What a difference a game makes.
The Clark Atlanta University Panthers men’s basketball team (If you were wondering the women’s team is also nicknamed the Panthers, not “Lady Panthers) lost in their fifth game of this season 81-64 at the University of Alabama at Huntsville and have yet to lose another game en route to their current 18-1 overall record and 10-0 SIAC record.
On Jan. 22 the Morehouse Maroon Tigers won their closest game of the season, winning by a point in overtime, 103-102, over visiting Benedict College despite some fans receiving a technical foul late in the game for running on court. The fans, more of whom have been coming to the games since the team has begun their school-record 18-game win streak to start the season, were thrown into a frenzy after Maroon Tigers senior guard Tyrius Walker scored a crucial basket to give Morehouse the lead they would need to ultimately win the game.
The two men’s basketball programs of the Atlanta University Center (AUC) are separated by one game in the standings and will get a chance to meet at L.S. Epps Gymnasium on the Clark Atlanta side of the border on Thursday, Feb. 8 to settle the first of their two annual grievances. Before that however there’s the small order of each team playing two road games. Just call it the calm before the storm.
Despite being in long win streak, or maybe because of it, the teams both Clark Atlanta and Morehouse are facing this week -and their fans- will be looking at these games as much more than just regular season affairs. For a few of the teams it’s the game they had marked on their schedules for quite some time. Who doesn’t want to be the team to give Morehouse their first loss of the season. After all they, are at the moment at least, the only undefeated Division I or Division II men’s basketball team in America.
The Maroon Tigers will open their week on Wednesday at Claflin University, who they defeated in Atlanta 86-75 on Jan. 20. Walker led the Maroon Tigers with 29 points in that game followed by 20 points from fellow senior guard Matravious Little with 20 points. Morehouse will be off for a few days before traveling to Columbia, South Carolina to play Benedict College for the second and final time this season.
Clark Atlanta will also be meeting up with two familiar foes when they open their week at Paine College on Monday. Earlier this season on Nov. 30 in Atlanta the Panthers defeated the Lions by 19 points. Four Panthers were in double-figures that game led by junior transfer and Chicago native Jalen Mitchell with 17 points.
On Saturday, Feb. 2 the Panthers will have their rematch with the Benedict College Tigers. The two teams met in Atlanta back on Jan. 20 with Clark Atlanta pulling away late in a 78-75 victory. Juniors Jamal Pollydore and Shelvick Henry led the way during that contest with 19 and 13 points, respectively.
Three days later on Monday, Feb. 5 the Panthers will get their second look at the Claflin who they defeated 97-82 on Jan. 22.
If all goes as expected the old AUC rivals will return to Atlanta undefeated in conference with all eyes on one of the teams most certainly coming out the rivalry with a brand new loss on their records. The other will be sitting on top of the conference standings with a still spotless league record.