Griggs scores 26 points to lead 5th-ranked Lakers over Lenoir-Rhyne
MORROW, GA – In a match-up between two of the best teams the Peach Belt Conference and the South Atlantic Conference have to offer, the 5th-ranked Clayton State Lakers prevailed, defeating Lenoir-Rhyne 52-48 in the Loch Shop Classic at the Athletics & Fitness Center.
Trailing by four points 46-42 with 10:27 remaining, Clayton State outscored Lenoir-Rhyne 10-2 to close out the game for the four-point victory. The Lakers are currently 28-1 at home over the last three seasons, with the only loss coming to Lander 59-57 last year.
Preseason All-Peach Belt Conference guard Drameka Griggs was heroic scoring six of her game-high 26 points down the stretch. A Griggs layup after a Kayla Pryce steal with 9:27 remaining cut the deficit to two points, 46-44. Then another steal by Griggs resulted in two free throws for the senior playmaker which knotted the score at 46 apiece with 8:53 remaining.
Griggs came back with another steal and layup four minutes later to give the team 48-46 advantage. Lenoir-Rhyne answered however as forward Ashia Mitchell scored with 2:59 remaining only to have Clayton State center Shacamra Jackson answer with a basket in the paint to re-take the lead for the Lakers. A steal by guard Bena Hanyard and a layup by Pryce sealed the victory in the final minutes.
"Courageous effort tonight on a day when our shots just wouldn't fall, but we did what we had to do to win," said head coach Dennis Cox. "Drameka (Griggs) put us on her back and willed us to win. She is a champion, and our team played like a champions tonight."
Griggs' 26-point effort, which was half of Clayton State's points, came on 11-of-16 shooting from the field. She also finished with eight steals and five rebounds.
The Bears led much of the first half and took an 11-point advantage, 29-18, on two free throws by Jazmine Charles with 3:01 remaining in the opening stanza. Clayton State cut into the deficit and trailed by eight points, 31-23, on a free throw by forward Jessica Covington at intermission.
A 10-2 run to start the second half, capped by a 3-pointer by Pryce tied the game at 33. Neither team led by more than four points for the remainder of the game.
"This was an important NCAA region victory for us," said Cox. "Lenoir-Rhyne is a really good team and give them credit. They played well and are well-coached."
Behind Griggs, Pryce finished with eight points, while Jackson had six points and nine rebounds.
Charles led the Bears with 10 points, followed by guard Alexis Katt with nine points and eight rebounds.
The Lakers held Lenoir-Rhyne to only four field goals in the second half and only 26 percent (13-of-51) from the field for the game. Clayton State also struggled from the field, hitting only 34 percent (22-of-65).