Charlotte, NC - Fourth seeded Clinton College used a hot shooting first half to build a lead over top seeded Johnson & Wales, and then had to hold off the Wildcats to advance to the finals.
The Golden Bears shot 56.8% from the field, and 46.2% from three in taking as large as a sixteen point halftime lead. Anthony Williams, II was a large part of that attack, scoring 19 first half points for Clinton, who led by 12 points at halftime.
A quick 4-0 spurt to start the half had Clinton poised to run away, but Johnson & Wales responded in a big way. A Majerle Poole three pointer at the 12:43 mark capped off a 26-8 run that saw the Wildcats grab their first lead since the game's opening moments. The two teams battled back and forth over the next 9 minutes, with neither leading by more than one possession until a Cameron Shannon three put Clinton up 5 with just over 2 minutes remaining. Johnson & Wales had a couple of opportunities to tie in the game's final minute, but Clinton made enough plays to hold on for the 98-95 win.
Williams, II led all scorers with 30 points, while Shannon added 20 for the Golden Bears.
Poole paced the Wildcats with 25 points, and C.J. Miller came off the bench to add 18.
Clinton advances to Saturday's EMAC title game where they will face second seeded Apprentice at 3:30pm.