Mobley lifts Lakers to 56-46 region victory over Barton in finale of Heritage Bank Holiday Classic
MORROW, GA – Behind a monster game from Clayton State forward Kayla Mobley, the Clayton Sate women's basketball team captured an important NCAA Division II Southeast Region victory Sunday in finale of the Heritage Bank Holiday Classic, but it wasn't easy.
The 4th-ranked Lakers defeated Barton College, out of Conference Carolinas, 56-46 at the Athletics & Fitness Center.
Mobley was the difference in Sunday's contest, as she provided a herculean effort with 20 points and a career-high 17 rebounds from her forward position. The game came on the heels of an 18-point, seven-rebound and four-steal game in the team's win over Benedict on Saturday in the Classic.
"Kayla (Mobley) had a huge game tonight," said head coach Dennis Cox. "I thought she had her best game ever as a Laker. She was a dominant force on the boards and carried us on a night when Drameka (Griggs) struggled to get herself going offensively."
With the win, the Lakers improve to 9-0 overall, while Barton drops to 4-3 on the season. Clayton State will return to action on Thursday, hosting Armstrong in Peach Belt Conference action. Tipoff is 5:30 p.m. at Mason Barfield Court.
"Our half-court defense was better today," said Cox. "We did the things we had to do to beat a good, well-coached team and gain an important region victory."
Clayton State led from the opening tip of Sunday's game but had to withstand a late Barton run to prevail.
Leading 26-17 with 2:30 remaining in the first half, Clayton State went on a 7-0 run to close the first period and take a 16-point, 33-17, advantage at intermission. Griggs ignited the run, followed by five straight points from Mobley, including a 3-point play in the stretch.
In the second half, Clayton State jumped out to a 17-point lead, 41-24, on a 3-pointer by Mobley with 16:04 left. Both teams swapped baskets for the next nine minutes before Barton began cutting into the Laker lead.
Barton guard Willie Nyeshea scored seven straight points in just over a minute and her 3-pointer with 6:03 remaining cut the Laker lead to 49-42. Clayton State's defense responded down the stretch though, holding the Bulldogs to only four points over final six minutes of the game.
A basket in the paint by Clayton State center Shacamra Jackson gave the Lakers an 11-point lead, 53-42, with 2:52 left and sealed the win.
Behind Mobley, Jackson finished with 11 points and nine rebounds, followed by Griggs with 10 points.
Nyeshea led Barton with 17 points, followed by Shante Neal with 12 points.
Clayton State's defense, which ranks second in the nation in points allowed and eighth in field goal percentage defense, once again shined, holding Barton to 46 total points and only 29 percent (17-of-59) shooting from the field.