Photo by Heather Middleton
From Staff Reports
One word best described the Clayton State Laker men's basketball team on Saturday night - resilient.
Mired in a horrible shooting slump in the first half, the Lakers came back strong in the second half by hitting some clutch shots and making the needed defensive stops down the stretch to knock off visiting Montevallo 57-52 on Senior Night in a key Peach Belt Conference West Division showdown at the Athletics and Fitness Center. It marked the first victory for Clayton State over Montevallo in four tries.
Clayton State is now 18-8 overall and 9-6 in the Peach Belt Conference, tied with Georgia College for second place in the PBC West Division. Montevallo falls to 15-9 overall and 8-7 in the Peach Belt.
Clayton State shot a horrid 27 percent from the field in the first half, but managed to stay within striking distance of the Falcons, trailing 22-16 at halftime. Montevallo opened the second half on a 10-3 run to lead 32-19 at the 16:48 mark. A jumper from the corner baseline by Ronald Severtsgaard increased the Falcon lead to 34-21 with 15:50 remaining.
Trailing by 12 points, Clayton State slowly crept back into the game. Zach Bradley drilled a baseline jump shot, and Brandon Robinson's 3-point basket at the 12:01 mark cut the Montevallo lead to 37-30. Another 3-point basket by Torrin Greene trimmed the Falcon lead to 39-34 with 10:14 remaining.
After Montevallo went back up by six points, Clayton State went to Timmy Downs to get the Lakers over the hump. The senior point guard drained a 3-point basket, and then converted a 3-point play in transition to tie the game 46-46 with 3:17 remaining. After Montevallo went back up by two points, Bradley gave the Lakers a 49-48 lead with a 3-point basket from the top of the key at the 2:44 mark.
Following a Bradley transition lay-up that tied the game, the Lakers' Michael Thorogood was fouled on a defensive rebound. The senior center calmly sank both free throws to give Clayton State a 53-51 lead with 1:30 remaining.
On Montevallo's ensuing possession, forward DeMarcus Catchings missed a short jump shot in the lane, giving Clayton State possession and the lead. Robinson missed a short jump shot, by Juron Dobbs kept it alive with an offensive rebound. Greene then found Thorogood for a dunk and a 55-51 Laker lead with 24 seconds remaining.
After Montevallo's Antoine Davis made a free throw and missed a second to cut Clayton State's lead to three points, Dobbs was fouled with 11 seconds remaining. The sophomore made both free throws, securing the victory for the Lakers.
Robinson paced Clayton State with 20 points, while Downs scored 12 points and Bradley scored 10 points. Catchings scored 14 points for the Falcons, while Jonas Brown scored 12 points.
Clayton State travels to Dahlonega on Wednesday for a Peach Belt Conference West Division encounter at in-state rival North Georgia at 7:30 p.m.