ELIZABETH CITY, NC (Dec. 3, 2018) – Elizabeth City State rode bullet-proof free throw shooting down the stretch and 3-point field goal accuracy to a 77-69 win over Claflin in the Vikings’ CIAA opener in the Robert L. Vaughan Center.
Junior forward John Maynor, who netted a game-high 22 points, connected on six of 11 jumpers from beyond the arc, while senior guard Shyheid Petteway sank 12 of 14 free throws on his way to 20 points and a team-high seven rebounds as ECSU (3-5, CIAA 1-0) snapped a four-game skid while handing Claflin (2-7, CIAA 1-3) its fifth straight defeat. The Panthers are in their first year as a CIAA member.
Petteway drained four free throws in as many tries in the final 26 seconds to cap a 14-6 closing run by ECSU.
A conventional 3-point play by Panther center Austin Lawton knotted the score at 63-63 with 3:49 remaining the tightly-contested battle. Lawton finished with a team-high 21 points and six rebounds.
But the Vikings made all eight of their free throw chances while Maynor and sophomore guard Justin Faison chipped in 3-point jumpers over the final 3:35 to pull away from the visitors. Sophomore guard Shykeef Daniels sank a pair of charity tosses ahead of the treys by Maynor and Faison to push the Vikings’ lead to 71-65 with 1:22 left. Then Faison dropped in two free throws ahead of Petteway’s final four one-pointers to up the ECSU advantage to 77-67 with 12 seconds on the clock.
The Vikings shot 53.1 per cent from the floor, knocking down nine of 19 shots from long range, and connected on 16 of 21 free throws.
Daniels finished with a dozen points and seven assists while junior center Tyjhai Byers tallied 12 points and six rebounds. Sophomore guard Orlando Robinson tied Daniels with a game-high seven assists.
Junior swingman Jaimik Moore netted 14 points for the Panthers while junior forward Cornellius Reynolds added six points and a game-high eight rebounds.
Petteway gave the Vikings a 27-25 halftime edge by pumping in a 3-point jumper from the left elbow with 2:27 remaining in the period, breaking a drought of 5 minutes and 41 seconds without a field goal for ECSU. Maynor, who gunned in three of six jumpers from long range in the opening 20 minutes, connected on a layup and a trey ahead of a tip-in by junior center Joseph Allen at the 10:48 mark to cap a 7-0 rally and give the Vikings a 21-10 lead.
But the Panthers answered with an 11-0 run behind six points from Lawton. A 3-point jumper by junior forward Rodney Pritchard started the spurt with sophomore guard Brandon Davis scoring inside with 3:38 left in the half to square the score at 23-23.
The Vikings are back in action in the Vaughan Center tomorrow night, hosting Catawba in a non-conference clash at 7:30. Catawba took an 86-65 decision over ECSU in Salisbury on Nov. 17 to start a four-game slide for the Vikings. Claflin hosts Virginia Union in a CIAA doubleheader on Thursday. The women’s game tips off at 5:30 p.m. with the men to follow at 7:30.