Clayton State men drop tough 72-70 decision at in-state rival Columbus State
COLUMBUS, Ga. – December 19, 2011 – Aiming to go off on the holiday break on a winning note, the Clayton State Laker men's basketball team dropped a tough 72-70 decision in Peach Belt Conference action at in-state rival Columbus State on Monday.
The defeat snaps a five-game winning streak for Clayton State, which falls to 7-2 overall and 1-1 in the Peach Belt. Columbus State improves to 6-4 overall and 1-1 in the Peach Belt. Clayton State has now dropped five straight to Columbus State at the Lumpkin Center.
"The last four minutes did not go our way, and we didn't allow it to go our way," said Clayton State head coach Gordon Gibbons. "All conference games are going to come down to the wire, and you have to be in position to win. It was a very disappointing ending for our team."
The Lakers and Cougars played toe-to-toe in the first half as Clayton State shot 46 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range. And for the second time in three games, Anthony Salter ended the half with a long 3-point basket for the Lakers as the score was tied 40-40 at halftime.
In the second half, however, Clayton State was its own worst enemy on the free throw line and on the glass. The Lakers missed 11 free throws and were out-rebounded by 10 rebounds.
Still, Clayton State used a 12-2 run at the midway point of the second half to lead by six points. Bradley Tumer and Reco Lewis both converted lay-ups to give Clayton State a one-point lead, and a 3-point play by center Tim Budd gave the Lakers a 53-48 lead at the 13:08 mark.
Salter's jumper from the free throw line gave Clayton State a 56-50 lead with 9:59 remaining.
Columbus State battled back to tie it on two Darius McKnight free throws, and then took a 62-59 lead on a 3-point basket by Winford Ivey with 5:22 remaining. However, the Lakers answered on their ensuing possession as Tony Dukes tied it with a 3-point basket.
There were two lead changes and two ties before Salter gave Clayton State a 70-69 lead with a minute remaining. On Columbus State's ensuing possession, the Lakers gained the defensive stop on a missed jumper by Ivey. But Steve Peterson kept the Cougars' hopes alive with the offensive rebound, and then converted the key 3-point play with 35 seconds remaining.
Clayton State had a chance to tie with two seconds remaining, but center Andrew Bachanov missed two free throws.
"Those two things hurt us in the second half – we got out-rebounded and missed free throws," Gibbons said. "When that happens, you better make the play in the end, and we didn't make it."
Salter scored a career-high 21 points for the Lakers, followed by Teondre Williams with 18 points. Dukes added nine points. For Columbus State, Peterson scored 19 points, followed by Idell Bell with 18 points and McKnight added 12 points.
Clayton State is off for the holiday break. The Lakers return to action on Dec. 29 with the Heritage Bank Holiday Classic at Clayton State, playing host to Limestone.