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Lady Lakers stay perfect with eight-straight wins

From Staff Reports

Playing its sixth game in the last nine games, fatigue may have caught up with the Clayton State Laker women's basketball team on Saturday, but not enough to render defeat.

The Lakers made it eight straight victories to open the 2010-11 season with a hard-fought 58-40 victory over Eckerd in the Eckerd Thanksgiving Classic. Clayton State, ranked 13th in the latest Division II Top 25 poll, improves to 8-0 overall, while Eckerd is now 3-1. It's the most consecutive victories to start a season ever by a Laker squad.

"We felt like we survived - I knew we were tired," said Clayton State head coach Dennis Cox. "But they (Eckerd) played tough defensively, and we had to play more conservatively on defense. But our half-court defense was strong and we gutted it out again like yesterday."

The key moment for Clayton State was midway through the first half when the Lakers broke the game open with a 13-0 run over a nine-minute span. Drameka Griggs started the rally with a fast-break lay-up, and then she and Brittany Hall both drained 3-point baskets. A lay-up by Latonda Bruce at the 1:29 mark gave Clayton State a 30-13 lead.

That enabled the Lakers to keep the Tritons at bay for the second half. Eckerd closed the deficit to 10 points early in the second half, but Clayton State twice stretched the lead to 20 points. Two free throws by Griggs gave the Lakers a 42-22 lead at the 12:31 mark, and then a driving lay-up by Griggs stretched the lead to 46-26 with 10:31 remaining.

The largest lead of the game for the Lakers was 21 points, 50-29 on a jump shot by Bruce at the 8:25 mark.

Teshymia Tillman paced Clayton State with 13 points, followed by Griggs with 11 points. Bruce and sophomore center Kayla Mobley each added eight points. Ashley Lutz and Katie Rausberg each scored 11 points for Eckerd.

Clayton State is off next week before its Peach Belt Conference opener next Saturday (Dec. 4) at UNC Pembroke. Tip-off is 1:30 p.m.

CSU Men fall at Valdosta State

From Staff Reports

The Clayton State Laker men's basketball got off to a fast start on Saturday at in-state rival Valdosta State, but could not sustain the momentum as the Blazers pulled away with an 81-69 victory at the Complex.

Clayton State is now 4-2 overall, and has its three-game winning streak snapped, while Valdosta State improves to 5-2 overall.

"We had offensive opportunities and could not take advantage of them," said Clayton State head coach Gordon Gibbons. "We were well-prepared and got off to a great start. But they hit some big shots throughout the game, and that made us have to play catch-up."

Clayton State was in control for the first part of the first half, holding Valdosta State to only 1-for-16 shooting from the field to open the contest. Meanwhile, senior point guard Timmy Downs scored eight points early, including a pair of 3-point baskets to stake the Lakers to an early 16-4 lead.

However, Valdosta State rallied back into the game by converting 11 of their next 17 field goal attempts. The Blazers went on an 11-3 run and took a 22-21 lead on a Kevin Harris 3-point basket at the 5:17 mark. There were three lead-changes and a tie for the remainder of the half as the two teams went in to the locker rooms all even at 32-32.

However, Valdosta State broke the game open with a 15-2 run in the second half. Clayton State tied the game at 43-43 at the 15:11 mark on a driving lay-up by Downs, but the Blazers responded with five 3-point baskets over the next three minutes. A 3-point basket by Harris gave Valdosta State a 58-45 lead with 12:40 remaining.

Clayton State answered with an 8-0 run of its own as Downs scored six points during the span. His lay-up at the 10:01 mark brought the Lakers to within five points, 58-53. But Valdosta State responded again, this time with an 11-0 run as Christian Hunter drained three straight 3-point baskets.

The closest the Lakers would cut the deficit was nine points down the stretch.

"We went zone in the second half, and it backfired," Gibbons said. "Those 3-point baskets during that stretch put us in a bind. We battled back within striking distance, but it wasn't enough."

Downs paced the Lakers with 22 points, followed by Brandon Robinson with 17 points. Sophomore forward Andrew Bachanov added 10 points.

For Valdosta State, Harris scored 22 points, while Sydney Harris scored 16 points. Will Alston scored 14 points and Paul Hagler added 11 points.

Clayton State returns home on Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. match-up against Carver.