Paine keeps it up

With his team's fourth one-point win in the past three weeks, Paine coach Ron Spry said the Lions are learning how to do one thing in particular.


"How to give me a heart attack," he said.

Paine's cardiac kids pulled it out once again Thursday night, surviving a late Clark Atlanta charge for a 69-68 victory.

"It's tough on a coach when you're winning by one or two points," Spry said. "But that's the way it's goes."

Almost blowing a 14-point halftime lead, Paine held on to move above .500 for the first time this season. The Lions (10-9, 9-6) won for the seventh time in their past eight outings, excluding the controversial contest at LeMoyne-Owen in January.

In that game, all but four LeMoyne-Owen players were ejected at the end of the first half, and the school refused to play the second half. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference had yet to give an official ruling.

After defeating Tuskegee by one in double overtime Tuesday night, Paine returned to its friendly confines.

At Carter Gym, the Lions shot 40 percent from the floor and converted 13 of 14 free-throw attempts, each foul shot critical down the stretch.

Clark Atlanta (9-11, 8-6) rallied from a 14-point deficit early in the second half with its perimeter game. The Panthers converted seven second-half 3-pointers, tying the game at 59 on Kevin Johnson's 3 from the top of the key.

Paine's Julian English, who shot 2-for-16 from the floor, went 8-for-8 from the line for 13 points. His two free throws with 2:19 remaining gave the Lions a three-point lead.

With 37.9 seconds left, Jason Smalls, a 46 percent free-throw shooter, knocked down both attempts to again give Paine a three-point lead.

"It was critical we made those free throws," Spry said. "It gave us a little room, a little leverage."

Johnson later drained two free throws, part of his game-high 17 points, to pull the Panthers within one. Twice, Paine's Najee Tolbert tried to inbound the ball. The first time, he called timeout. The second time, the referees assessed a five-second violation.

With 16 seconds remaining, Clark Atlanta inbounded the ball deep in Paine territory. Johnson dumped the ball inside to Garry Beverly who fumbled it but recovered. He dished out to Jourdain Blackmon for an open 14-foot attempt. Blackmon missed long. The buzzer sounded and Paine somehow had survived.

"That's what we had to have," Spry said. "I give a lot to Clark Atlanta for coming back."

Marcus McDaniel knocked down three 3-pointers to lead Paine with 15 points. Jerome Nicholson grabbed 15 rebounds and posted eight points.



CLARK ATLANTA (9-11, 8-6)--Paul Nickerson 1-4 0-0 2, Kevin Johnson 5-14 2-2 17, Najee Lane 3-10 0-0 7, Ale Burt 4-10 0-0 9, Garry Beverly 2-4 5-9 9, Jahlani Heath 0-0 0-0 0, Kevin Townley 1-1 0-0 2, Jourdain Blackmon 3-6 2-2 10, Johnathan McCottrell 1-2 0-0 2, Niinotrey Annag 3-10 2-4 9, Julius Sudds 0-1 1-2 1. Totals: 23-62 12-19 68.

PAINE (10-9, 9-6)--Joshua Adams 3-6 0-0 8, Marcus McDaniel 6-9 3-3 15, Anthony Ogunleye 0-1 0-0 0, Jerome Nicholson 4-7 0-0 8, Jason Smalls 2-5 3-4 7, Najee Tolbert 2-6 2-2 6, Julian English 2-16 8-8 13, Thomas Broughton 2-3 0-0 4, Curtravious Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Donald Harris 2-5 0-0 4, Alan Walker 0-0 0-0 0, Daniel Walden 2-4 0-0 4, Thomas Broughton 2-3 0-0 4. Totals: 25-62 13-14 69.

Halftime: Paine 39-25 3-point goals: Clark Atlanta 10-24 (Nickerson 0-2, Johnson 5-11, Lane 1-2, Burt 1-2, Blackmon 2-3, Annag 1-4), Paine 6-17 (Adams 2-5, McDaniel 3-3, Ogunleye 0-1, Tolbert 0-2, English 1-6). Rebounds: Clark Atlanta 34 (Burt 7), Paine 45 (Nicholson 15). Assists: Clark Atlanta 11 (Johnson 4), Paine 16 (English 5). Turnovers: Clark Atlanta 8, Paine 13. Fouls: Clark Atlanta 9, Paine 14. Fouled out: none. A-976.