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Livingstone men fall to Claflin on Senior Night, 85-77

Staff report

SALISBURY — A solid Senior Night performance by guard Roger Ray was not enough, as Livingstone fell to Claflin, 85-78, in CIAA men’s basketball action Wednesday night at New Trent Gym.

Ray, playing his last home game on the court where he became Livingstone’s all-time leading scorer, scored 25 points in the loss. He made 8-of-15 shots from the floor, including 3-of-5 from the 3-point arc. He also sank 6-of-7 free throws.

However, Claflin (12-15, 8-8 CIAA) put four players in double-figure scoring, led by Cornellius Reynolds’ 22 points. Red-shirt freshman Jailen Williams, who starred locally at Carson High School, returned home to score a career-high 15 points — on 6-of-10 shooting.

Letrell West (13) and Nkem Ojeh (12) were the other two Panthers in double figures. As a team, Claflin shot 52 percent from the field (31-of-60).

Meanwhile, Livingstone (12-15, 5-11) also shot over 50 percent (31-of-59), but much of it came in the second half, as the Blue Bears were trying to big out of a big first-half hole.

Claflin raced out to an 18-point lead (33-15) in the first half and coach James Stinson’s Blue Bears spent the rest of the contest in catch-up mode.

The Panthers led at halftime, 41-32, and built the lead back to 12 points on a 3-pointer by Reynolds at the 12:58-mark.

Claflin then led by 14 points (72-58) with 4:21 left, before Livingstone went on a furious rally. Behind Ray and Lydell Elmore, the Blue Bears outscored the visitors the rest of the way, 20-13, but they still came up short.

Elmore followed Ray in the LC scoring with 15 points, while Martel Handley added 10.

NOTE: Livingstone returns to action on Saturday for its regular-season finale — at Winston-Salem State (2 p.m.). … The CIAA Tournament begins next week in Charlotte.

CLAFLIN (85) — Ojeh 12, Reynolds 22, Williams 15, West 13, Frayer 2, Hill 9, Davis 6, Britt 4, Johnson 2, Prichard, Jenkins.

LIVINGSTONE (78) — Ray 25, Lewis 6, Fykes 6, Tate 3, Patterson, N. Elmore 2, L. Elmore 15, Carpenter 5, Handley 10, Smith 6, McCrae.

Claflin              41     44 — 85

Livingstone   32     46 — 78

Information obtained from Claflin athletics’ website.

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