CAU upset at home after a walk-off buzzer beater to Albany State in a 63-62 thriller.

Updated: Mar 13, 2021

The Golden Rams (13-11, 10-5) traveled to CAU (11-13, 11-5) to battle the Panthers for the division crown in the SIAC East.

CAU's #20 Shannon Smith in disbelief after the game-winning basket.

Photo taken by Derrian Carter.

 

In a divisional classic, the CAU Panthers (11-14, 11-6) lost in heartbreak fashion as the Albany State University Rams (14-11, 11-5) won 63-62 on a buzzer beater alley-oop on CAU’s senior night at L.S. Epps Gymnasium on Feb. 17.



Last time these two teams played, the Rams defeated the Panthers in a 74-71 nail biter in Albany, Georgia. Coming into the matchup, the Panthers were red hot looking to extend their win streak to five, while the Golden Rams aimed to snap their two-game losing streak. This game had significant SIAC Tournament implications as the winner of this game

CAU head coach George Lynch making would lead the SIAC East.

adjustments during the game.

Photo taken by Derrian Carter.


The first half included heavyweight exchanges from two of the best teams in the SIAC. Both teams went on runs to extend their lead or to comeback in the matchup. Despite the back and forth, the first half for CAU featured poor offense. At the end of the first half, the team had 11 turnovers and were shooting 7-25 (28%) from the field, while Albany State had four turnovers and shot 13-28 (46.4%) from the field. Further, CAU’s Romaine Thomas, who leads CAU in scoring and rebounding, had scored zero points and only grabbed one board. However, the Panthers were able to overcome those challenges by out rebounding the Rams 24-11 as a team and by making four more 3-pointers than the Rams.


To start the second half, the Rams came out swinging and looking for the knockout. They started the half on a 7-0 run and near the halfway mark of the half, extended the lead to 14. CAU’s poor shooting from the field continued, while Albany State was efficient from the field. But, the Panthers found new life sparked by a 12-2 run led by CAU’s Shannon Smith and Javonte Sterling that cut the lead to four. Smith finished the contest with 15 points, shooting 5-9 (55.6%) from the field, and three assists, while Sterling had eight points and four rebounds. The game went down to the wire with constant lead changes and back and forth buckets. The Panthers took their first lead of the night after a Thomas 3-pointer with under four minutes left in the game, but the Rams scored again to make the game tied at 59-59 with 1:23 left. After struggling in the first half, Thomas finished the game strong with 11 points, six rebounds and two steals.


In the final moments of the game, CAU’s Tyler Singleton was fouled and went to the free throw line with the game tied 61-61. He missed both free throws, but he had a chance at redemption as a lane violation was called on the Rams.


Singleton missing the first of two free throws with the game on the line.

Photo taken by Derrian Carter.


He knocked down the extra free throw to give the Panthers the one point lead. Singleton finished the night leading CAU in scoring with 18 points along with three assists and four steals. Despite the Panthers’ effort, Albany State’s Kamil Brown inbounded an alley-oop to Randy McClure with 1.1 seconds on the clock to win the game and to take command of the SIAC East. Fans of Albany State ran on the court to congratulate their team, while CAU fans and players were in complete heartbreak and utter disbelief. CAU had many opportunities late in the game to put the game away, but ultimately it didn’t happen.


CAU will have to get over the crushing loss as they finish the season on a two game road stretch before the SIAC Tournament. They face Savannah State University and Fort Valley State as they aim to reestablish momentum for the SIAC Tournament.

 

This story has been originally published in Clark Atlanta University's student newspaper - the Panther. For inquiries, email James McJunkins: jamesolaf@comcast.net

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