By Matt Green
ATLANTA – Anthony Banks scored 20 points, Dedric Ware narrowly missed out on a triple double with 11 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds and the Shorter University men's basketball team rolled to an 83-67 victory over host Clark Atlanta on Saturday afternoon.
Shorter (6-2) asserted itself early and never let up against the Panthers (0-6), who remained winless and never challenged a Hawks' team eager to make up for a tough outing at West Georgia last Saturday.
C.J. Davis poured in 18 points on six 3-pointers and Brandon Pullman chipped in with 16 on 7-for-10 shooting for the Hawks, who appeared to have moved on nicely from a rough performance in last week's upset loss.
Against Clark Atlanta, the Hawks looked to be back in form -- every bit the team that ascended to the NAIA's No. 1 ranking and won a school record 34 games last season.
Up 10-8 early in the first half, the Hawks embarked on what essentially served as a game-clinching 16-2 flurry. Davis hit a 3, Ware knocked down a pull up jumper in transition and Pullman converted a fast break layup to cap the run and put Shorter ahead 26-10 with 7:26 to go until halftime.
Shorter led by as much as 17 in the opening half, took a 44-30 lead into the halftime locker room and after Clark Atlanta pulled within 48-38 early in the second stanza, went on a 14-4 tear capped by another Davis 3 to make it 62-42 with just under 10 minutes to go.
Clark Atlanta never got closer than 14 the rest of the way.
Shorter dominated every statistical category to score the runaway triumph.
The Hawks shot 58 percent for the game and held the Panthers to 32 percent shooting. Shorter outrebounded Clark Atlanta, forced 15 CAU turnovers and assisted on 22 of its 29 made field goals.
So dominant were the Hawks inside that Banks scored 14 first half points on perfect 6-for-6 shooting. Shorter's inside duo of Banks and Pullman combined to miss just four shots in 19 attempts, and when they weren't punishing the Clark Atlanta defense, Davis provided long range firepower, making six of his 10 tries from beyond the arc.
Ware was all over the court for Shorter, pushing in transition to create easy opportunities for his teammates. It was his second double digit assist performance as a Hawk and the nine rebounds were a career high for the sophomore.
Walter Hill made his 2012-13 debut and finished with seven points on 2 of 9 shooting, but the Hawks didn't have to lean on the All-American to take care of business in this one. It was Hill's first action since leading Shorter to last year's NAIA Fab Four.
Jerrel Joye led Clark Atlanta with 22 points. Johnnel Young and Glyndelle Poole scored 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the Panthers in defeat.
Shorter returns to action next Wednesday, December 12 when it travels across the country to take on Western Oregon.