Lawton scores 22 points as Claflin defeats Paine

Orangeburg, S.C. — Austin Lawton tied a season-high of 22 points and pulled down 10 rebounds as Claflin University defeated Paine College 66-53 in a Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) East Division contest Monday.

The win wrapped up 21-6 regular season record for Claflin, its best since the 2008-9 season where the Panthers posted a 25-4 mark and participated in the NCAA Division II National tournament.

The Panthers, which finished third in the SIAC East Division at 14-5, also enjoyed a program-best 16-game winning streak during the season.

Claflin will take a seven-day break before taking part in the SIAC Tournament slated for Mar. 3 in Birmingham, Ala at the CrossPlex Complex.

Lawton also scored 22 points against Miles College earlier in the season for Claflin. He also blocked two shots in the win, giving him 54 for the season.

Two other players scored in double-figures for the Panthers with Triston Thompson contributing 14 points and five assists, followed by Jaleel Charles at 13 points and nine rebounds.

Benjamin “Tre; Williams added eight points and seven rebounds for Claflin.

Paine was led by Malcolm Whittington with 12 points and Fadil Robinson at 10.

After leading 39-21 at the half, the Panthers held a double-digit lead until Paine cut the lead to 49-40 with 10:42 left. Paine could get no closer as the Panthers reeled off eight straight points for a 57-40 lead with 6:34 left.

Paine did mange to outscore the 13-9 over the last six minutes of the game.

Following a three-point baskets by Paine’s Babe Murphy and Claflin Triston Thompson, the Panthers scored 12 unanswered points. The scoring spree by the Claflin offense gave the Panthers a 15-3 lead at the 14:25 mark.

Over the next 6:10, Paine put together a 12-6 run to close the gap at 21-15 with 8:15 showing on the clock.

The six-point deficit would be the closest for the Lion as Claflin reeled off 18 of the final 24 point of the half to lead 39-21 at the half.

Claflin Athletics contributed to the writing of this article.

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