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Downs leads Clayton State to conference win

From Staff Reports

On the surface, Timmy Downs and Brandon Robinson are two of the top players in the Peach Belt Conference for the Clayton State Laker men's basketball team. On Saturday at rival Georgia College, they both proved it.

The senior duo combined for 44 points as Clayton State won a thrilling 65-62 victory over Georgia College at the Centennial Center. Clayton State, which has now won seven of its last eight games and nine of its last 11, improves to 11-3 overall and 2-1 in the Peach Belt. Georgia College had a five-game winning streak snapped and is now 7-3 overall and 1-1 in the Peach Belt.

"We played with tremendous poise, and this was a huge win for us on the road," said Clayton State head coach Gordon Gibbons, who is now 7-4 in the Centennial Center. "Our overall defensive effort was great, especially in the post where they have been successful this season. In a league road game like this, you have to grind, and we did that today."

Downs scored 26 points on five 3-point baskets, while Robinson scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds to pace the Lakers, who shot 41 percent (9-for-22) from 3-point range. Defensively, Clayton State limited Georgia College to only 36 percent shooting from the field, and only 25 percent from 3-point range.

There were three ties and five lead changes in the first half, which ended tied 33-33 at halftime. Downs helped erase a nine-point Bobcat lead with two driving lay-ups, and his 3-point basket tied the game 23-23 at the 7:33 mark. Robinson then gave the Lakers a 27-25 lead with a 3-point basket with 3:49 remaining.

Downs gave the Lakers a two-point lead with a 3-point basket and a free throw, but Georgia College tied the game with 11 seconds remaining on a put-back by center Reese Wiedeman.

Sophomore forward Juron Dobbs gave the Lakers the needed spark to start the second half with eight points. He put Clayton State ahead for good with a lay-up two minutes into the second half, and his two free throws at the 16-minute mark gave the Lakers a 43-38 lead.

Every time Georgia College made a move, Clayton State had the answer.

The Bobcats twice cut the Laker lead to a point, only to have Downs answer with crucial 3-point baskets.

The key point in the second half was a 10-2 Clayton State run in which Robinson and Downs each drained 3-point baskets, and a lay-up in transition by Torrin Greene gave the Lakers a 61-51 lead with 5:34 remaining.

In addition to Downs and Robinson, Dobbs scored nine points with eight rebounds for Clayton State. Junior forward Ryan Aquino paced Georgia College with 14 points, followed by Jared Holmes and Nate Hamilton each with 11 points.

Clayton State plays host to in-state Peach Belt rival Columbus State on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Athletics and Fitness Center.