By Doug Gorman
The Clayton State men's basketball team (4-0) is off to a flying start through its first four games.
Tonight, the Lakers put their undefeated record on the line when they return to the Morrow campus for a game against Carver Bible College (2-7) in a 7:30 start.
Carver Bible College is located in metro Atlanta and is affiliated with the National Christian College Athletic Association.
"They have upgraded their basketball program and play NAIA and Division II programs," said CCSU head coach Gordon Gibbons. "It fits in well with our schedule this time of year."
Clayton State, which was ranked among the nation's best Division II teams in a preseason poll, is living up to its preseason hype so far this season with three of its wins coming on the road.
The Lakers began their season with an 81-62 victory against Southeast Christian and then captured the Charlotte Classic at Johnson C. Smith College.
The Lakers beat Wingate in the first round of that tournament and then beat Voorhes College in the title game.
A 78-73 win against rival Albany State kept the Lakers unbeaten.
"The wins that we have help with our confidence. These type of games help us improve and get better."
Balanced scoring: The Lakers have relied on a balanced scoring attack through their first four games. Craig Butts leads the team with a 12.8 scoring average, followed by B.J. Puckett (11.3) and Darien Chavis (9.3).
Shooting for 3: Kevin Young and former Mt. Zion standout Lamar Rodgers have each shown an ability to hit 3-point shots this season. Young leads the team with six shots while Rodgers has hit five 3-point shots.
Crashing the boards: Leon Parker leads the Lakers in rebounds with 7.5 per game and Craig Butts is averaging 7.3.
Common opponents: Clayton State and Carver Bible College have played a common opponent in Southeastern. The Lakers won their meeting with the Florida college while Carver lost.
Upcoming games: The Clayton State Lakers return home Saturday afternoon for a 4 p.m. tip-off against state rival West Georgia.
It's part of a home-and-home series with the Gulf South Conference opponent.
The two teams will meet in Carrollton on Dec. 13.
Saturday's game is part of a doubleheader. At 2 p.m., the Clayton State women play West Alabama.
The Clayton State and West Georgia game is emgerging as the Lakers' biggest out of conference rivarly.
A year ago, the Lakers beat West Georgia by double figures in Morrow in what Gibbons calls one of the biggest wins since he has been head coach at CCSU.
West Georgia missed out on the NCAA tournament despite a 19-9 record. Two years ago, they went to the NCAA Division II Elite 8.
"We can't look past Carver, but we always look forward to playing West Georgia, Gibbon said.
Lady Lakers' news: After losing the first game of the season, the Clayton State women's basketball team has won four games in row, including winning the West Georgia Classic.
They come into Saturday's game with a 4-1 record.