JACKSON, Tenn. -- Jaleel Charles led all players with 18 points and 10 rebounds as the Claflin University Panthers opened Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play on a successful note, defeating Lane College, 63-57, Saturday at the JF Gymnasium in Jackson, Tenn.
With the win, Claflin improved to 4-1, its best start under head coach Ricky Jackson. Jackson’s Panthers opened the 2015-16 season 3-0.
Claflin, 1-0 in the SIAC, will look to extend its win streak to four games on Monday at LeMoyne-Owen in Memphis, Tenn.
Charles, the Panthers 6-8 center, has scored in double-figures in all five games this season. The 18 points performance is one-point shy of a season-high 19 points scored against the University of Auburn at Montgomery in the Panthers season-opener.
Charles also leads the team in rebounding at 9.4 a game along with 14 blocked shots. He had three blocks against Lane.
Three other players scored in double-figures for the Panthers as guard Benjamin “Tre” Williams dropped in 11 points, including 7-of-8 from the free throw line, while Jordan Jones also added 11 points off the bench.
Austin Lawton rounded out double-digit scoring for Claflin with 10 points.
Kobie Williams came off the bench to pull down eight rebounds for the Panthers.
Lane, 1-2, was led in scoring by Kendarius Ash with 12 points and a game-high 16 rebounds.
In the first half, “Tre” Williams broke a 24-24 tie with a free throw at the 4:50, giving the Panthers the 25-24 lead. He added another free throw 11 seconds later putting Claflin up by two, 26-24, at the 4:39 mark.
The Panthers maintain a two-point cushion, the last being 28-26 with 3:20 left in the half, before outscoring Lane 7-3 to end the half with a six-point lead, 35-29.
The second half saw both teams scored 28 points apiece.
Lane outscored Claflin 16-8 to start the second period to take a 45-43 lead 9:36 left.
Over the next five minutes, there would be three lead changes before the Panthers gained control for good at 54-53 off a free-throw by Charles with 4:53 left.
Claflin outscored Lane 9-4 the rest of the way en route to the victory.