Clayton State falls 66-55 to USC Aiken in men’s hoops action Wednesday
Aiken, SC – The Clayton State men's basketball team battled till the end but was unable to overcome some cold-shooting from the free throw line Wednesday, falling 66-55 to the Pacers at USC Aiken's Convocation Center.
The Lakers stayed within striking until the final minutes but was unable to come up with a big basket or defensive stop down the stretch in the 11-point loss.
Trailing by 11 points, 59-48, with 2:58 remaining forward Craig Wong drilled 3-pointer to cut the deficit to eight points only to have the Pacers answer with two free throws. Clayton State's Tony Dukes came back with another jumper to trim the deficit to eight points again but USC answered, this time with a 3-pointer by Re'mon Nelson with 1:53 left. The Lakers missed on their ensuing possession with a minute to play in the game.
Clayton State shot a fraction better than the Pacers from the field hitting 40.9 percent (18-of-44) from the floor, compared to 40.4 percent (23-of-57), but the Lakers struggled from the charity stripe, hitting only 59 percent (16-of-27). The Lakers missed nine free throws in the second half.
USC Aiken also won the turnover battle 17-13 and grabbed 11 offensive boards compared to only five for the Lakers, leading to 13 extra shot attempts.
The loss evens Clayton State's record to 7-7 overall and drops the Lakers to 3-4 in Peach Belt play. USC Aiken improves to 9-4 overall and 5-1 in the league. The Lakers will return to action on Saturday, hosting UNC Pembroke in a 3:30 p.m. game.
Guard Re'mon Nelson and guard Jesse Seilern led the Pacers with 13 points apiece. Forward Paul Larsen added 11 points, followed by Kinley Branch with 10 points. Larsen pulled a game-high 14 boards.