nearly came back after being down 17 points in the second half.

With the win, Morehouse (24-1, 18-1) secured the top seed in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) tournament, completed the season sweep against its neighboring rival, remained unbeaten at home for the season and became the eastern division champs in the conference.

Walker’s Farewell

Tyrius Walker – the SIAC’s leading scorer averaging nearly 24 points per game – scored 21 of his total 27 points in the second half to lead the Tigers in scoring, followed by James Walker with 12 points, who went 4-of-7 from three-point range.

Leading 40-34, both teams struggled to score as neither team scored in the first three in a half minutes into the second half. Walker knocked down the first of his two three-pointers in the second half to put the Tigers up 43-34. After the two teams exchanged baskets over the next few series, Morehouse held a 47-40 lead.

Following a timeout with 13:54 to play, the Panthers cut the deficit to five but the Tigers went on an 11-2 run behind the play of Walker, Michael Olmert, and Keith Heard to take a commanding 61-44 lead.

Panthers clawing back

Morehouse was in full control but CAU would make a run of its own. Trailing by 17 – due to the Tigers gritty zone defense – the Panthers slowly began to chip away at the Tigers lead.

Damien Davis, who finished with 14 points, took advantage of a weakness by Morehouse in the paint by hitting back-to-back buckets to bring the deficit to 11. After a timeout with 7:46 to play in the game, the Panthers went on a 12-4 run as Shelvick Henry and Akil Douglas hit clutch baskets. CAU trailed 65-63.

With momentum in favor of the Panthers, Walker silenced the CAU crowd, finishing on a layup to put the Tigers back up by four. After a timeout with 1:07 to play, Davis – who had a chance to bring the deficit within two – missed a pair of clutch free throws.

As a result, Walker would go on to covert five free throws to seal the victory for the Tigers.

Morehouse finished the game, shooting 40 percent off 26-of-65 shooting from the field. CAU shot 45 percent off 29-of-64 shooting from the field in the game. Jalen Mitchell led the Panthers in scoring 16 points, followed by Davis with 14 and Henry with 10.

Morehouse jumped out to an early 13-8 lead to begin the game.  After an early timeout, the Panthers regrouped and scored six straight points to take its only lead of the game, 14-13. That lead, however, was short-lived as the Panthers never led again in the game, despite keeping the game close in the first half. Morehouse led by six at halftime.

The SIAC Tournament begins Monday in Birmingham, Alabama, and will run through March 3. All games will be live-streamed on the HBCU Gameday digital platform.

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