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Panthers look to

continue success at home 

The Claflin University Panthers return to the confines of Tullis Arena following a four-game road trip to play Virginia Union University on Thursday in a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) basketball contest at 7:30 p.m.

It will be Faculty and Staff Appreciation Day.

Claflin enters the matchup at 2-7 overall and 1-3 in the CIAA. Both of the Panthers' wins this season came at home, over Tuskegee University (64-51) and against fellow CIAA member Saint Augustine’s University (83-71). The other home appearance for Claflin resulted in a 95-92 overtime loss to an undefeated Limestone College team.

The Panthers are averaging 73.8 points per game offensively and yielding 75.0 on the defensive side.

Danny Brown is the top offensive weapon for Claflin at 14.9 points per game along with a team-high 19 three-pointers. He hit a career-high six three-pointers and scored 22 points against Shaw University last month.

Triston Thompson and Jaimik Moore share the next scoring spot for Panthers at 12.4 point apiece. Thompson leads the team in two categories, free throw shooting at 86.8 percent (46-of-53) and steals with 40.

Another plus for Claflin has been the return of preseason All-CIAA selection Austin Lawton, who dropped in a team-high 21 points against Elizabeth City State University the last time out. Lawton was 6-of-11 from the field and 9-of-10 at the free throw line.

Another offensive sparkplug for the Panthers has been the outside shooting of Rodney Prichard with 10 three-pointers. Prichard was a perfect 3-for-3 from three-point range against Chowan University last week, marking the second time this season he accomplished the feat.

Virginia Union, 3-4 on the season, suffered a 92-72 setback at home to Queen University of Charlotte on Monday (Dec. 3).

The Virginia Union offense is generating 70.9 points per outings, while its defense is giving up just 70.4 points.

Demarius Pitts leads the team in scoring with 17.6 points followed by Williams Jenkins at 13.4 points.

Another key player for Virginia Union is Jemal Smith, who dished out 21 assists in leading Virginia Union past Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, 93-68. He has recorded 50 assists this season and averages 8.4 points.

Following the meeting with Virginia Union, Claflin will travel to Saint Augustine’s University for another CIAA contest on Saturday before returning home next Tuesday (Dec. 11) to host Virginia State University.

Lady Panthers set to

host nationally-ranked

VUU squad Thursday

The Claflin University women’s basketball team return home after a four-game road swing to host nationally-ranked Virginia Union University in a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) contest. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. on Thursday in Tullis arena on the Claflin campus.

It will be Faculty and Staff Appreciation Day.

Claflin, which is coming off a 47-45 victory over Elizabeth City State University on Monday, enters the matchup at 5-4 overall and 3-1 in the CIAA. Ashley Fields hit the game-winning shot off an offensive rebound as time expired. The win over Elizabeth City State snapped a three-game losing streak for the Lady Panthers.

Fields continues to lead the Lady Panthers in scoring and rebounding at 15.7 points and 6.0 rebounds. She has scored in double-figures in all but two of Claflin contests. Fields is also shooting 50 percent from the field and 61 percent from the charity stripe.

The Lady Panthers, who are averaging 61.3 points per outing and allowing 67.2 points per game, have three players averaging in double figures as Dashia Jackson and Deja Dickens are averaging 11.9 and 11.1, respectively. Jackson and Dickens are shooting .341 and .323 percent, respectively from three-point range.

Freshman Dionna Long is averaging 8.4 points and 71.4 percent from the charity stripe off the bench. She also leads the team in three-point shooting at 36 percent.

Virginia Union, ranked 5th in the D2SIDA Women’s Basketball National Poll, brings an 8-0 overall record into the contest. This is the conference-opener. In their lasting outing Virginia Union cruised past Benedict College, 81-50, in the Winston-Salem State University Red-White Classic.

The Virginia Union offense, which is led by Shareka McNeill at 23.3 points per outing, is generating 79.5 points while its defense is giving up only 54.1 points.

Jasmine Carter and Nicole Floyd are also averaging in double-figures at 11.9 points. Carter is averaging a double-double, pulling in 10.4 boards per contest.

Following the meeting with Virginia Union, Claflin will travel to Saint Augustine’s University for another CIAA contest on Saturday, before returning home next Tuesday (Dec. 11) to host Virginia State University.

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