Lakers defeat GSW 70-64 in final home game for seniors and Gibbons
MORROW, GA – On an emotional night at the Athletics & Fitness Center, featuring Senior Night and the last home game for legendary Clayton State men's basketball coach Gordon Gibbons, the Lakers delivered.
Clayton State defeated Peach Belt Conference rival Georgia Southwestern 70-64 Saturday. The win coupled with a Columbus State loss clinched Gibbons' and Clayton State's 12th straight trip to the Peach Belt Conference tournament in March.
With the win, Clayton State improves to 13-12 on the season and 9-9 in Peach Belt Conference play. Georgia Southwestern drops to 12-13 on the year and 8-10 in league play. The Lakers will close the regular season next Saturday, traveling to play at Columbus State.
Leading 42-36 at intermission, the Lakers took control of the game in the second half. Clayton State opened the second period with two straight baskets, a layup by forward Omari Murray, followed by three-pointer by guard Tony Dukes to give the squad a 47-36 lead.
The Lakers pushed their lead 13 points, 55-42, four minutes later as guard Craig Wong drained a 3-pointer. Georgia Southwestern battled back and cut the Laker lead to 55-48 before Clayton State went on mini-run. Two resounding dunks in a three-minute stretch by forward Charles Shedrick gave the Lakers a 14-point lead, 67-53, with 3:45 remaining.
Clayton State maintained its double-digit lead until the final two minutes when the Hurricanes made one last push. Georgia Southwestern cut the deficit to six points, 68-62, on two free throws but would come no closer. Two free throws by guard Sirdarius Henry sealed the Laker win with 11 seconds remaining.
In the first half, the game was tight throughout with the game tied on five different occasions and two lead changes.
The Lakers featured a balanced attack with four players in double-digits, led by Murray with 15 points, hitting 6-of-9 from the floor to go along with seven rebounds. Henry added 14 points and had four assists, while Shedrick chipped in 11 points. Forward Juron Dobbs added 10 points and had a team-leading nine rebounds.
Jamon Hawkins led Georgia Southwestern with 14 points, followed Alan Arnett and Daryl Davis with 13 points each. Matt Shaw scored 12 points.
Georgia Southwestern shot better from the field, hitting 49 percent (23-of-47) from the floor compared to 41 percent (26-of-63) for the Lakers.
Clayton State won the game with its work on the offensive boards and taking care of the ball. The Lakers outrebounded the Hurricanes 17-9 on the offensive glass and only committed 10 turnovers compared to 15 for Georgia Southwestern, which led to 16 extra shot attempts.