Clayton State men drop 80-68 Peach Belt decision at Montevallo
MONTEVALLO, Ala. – February 4, 2012 – A key four-game Peach Belt Conference road swing did not start well the Clayton State Laker men's basketball team as the Lakers dropped an 80-68 decision at Montevallo on Saturday.
It was a battle for first place in the Peach Belt Conference West Division, but Clayton State had its three-game winning streak snapped to fall to 13-7 overall and 5-6 in the Peach Belt. Montevallo improved to 16-6 overall and 7-4 in the Peach Belt.
The Lakers had tremendous offensive outputs from senior guards Anthony Salter and Teondre Williams. Salter scored 25 points, while Williams scored 22 points. However, Montevallo's bench production proved to be the difference as the Falcons out-scored Clayton State off the bench 32-9.
Clayton State remained within striking distance of Montevallo throughout the first half. After the Falcons jumped out to an early 14-6 lead, the Lakers trimmed the lead to two points with an 8-2 run. A jumper by Salter at the 7:40 mark cut the Montevallo lead to 16-14.
A pair of D.J. Rivera 3-point baskets pushed the Falcon lead to 11 points. Rivera connected on a 3-point basket with 1:40 remaining to give Montevallo a 33-22 lead. But Clayton State finished the half strong on a 9-3 run as Williams drained a 3-point basket and Salter connected on a half-court bomb as time expired to trim the Falcon lead to 35-31 at halftime.
But Montevallo shot 56 percent from the field in the second half and turned to reserve post Drico Hightower for some key production in the paint. He scored 12 second-half points and came up with some big baskets each time Clayton State was making its move.
Rivera drained an early 3-point basket to give the Falcons a 48-36 lead at the 16:04 mark. A jumper in the lane by Hightower gave Montevallo a 60-48 lead with 8:15 remaining. But after the Falcons took an 11-point lead on two DeMarcus Catchings free throws, Clayton State rallied.
Williams recorded a 3-point play to cut the Montevallo lead to five points. The Falcons increased their lead back to seven points before Salter sank a big 3-point basket to bring Clayton State to within four points, 66-62 with 4:42 remaining.
However, that was as close as the Lakers would get. Hightower responded with a 3-point play on Montevallo's ensuing possession, and Antoine Davis pushed the lead back to 11 points with a transition lay-up off a Clayton State turnover.
In addition to Salter and Williams, Andrew Bachanov added eight points and six rebounds for Clayton State. Hightower and Davis each paced Montevallo with 20 points, followed by Rivera with 17 points. Catchings grabbed 11 rebounds.
Clayton State plays Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at rival Georgia College in a key Peach Belt showdown.