The Clark Atlanta Panthers were down by four points on enemy territory at Forbes Arena with 1:23 remaining in their rematch with the Morehouse Maroon Tigers. The crowd behind their bench was pro-Morehouse and letting them know it every chance they got.
Following a Maroon Tigers miss the Panthers would have as many as three chances to tie or take the lead. They would not and Morehouse would win the game 72-67, completing the season sweep of their rival.
Panthers senior forward Damien Davis, playing in his last game at Forbes Arena and in this rivalry, would miss three consecutive free throws; the first two after a flagrant foul and the next during a one-and-one situation. Morehouse seniors Jordan Wallace (two) and Tyrius Walker (four) would make theirs within the final minute of play and the game would be out of reach.
Walker would finish the game with a game high 27 points and would spend the most time cutting his piece of the net after the game. Four years at Morehouse for him and the two other seniors on the team, Wallace and Martravious Little, injured during the last game between these two teams, are done and now a number one overall seed at the conference tournament awaits.
On playing in and winning his final game at Forbes Arena Walker said, “It feels to do it on senior night. We told coach [Brewer] that we wanted to play Clark Atlanta in the last game of the season. Last year we let one slip away.”
Both teams came into the game on win streaks, both teams were at the top of the SIAC East standings, the last time they played together -on Feb. 8 at L.S. Epps gymnasium- it was a triple overtime classic. What else could the near capacity crowd expect from tonight’s Morehouse College/Clark Atlanta University basketball game? If you guessed another close game then you win a prize. The two best teams in the SIAC took what could be their last chance to play one another and put on another show.
Morehouse opened the game, on senior night no less, by missing their first three shots. The Maroon Tigers would quickly get back on track jumping out to a 9-4 lead on a Tyrius Walker drive. Another Walker layup would put the home team up 11-6. Clark Atlanta would get what could easily be considered unexpected contributions from two players.
First junior guard Jalen Mitchell and then senior center Michael Vigilance, who came into the game averaging 5.3 points per game. He would nearly double that by shooting 3-4 from the field including a three-pointer that brought the Maroon Tigers within a point, 18-17 with eight minutes to play in the first half. Mitchell scored the Panthers first six points of the game and would end the first half with a team high 10 points. Mitchell would lead Clark Atlanta in scoring with 16 points on 8-13 shooting from the field. Davis would score 14 points before fouling out late in the game.
Morehouse kept their lead by making three-pointers, the Maroon Tigers were 8-19 from behind the stripe during the first half and would take a 40-34 lead into the home locker room at halftime.
The Maroon Tigers didn’t waste any time making sure this game doesn’t go to three overtimes taking a 45-36 advantage with 15:30 on the clock. Clark would eventually cut the lead to as little as four points.
The Panthers end the regular season with a 22-5 overall record, 16-4 in SIAC play. The Maroon Tigers are now SIAC East regular season champs and 25-1 with a 19-1 conference record. Next stop Birmingham for the SIAc tournament. Wondering who won that tournament last year: Clark Atlanta.