Lakers drop heartbreaker 70-68 on last second shot by Armstrong's Miller
MORROW, GA – The Laker men's basketball team dropped a heartbreaker Thursday, falling 70-68 to Armstrong on a last second shot at Clayton State's Mason Barfield Court.
The Pirates' Aric Miller drained a long jump shot over the outstretched arms of two Laker defenders to lift Armstrong to the two-point victory. Clayton State had one chance in the final seconds but was unable to get off a shot as the buzzer sounded.
"Peach Belt games come down to the last four minutes," said head coach Gordon Gibbons. "This one was tied at 2:30 and with 14 seconds left. We really needed this one but Aric Miller made a big shot. We played solid coming off an 18-day break. It is a really tough loss."
The loss evens Clayton State's record at 5-5 and drops the Lakers to 1-2 in the Peach Belt. Armstrong improves to 6-4 and 2-1 in the league. The Lakers will have a quick turnaround, hosting PBC opponent Flagler on Saturday in a 3:30 p.m. game at the Athletics & Fitness Center.
The game was close from the opening tip, as the lead changed hands 12 times and was tied on six different occasions. The largest lead of the second half was four points by both clubs.
With the game tied at 64 apiece and 2:31 remaining, Armstrong forward J.C. Winn drained a 3-pointer to give the Pirates a three-point lead with 2:02 left. After both teams missed shots, Clayton State cut the deficit to a single-point, 67-66, as center Tim Budd tipped in a Laker miss with 1:04 left.
After a Laker foul and Armstrong converting 1-of-2 free throws, the Lakers knotted the score at 68, as forward Omari Murray made a strong driving basket with 14 seconds remaining. The play set-up the game-winning shot for Miller.
Clayton State trailed by two points, 44-42, at halftime as Armstrong's Kenny Bellinger II made a long-range 3-pointer at the buzzer in what turned out to be a very important shot.
Murray led the Lakers with 19 points and seven rebounds, followed by Budd with nine points and eight rebounds. Henry chipped in eight points off the bench.
For Armstrong, Miller, the Peach Belt's leading scorer, finished with 18 points. Antroine Williford scored 15 points, followed by Winn with 14 points.
The stats were about as an even as the game with Clayton State shooting 44 percent (24-of-55) and Armstrong hitting 40 percent (24-of-60). The Lakers outrebounded the Pirates 38-37 but committed 13 turnovers compared to 11 for Armstrong.