North Georgia rallies late, edges Clayton State men in 69-68 squeaker
MORROW, Ga. – January 3, 2012 – The Clayton State Laker men's basketball team appeared in control on Tuesday night against in-state rival North Georgia. However, the visiting Saints put together a late charge and edged the Lakers 69-68 in Peach Belt Conference action at the Athletics and Fitness Center.
The defeat drops the Lakers to 8-3 overall and 1-2 in the Peach Belt. Clayton State has now dropped six straight head-to-head against North Georgia and nine of its last 10. North Georgia improves to 7-5 overall and 2-0 in the Peach Belt.
Free throw shooting was an Achilles ' heel for Clayton State. The Lakers shot only 55 percent (18-for-33) for the game, and missed nine key free throws in the second half.
Clayton State held a two-point lead at halftime after a first half that featured seven lead-changes. In the second half, the Lakers three times built a double-digit lead.
A jump shot by Teondre Williams gave the Lakers a 46-35 lead at the 13:58 mark. Anthony Salter's jump shot at the 12:22 mark gave Clayton State a 50-40 lead, and Williams' two free throws with 10:18 remaining made the Lakers lead 54-44.
However, North Georgia scrapped and clawed with a 9-0 run to cut the Laker lead to one point. Clarence Tillman nailed a 3-point basket from the corner, and a turnaround jumper in the lane by Scott Windom cut the deficit to 54-53 with 6:43 remaining.
The two teams traded leads twice before Pat Moynihan banked home a 3-point basket as the shot clock expired to give the Saints a 61-59 lead with 4:35 remaining. Clayton State tied the game on a corner 3-point basket by Salter, but the Lakers committed a foul on the play. Moynihan then gave the Saints a 64-62 lead on two free throws with 3:36 remaining.
Three times the Lakers cut the Saints' lead to one point, but could not overtake North Georgia. Clayton State missed a golden opportunity when North Georgia's Chaun Tinney missed both ends of two free throws with 27 seconds remaining. Clayton State's Bradley Tumer was fouled going to the basket with 13 seconds remaining and the Lakers trailing 66-65.
However, Tumer missed both free throws. North Georgia stretched its lead 69-67 with four seconds remaining on a free throw by Travis Core. As time expired, Salter was fouled, giving Clayton State two free throws the chance to send the contest into overtime. Salter made the first, but missed the second.
Williams scored 21 to pace Clayton State, while Salter scored 20 points. Tumer scored 11 points for Clayton State. Windom recorded a double-double for North Georgia with 23 points and 11 rebounds, followed by Tillman with 13 points and Core scored 12 points off the bench.
Clayton State has a key two-game road swing in the Peach Belt Conference, traveling to UNC Pembroke and Francis Marion. The Lakers play at UNC Pembroke on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., and at Francis Marion on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.