By TYRAN GRAHAM
It was the fourth quarter, late, and the crowd’s attention focused only on Claflin University with the ball.
The Panthers were down by three, when out of nowhere there was a time out called for the team to regather itself. As the game started back, there were 8.7 seconds left on the clock.
Out of the corner of the three-point line, the point guard stepped up with the ball. You could see nothing but determination in his eyes. He took the time to focus on the shot.
All you could hear was the crowd noise growing intently as he jumped. The ball slowly rolled off his finger and he fell to the ground with nothing but hope and a prayer behind his shot. The ball slowly floated through the air as the clock counted down the time before the ball hit the rim. The crowd strained to see if the shot was going to fall in. The ball rolled around the rim as if it were trying to make a decision for itself. After 1.4 more seconds fell off the clock, the ball gracefully fell into the net.
Most would think this would be enough to end a game, but it was only enough to send these hard-working players into overtime with their rivals from Benedict College. They had 5 more minutes to make their mark on the game.
And that’s when the player known as “Q” (Quinton Nance) decided to step up and make a difference, making two consecutive three-point shots followed by several two-pointers as Claflin marched on to an 80-76 victory against Benedict College on Feb. 20 at Jonas T. Kennedy Center.
Q finished the game with a team-high 24 points, followed by Kendall Jackson with 13 points and eight rebounds. Also scoring in double figures for the Panthers was Jarrod Denard with 12 points.
After falling Feb. 24 to Fort Valley State, Claflin is 10-18 overall and 7-11 in the conference heading to the SIAC tournament next week. Panther photo Kyree Simon