Clayton State men perform defensive gem in downing Lander 70-53
MORROW, Ga. – January 25, 2012 – In recent games, Clayton State Laker men's basketball coach Gordon Gibbons has not been too pleased with the defensive performances of his team. However, he was more than pleased on Tuesday night.
The Lakers put together a defensive gem as they downed visiting Lander 70-53 in a key Peach Belt Conference encounter at the Athletics and Fitness Center. The victory improves the Lakers to 11-6 overall and 4-5 in the Peach Belt Conference. Lander had its three-game winning streak snapped, and the Bearcats are now 12-5 overall and 5-4 in the Peach Belt.
Lander entered the game as one of the top offensive teams in the conference. The Bearcats were averaging 82 points a game, shooting 47 percent from the field and 36 percent from 3-point range. However, the Lakers limited Lander to almost 30 points under its average, and only 37 percent shooting from the field and 21 percent from 3-point range.
One of Clayton State's primary objectives was containing Bearcat forward Dwight Tolbert, the second-leading scorer in the Peach Belt and the Peach Belt Player of Week. Clayton State did just that, limiting Tolbert to only 10 points on 2-for-13 shooting from the field.
The Lakers twice built a 10-point lead in the first half, but Lander trimmed the deficit to three points at halftime. Corey Wright scored on a driving lay-up, followed by a 3-point basket by Tolbert to cut the Clayton State lead to five points with 46 seconds remaining. Lander then forced a Laker turnover, and Jermel Kennedy scored in transition, cutting the Clayton State lead to 35-32 at halftime.
Lander started strong in the second half, connecting on five of its first eight shots. Kennedy scored eight points in the first five minutes, and two free throws by Tolbert deadlocked the game at 45-45 with 15:03 remaining.
But Clayton State responded with a 3-point basket by Teondre Williams at the 13:56 mark, and the Lakers never looked back. Clayton State limited Lander to eight points in the final 15 minutes of the game, and only three field goals.
The Lakers, meanwhile, responded with a 14-0 run to put the game out of reach. Reco Lewis drained a 3-point basket, followed by a lay-up by Williams off an offensive rebound. An Anthony Salter 3-point basket stretched the Laker lead to 11 points with 9:03 remaining.
Torrin Greene and Andrew Bachanov followed with lay-ups in the paint, and a breakaway dunk by Williams gave Clayton State a 66-49 lead with 5:33 remaining. The Lakers' largest lead was 68-51 on a driving lay-up with 4:27 remaining. Neither team scored in the final four minutes of the contest.
Williams scored a game-high 19 points for the Lakers as four Clayton State players reached double-figures. Salter scored 17 points with six assists and four steals, while Bachanov scored 12 points and Greene added 11 points. In addition, Juron Dobbs grabbed nine rebounds.
For the game, Clayton State shot 48 percent from the field, including 50 percent in the second half.
Kennedy recorded a double-double for Lander with 17 points and 10 rebounds. In addition to Tolbert, Wright and David Pruett also scored 10 points for the Bearcats.
Clayton State plays host to No. 24-ranked USC Aiken on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the Athletics and Fitness Center.