Every time Lane came calling, Paine had an answer.
The Lions came back from a first-half deficit and held on to defeat the Dragons 83-79 in their regular-season finale Wednesday at Carter Gym.
With the win, Paine (12-11 overall, 9-7 in the SIAC) wraps up second place in the Southern Intercollegiate East Division and gains a first-round bye in the SIAC Tournament next week at Morehouse College in Atlanta.
"Lane has an excellent ball club and probably the best guard (Simon Clark) we've faced all season," Paine coach Ron Spry said. "I thought if we could contain their strength, which is shooting the ball, and if we could rebound the ball, then we could win the game."
With the game tied at 10, Lane College went on a 14-3 run, capped by Angelo Jones' 15-footer, to take a 26-15 lead with 8:25 left in the first half.
Clark made a fast-break layup to give Lane a 36-25 lead. But Paine closed the half on a 16-3 run, capped by Mac Young's steal and driving layup, to take a 41-39 lead into halftime.
"We started shooting the ball better right there at the end of the first half. I think that made the difference," Spry said.
Jones converted a three-point play to cut Paine's lead to 65-64. But the Lions went on a 8-0 run, capped by Kevin Marshall's fast-break slam dunk, to take a 73-64 lead with 8:05 remaining.
Clark knocked down a 3-pointer from the right wing to cut the Lions' lead to 77-74. But Maurice Wright made a reverse layup and Young added two free throws to put Paine back up 81-74 with 3:01 left in the game.
Clark nailed yet another 3-pointer to cut Paine's lead to 82-79 with 1:23 remaining, but Christopher Neal sank one of two free throws and the Lions held on for the win.
Sophomore forward Young led Paine with a double-double of 20 points and 14 rebounds. Maurice Wright led the Lions in scoring with 21 points.
"I thought Mac played an outstanding game," Spry said. "He gave us some key baskets inside."
In the women's game, Mary Singleton and Sheri Chambers combined for 39 points and the Lady Lions picked up their second win of the season, defeating Lane College 83-65.
"We came together and played as a team tonight," Lady Lions guard Jameca Hawes said. "Everybody shot well and we took good percentage shots."
Hawes sparked the Lady Lions (2-21, 2-13) with three steals and nine points in the first seven minutes as Paine jumped out to an 18-3 lead.
Hawes knocked down a 17-footer to give Paine a 26-12 lead with 5:37 left in the half.
But Nia Chaffen capped a 16-2 Lane run with a three-point conversion to tie the game at 28-all with 1:24 remaining in the half.
Chambers and Singleton hit a pair of jumpers and the Lady Lions took a 32-29 halftime lead.
Singleton scored eight points during a Paine 14-2 run early in the second half and the Lady Lions went up 52-39 with 13:14 remaining.
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