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Clayton State returns to action Thursday

By Doug Gorman

dgorman@news-daily.com

Classes have not restarted at Clayton State just yet, but for members of the men's basketball team, vacation is over.

Thursday night the Lakers (8-3) end a 13 day layoff when they entertain Shaw University (7-1) in a 7:30 tipoff.

Clayton State comes into the game hoping there are no ill effects from the long layoff or the 58-55 loss to Augusta State in the close Peach Belt Conference contest in its last game.

Until the losing to the fifth-ranked Jaguars, the Lakers had won four straight contests including a three-point victory against UNC Pembroke in the conference opener.

So far, the 2010-11 season has gone about the way head coach Gibbons, who is in his 10th-year at Clayton State, expected.

"We have played four teams, that won their league last year, Anderson, Augusta, Valdosta, and St. Augstine's.

That is pretty ambitious when you are trying to get off to a good start, but I think this team needed that."

The Lakers lost to Anderson in overtime in just the second game of the season and then suffered the tough three-point loss to Augusta. They also lost on the road to Valodsta State in a game where Timmy Downs, the Lakers' second leading scorer was injury and didn't play much.

The Lakers are averaging 76.9 points per game and allowing just 63.7.

Clayton State has shown its ability to rally, comin g from behind toi beat UNC -Pembroke and St. Augustine's.

"We felt like we were ready to play Augusta," Gibbons said.

"We had to sit on that loss for eight days, but I think it showed us what we need to work on and I think they are easy to fix.

"Am I pleased,? I don't think any coach is pleased with any loss, but I think we are coming together."

The Lakers come into Thursday's game against Shaw paced by leading scoring Brandon Robinson's 21.3 points per game. Timmy Downs is chipping in 19.5 points per game.

Clayton State is going with about a nine player rotation. That includes Torrin Green. Green is a redshirt junior who is averaging about 7.2 points per game in 25.7 minutes per contest.

Freshman Zach Bradley is averaging 2.2 points per game in a little more than 14 minutes per contest. Both player played high school basketball at North Clayton.

The Lakers are also getting solid production out of their two 6-9 big men.

Senior Michael Thorogood and sophomore Andrew Bachanov are each averaging close to six rebounds per game.

Willie Walker has joined the team after being ineligible the first semister.

He has played in three games and is expected to be a big part of the rotation.

They will face a Shaw team who comes in led Raheem Smith who is averaging 22 points per game.

Shaw is a member of the CIAA and is playing Clayton State for the second time.

The Lakers lost to Shaw last year in a close battle between the two teams.

Clayton State's game with Shaw ends a busy day of basketball on the Lakers' campus.

Early Thursday Clayton State women will take center stage as two women's game will be held as part of the Heritage Ban k Classic.

Lander plays Lincoln Memorial at 3:30 and CSU Lenoir Rhyne at 5:30.