Clayton State men fall 102-86 on the road to Young Harris Thursday
YOUNG HARRIS, GA – The Clayton State Lakers got a career high 22 points from senior guard Tony Dukes, but it wasn't enough as the Lakers fell 102-86 to Young Harris in Peach Belt Conference play Thursday.
Clayton State was within striking distance until the final minutes when the Mountain Lions pulled away. A rebound and stick-in by forward Juron Dobbs cut the Young Harris lead to six points, 90-84, with 2:23 left but that was as close the Lakers would come.
Young Harris came back with a 3-pointer by Steve Viterbo, followed by a basket by Malcom Jackson, two of his game-high 32 points, to push its lead to 11 points and seal the victory with 1:19 to play.
Both teams shot the ball incredibly well in the second half as Young Harris, hit 66 percent (21-of-32) from the floor, including 9-of-15 from behind the 3-point arc. Clayton State hit 58 percent (19-of-33) and 57 percent (8-of-14) from 3-point range in the period.
"It was an unbelievable second half shooting performance by both teams" said head coach Gordon Gibbons. "We gave up too many points off turnovers and at some crucial times. I was disappointed that we weren't able to take advantage of their foul trouble in the first half and get out to a lead.
Gibbons continued, "We battled through some adversity and had stretches where I thought we played some of our best offensive basketball of the season. But, the untimely turnovers led to some easy baskets for them and that is something that we must eliminate going forward."
With the loss, the Lakers drop to 6-6 overall and 2-3 in Peach Belt play, while Young Harris improves to 8-3 and 3-1 in the league. Clayton State will return to action on Saturday, hosting Peach Belt opponent North Georgia in a 7:30 p.m. game at the Athletics & Fitness Center.
The game was close throughout the first half with neither team leading by more than eight points. Clayton State trailed by only a single point, 29-28, on a 3-pointer by guard Zach Riddle with 5:34 remaining in the period.
Young Harris pushed its lead to eight points with 1:08 left on a basket by Viterbo only to have the Lakers answer with a 3-pointer by Wong. The Mountains closed the period with a free throw by Vince Martin to take a 42-36 advantage at intermission.
In the second half, both teams swapped baskets for the first few minutes until the Lakers went on a mini-run. A 3-pointer by guard Sirdarius Henry gave the Lakers a 62-61 lead with 10:14 remaining in the game.
Young Harris answered though and outscored Clayton State 14-4 over the next two minutes aided by a trio of 3-pointers. A shot from 3-point range by Jackson gave the Mountain Lions a 75-66 lead with 7:35 left. The squad pushed its lead to as many as 12 points in the next three minutes.
Clayton State battled back and cut the Mountain Lion lead to six points, 88-82, on a driving basket by forward Omari Murray with 2:40 remaining but could come no closer down the stretch.
Behind Dukes' 22 points, Murray finished with 20 points, hitting 9-of-11 shots from the floor. He also added eight rebounds and three assists. Riddle scored 12 points, hitting 4-of-5 shots from 3-point land, followed by forward Charles Shedrick with 10 points and five assists.
Along with Jackson, Young Harris also had three others in double-digits. Viterbo finished with 21 points, followed by Frank Adams with 17 points and Martin with 16 points.
Clayton State shot better from the field, hitting 53 percent (34-of-64) from the floor compared to 49 percent (34-of-69) for Young Harris. The Lakers were outrebounded on the offensive boards 19-11 and committed 13 turnover compared to only six for Young Harris leading to the shot differential.