College men’s basketball: Williams leads Claflin to rivalry win

Published 12:06 am Friday, February 3, 2023


Staff report

COLUMBIA, S.C — Carson graduate Jailen Williams had another terrific basketball game for Claflin University on Thursday.

It was an HBCU rivalry game, with Claflin making the short trip of about 45 miles from Orangeburg to Columbia to play Benedict College at Benjamin Mays HRC Arena.

It was a big enough game that 2,200 fans came out for the Thursday non-conference affair.

It was a low-scoring struggle with lots of defense and ugly shooting percentages.

Claflin improved to 16-4 despite shooting 31 percent. Benedict (13-9) shot 32,3 percent.

Williams scored 18 points with respectable 5-for-12 shooting. He made one 3-pointer and hit all seven of his free throws. He also had eight rebounds.

It’s been quite a comeback in 2022-23 for Williams, who didn’t play the last two seasons. He leads Claflin in scoring with 12.5 points per game and the 6-foot guard averages 5.2 rebounds per game.

Williams  leads Claflin in steals and assists and is making a good case for team MVP and a place on the All-CIAA squad.

Claflin will play at home on Saturday against Livingstone. The Blue Bears beat Claflin 96-95 in overtime in a mid-January game played in Salisbury, despite Williams’ 25 points and 10 rebounds.

Saturday’s Claflin-Livingstone men’s game will have an unusual starting time of 3 p.m. to accommodate television. The Black College Sports Network is broadcasting the game.

The women’s game will be played at noon.