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Clayton State's second-half explosion lifts Lakers to win

By Doug Gorman

dgorman@news-daily.com

The Clayton State Lakers played with a split personality Thursday night in their non-conference home game against St. Augustine's.

Looking out of it at times in the first half, the Lakers fell behind by 10-points at the half, only to rally in the final 20 minutes for an 81-66 victory.

It's the second time this week, the Lakers have struggled only to come a with the victory. Monday night, Clayton State beat Edward Waters by just seven points.

The Lakers (8-2) have now won three games in a row.

For a time Thursday night's contest against the Falcons looked like a repeat performance of Monday night as the Lakers again found themselves trying to chase down their visiting opponent.

St. Augustine's took its biggest lead of the game with seven minutes left in the first half when Shaun Washum connected on a basket to give his club a 16-point lead at 32-16.

Somehow from there, Clayton State answered head coach Gordon Gibbons wake-up call.

The Lakers went on a 13-0 run and cut the lead to 32-29 on Brandon Robinson's basket. The Falcons still managed a 34-29 lead, at the half but the momentum belonged to the Lakers the rest of the way.

Thursday's contest was physical at times as 54 free throws were shot between the two teams. The Lakers finished the game 26 of 32 from the line, while the Falcons were 16 of 22.

Clayton State outscored St. Augustine's 52-32 in the second half to pull away.

Laker head coach Gordon Gibbons was happy with the way his team responded in the final 20 minutes, especially after the sloppy way the team played on Monday and how it started out against the Falcons.

"You play those kind of games (Monday) and guys just expect to win," Gibbons said. "You can't go into games in college just expecting to win, we were just a little bit better on Monday and were able to pull it out. We had great two days of practice and we were are now ready to play anybody on our schedule."

The Lakers were led by Brandon Robinson's career-high 31 points. He was a perfect 10 of-10 from the free throw line.

Timmy Downs had 24 points. Downs was 10-of-11 from the line.

The Falcons spread their wealth as four players each scored in double figures.

Joel Kindred led the way with 18 points. Washum and B .J. Mullen each added 12 points and Darrell Glass tossed in 10 points.

Clayton State continues its busy schedule on Saturday when it gets back into Peach Belt Conference competition against Augusta State at 7:30 p.m. It's the third game this week.

Augusta State is unbeaten at 8-0 and ranked eighth in the NCAA Division II poll.