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Lakers off to fast start on basketball court

By Doug Gorman

dgorman@news-daily.com

The Clayton State Lakers men's basketball team heads into Saturday's game at Valdosta State feeling pretty good about itself.

With good reason.

Clayton State has opened the season winning four of its first five games. It's only loss was a 70-69 defeat to Anderson in overtime.

So far the Lakers have dominated opponents at both ends of the court, outscoring opponents on average 86-60.

Clayton State is shooting .502 percent from the field while holding opponents to .359 percent at the defensive end of the floor.

The Lakers are getting plenty of scoring from its deep bench.

Brandon Robinson leads the way with 23.4 points per game. Timmy Downs is averaging 18.4 points per game, while North Clayton graduate Torrin Green is also averaging in double figures with 10.0 points per game.

Eleven different players have scored for the Lakers this season. Big-man Micheal Thorogood leads the team with 9.3 rebounds per game.

Freshman Zach Bradly, who like Green played high school basketball at North Clayton, is adjusting to the college game, averaging five points per game and playing nearly 20 minutes per contest.

The Lakers face a Valdosta State team fresh off a 79-69 victory agaiinst Albany State. Five different players are averaging in double figures for the Blazers. Tristan Steele leads the way for the team with 20.2 points per game. Kevin Hill is averaging 19 points per game.

A year ago, the Blazers came to the Athletics and Fitness Center on Morrow campus and escaped with an 88-87 victory.

Lady Lakers stay perfect

From Staff Reports

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - November 26, 2010 - The Clayton State Laker women's basketball team turned up the defensive effort in the second half on Friday, and that was enough for Clayton State to pull off a hard-fought 82-73 victory over Florida Southern in the Eckerd Thanksgiving Classic at Eckerd.

The victory keeps 13th-ranked Clayton State undefeated at 7-0 overall. Florida Southern, which was the preseason favorite in the Sunshine State Conference, falls to 3-1.

"It was a good win against a very good team," said Clayton State head coach Dennis Cox. "We played very sloppy in the second half, gambled too much on defense and they made us pay. But we settled down better in the second half with our half-court pressure and played more solidly."

Florida Southern countered Clayton State's vaunted pressure defense by shooting 48 percent from the field in the first half, including 50 percent (5-for-10) from 3-point range. The Moccasins led early 17-11 on a 3-point basket by Sofie Lundberg with 13:58 remaining.

Clayton State reclaimed the lead and extended it to six points 26-20 on a jump shot by Latonda Bruce at the 11:23 mark. But Florida Southern countered with a 12-2 run and led 32-28 on a Taylor Maldonaldo lay-up with seven minutes remaining. Overall there were seven ties and eight lead changes in the first half, and Florida Southern led 46-42 at halftime.

However, the Lakers stiffened defensively in the second half, limiting Florida Southern to only 31 percent shooting from the field and only one 3-point basket. In fact, the Moccasins went almost eight minutes without scoring a point.

Meanwhile, Clayton State broke a 52-52 tie with a 13-0 run. Brittany Hall put the Lakers in front with a lay-up, followed by lay-ups by Kayla Mobley and Renee Jackson. Tanisha Woodard then scored seven points in succession, and her jump shot at the 9:45 mark gave Clayton State a 65-52 lead.

The Lakers stretched the lead to 14 points on three occasions. The last time was a lay-up by Jackson to give Clayton State a 73-59 lead with five minutes remaining.

"We really hunkered down defensively in the second half and they didn't get the open looks like they had in the first half," Cox said. "This was a good test for our team, and I was proud of the way we stayed together in the second half. We executed our half-court offense a lot better."

Woodard scored 17 points for Clayton State, along with seven assists and four steals. Jackson was crucial off the bench with 16 points. Teshymia Tillman added 11. points for the Lakers.

For Florida Southern, Megan Dzikas scored 19 points, while Michaela Hawley scored 14 points, Emma Cannon scored 11 points and Chelsea Johnson added 10 points.

Clayton State plays Eckerd on Saturday at 3 p.m. in Eckerd Thanksgiving Classic.