Clayton State downs Flagler 69-65 in Peach Belt men’s basketball action
MORROW, GA – Behind a season high 20 points from Clayton State guard Tony Dukes, the Clayton State men's basketball team captured its sixth win of the season Saturday, downing Peach Belt Conference foe Flagler 69-65 at the Athletics & Fitness Center.
Clayton State led the entire second half of the contest, but the game was close throughout much of the period and especially down the stretch. The Lakers led by nine points, 61-52, with 10:38 remaining on layup by Dukes, only to have Flagler outscore the Lakers 9-1 over the next five minutes to tighten the score in the final minutes.
The Lakers responded with four quick points and after an acrobatic tip-in by forward Juron Dobbs, Clayton State led 66-61 with 2:24 remaining. A tip-in by Flagler's Ante Gospic cut the Laker lead to 66-63 with 1:15 in the game only to have Clayton State forward Charles Shedrick answer by draining two free throws.
Flagler wouldn't go away though, as Gospic tipped another miss by the Saints on the next possession, cutting the deficit to three points, 68-65, with 21 seconds in the game. After a Flagler foul, Clayton State missed the front-end of a one-and-one but Dobbs came up with an important rebound to allow the Lakers to maintain possession and forcing the Saints to foul again.
This time, Dukes hit 1-of-2 free throws with eight seconds to give the Lakers a four-point lead that sealed the victory.
"We had to grind out a conference win against a well-prepared Flagler team," said head coach Gordon Gibbons. "Twenty assists for twenty-six baskets and a solid shooting night got us over the hump."
With the win, the Lakers improve to 6-5 overall and even their Peach Belt record at 2-2. Flagler drops to 4-7 overall and 0-4 in league play. The Lakers will return to action on Thursday, traveling to face the Peach Belt's newest member Young Harris in a 7:30 p.m. game.
Clayton State raced out to a quick 9-0 lead in first half and took the game's largest lead, 24-12, on a 3-pointer by Dukes. Flagler battled back though and tied the score at 30 apiece on a 3-pointer by Ryan Barnes with 2:25 remaining in the period.
After a basket by forward Omari Murray, Flagler took its only lead of the game on a 3-pointer by Matt Clark. The lead was short-lived though, as Clayton State's Shedrick drilled a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the half to give the Lakers a 35-33 at intermission.
Behind Dukes' 20 points, Murray finished with 16 points, followed by Shedrick with 10. Dobbs chipped in eight points to go along with six rebounds.
Clayton State had its second best shooting night of the season, hitting 54 percent (26-of-48) from the field.