YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. -- The Claflin University Panthers withstood a late second-half surge in defeating Young Harris College, 69-62, in an NCAA Division II men’s basketball game Wednesday.
With the non-conference win, Claflin improves to 6-1 overall and extend its early-season win streak to five games.
Young Harris dropped to 1-4 on the season.
Jaleel Charles and Benjamin “Tre” Williams led a balanced scoring attack for the Panthers with 12 points each, while Triston Thompson and Austin Lawton contributed 10 points apiece.
Lawton led Claflin on the defensive end with a game-high 11 rebounds and four blocked shots. He also dished out four assists.
Tyler Thompson added seven points for the Panthers in the win.
Young Harris was led by J.B. Charles with 16 points.
In the second half, Claflin outscored Young Harris 17-14 to increase a 35-29 halftime lead to 52-43 with 11:11 left in the game.
Young Harris rallied to within three, 58-55, with 7:05 left, thanks to a 12-6 run, but the Panthers responded by scoring the next four points to go up 62-55 with 2:25 left.
Young Harris could get no closer than five points the rest of the way with the last being at 67-62 with five seconds left.
In the first half, Young Harris scored seven of the game’s first nine points for a 7-2 lead at the 17:03 mark.
A three-pointer by Albert Miller capped off an 11-4 run by Claflin, giving the Panthers a 13-11 lead with 11:08 showing on the clock.
Over the next eight minutes, the lead would change hands five times before Charles put Claflin ahead for good in the half. Charles’ basket at the 2:57 mark provided the Panthers with a 28-27 advantage.
The Panthers ended the period on a 7-2 run behind the scoring of Charles, who scored five points during the stretch.
Claflin will return to the hardwood Thursday (Nov. 30), traveling to Albany State University for a Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) East Division matchup.
The contest is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. inside West Campus Arena.
The Panthers will enter the contest as one of four teams with 2-0 divisional records. The group includes Claflin, Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University and Fort Valley State University.
Albany State is winless on the season at 0-7 and 0-2 in the division.
The Panthers won last year’s meeting in Orangeburg by a score 83-68, but fell to the Golden Rams during the 2015-16 season 68-67.
Claflin holds a 4-2 advantage over the last six games.