The Claflin University Panthers had to go the distance in keeping alive their hopes of a homecoming win on Saturday at the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Center.
Nkem Ojeh scored on a layup off an inbound pass with 47 seconds left and the Panther defense held off Fisk University in the closing seconds for an exciting 60-58 win.
The come-from-behind victory extended Claflin's homecoming winning streak to eight games.
Claflin will embark on a three-game road trip, all against Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association teams, starting at Elizabeth City State University on Thursday in a non-conference play followed by Virginia State University on Friday and Virginia Union University on Nov. 25 in conference action.
It was Ojeh’s basket that broke a 58-58 tie after the Panthers rallied from 10 points down at 52-42 with 7:46 left. Claflin pulled even when Brandon Davis hit one-of-two free throws with 1:31 remaining. The Panthers used a 16-6 run in tying the contest.
Ojeh finished the game as the leading scorer with a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds to go with five blocked shots. He was 7-of-11 from the field and 3-for-5 at the charity stripe. Ojeh scored eight of his points and recorded four of his rebounds in the first half.
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Also hitting double-figures for Claflin were Davis, who came off the bench to score 13 points, and Romero Hill with 10 points.
Cornellius Reynolds contributed eight points along with 11 rebounds and eight assists.
Addison Mill was the top scorer for Fisk with 15 points and six rebounds followed by Marcus Summerville at 13 points.
Both teams finished the game under the 40-percent mark from the floor as Claflin was 35-for-59 (39%) and Fisk at 20-for-55 (36.4%).
The Panthers held the advantage in rebounding at 48-30.
In the first half, the contest was tied at 18-18 with 7:50 showing on the clock before Fisk went ahead on a basket by Miller. The score provided Fisk with a 20-18 lead at the 7:17 mark. The Bulldogs later pushed the two-point cushion to 28-21 with 3:13 left, thanks to in an 8-3 run.
Claflin managed to decrease Fisk's lead to 30-25 at the intermission by scoring four of the last six points of the half.
Three-point shooting was the difference in the first half as Fisk was 5-of-13 (38.5%) while the Panthers hit just one basket in eight attempts (12.5 %).