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Lakers offense goes cold late, but holds on for win

The Clayton State Lakers (7-2) knocked off Edward Waters (3-10) 73-66 Monday night.

It won't go down as one of the best games ever played inside the Athletics and Fitness Center.

Leading 15 points late in the second half when Armon Jones connected on a basket to give Clayton State a 70-55 lead, the Lakers went the final seven minutes of the game without making a field goal.

The scoring drought allowed the Lakers' NAIA guest from Florida to get back in the game and turn CSU's possible blowout into a nail biter.

After the Tigers cut the Lakers' lead to 70-64 on a basket Vanrossi Holder to spark a 9-0 run, CSU finally broke its scoring drought when Timmy Downs made three of his four free throw attempts in the final minute.

Despite the victory, Clayton State coach Gordon Gibbons wasn't happy with his team's performance.

"We didn't come ready to play, and we have had five days of practice," Gibbons said after Monday night's win. "We had finals and they are always taxing for our guys. Our guys all did well and I am proud of them in that respect, we just weren't ready to play today."

The first half should have served as an indicator that the Tigers weren't going to be pushovers.

Edwards Waters and Clayton State exchanged the lead 10 times in the first half before the Lakers pushed ahead 42-37 at the break.

The Tigers kept things close in the first half hitting six 3-point shots. They added three more in the final 20 minutes to finish with nine for the game.

The Lakers were playing for the first time in more than a week. The last time Clayton State played it beat UNC-Pembroke 60-57 to open Peach Belt Conference play.

"Right from the begining you could tell the body language wasn't there," Gibbons said. "When you play against a team that doesn't have a good record you think you are just going to blow them out. They are a good team, they are a college basketball team. You have to play hard. We didn't play Clayton State defense and we were too quick on offense.

"Sometimes that happens in a game when you have in your head it's going to be a blow out. Coaches can prepare them and tell them that this team has played everybody close and they are not going to just roll over, but they didn't heed the coach's warning."

Clayton State was paced Timmy Downs. The senior guard just missed a double-double, finishing with a game-high 26 points and 9 rebounds. Brandon Robinson added 17 points and Andrew Bachabov patrolled the inside with 12 points.

Three players also fininshed in double figures for Edward Waters. William Walter-Brown led the Tigers with 20. Johnny Nelson added 16 and Holder chipped in 10.

Clayton State (28-60) shot 46.7 percent from the field and Edward Waters (27-61) shoot 44.3 percent.

The Lakes play two more times this week at home as St. Augustines comes to town on Thursday and CSU gets back into Peach Belt play Saturday against undefeated rival Augusta State.

"I can assure you we will be ready to play," Gibbons said.