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College basketball alive and well at CSU

There is something exciting happening at Clayton State.

A winning brand of basketball is on display.

It must be contagious too because right now both the women and the men's teams are on fire, playing some of the best basketball of any teams in the Peach Belt Conference, if not in all of Division II.

The Clayton State women's team is off to its best start in school history. Saturday afternoon, they improved their record to 15-0 with a road win at USC Aiken on national television.

They have earned a No. 5 ranking in the most recent Division II poll, and they could climb higher when the new rankings are released later today.

Right now, this team doesn't show any signs of letting up as it prepares for an eventual showdown against fellow PBC rival Lander next month. Lander is also enjoying its own success and is ranked second.

It's hard not to compare this CSU team to the 2006-07 squad. The one that advanced all the way to the Division II Final Four.

Only time will tell if this year's team can ge there too.

Don't rule them out.

The Laker women have a deep bench led by Teshymia Tillman's 14.5 points per game and Tanisha Woodard's 11.7 and are putting up some impressive numbers as they continue to write an exciting chapter to the final o the final months of the season.

Throw out a couple of close games, and head coach Dennis Cox's club is dominating on both ends of the floor, outscoring its opponents by 24 points.

Cox preaches defense to his team, and they are listening, holding opponent to 55 points per game and a 37.5 shooting percentage.

The men's team is also getting hot at the right time putting together what could be a special season. when all is said and done.

CSU has won 10 out of its last 12 games, including four wins in a row to move to 12-3 overall and 3-1 in league play.

Veteran basketball coach Gordon Gibsons team winning some close game, averaging 75 points per contest. while giving up 63.9.

The team also has a .447 shooting percentage.

Senior point guard Timmy Downs might just be the most exciting player in the league. At just 5 foot,-6 the point guard leads the conference in scoring with 21 points per contest. Twice this year, the senior has dished a career high 28 points per game.

Brandon Robinson is giving the team pleny of offensive punch with a 20.3 points per game average.

What's exciting about both CSU teams and their coaching staffs is the ability to keep players at home.

There's a recruting piepline that leads straight from the local high schools to Clayton State.

It says a lot about the level of high school basketball in the Southern Crescent. N either Cox or Gibbons are blind to it.

Drameka Griggs and Tamemtha Bennett each got their starts at high schools in Clayton County, Griggs at Jonesboro, Bennett at Mundy's Mill.

Neither signed with CSU right out high school, but they are back, having transferred back home, and Cox is glad to have both of them.

Griggs is the third leading scoring on the team and Bennett is a solid rebounder , who contibuted 9 boards in Sarturday's conference showdown.

Gibbons is also convincing local players to stay home and play for the Lakers.

Junior Torrin Green, who was a standout player at North Clayton, is a starter for the Lakers and is averaging 7.2 points per game. Zack Bradley also brought his game to CSU from North Clayton.

The freshman has come off the bench in all 15 games. He's learning the game and should have a bright future for CSU.

So the ground work has been laid.

CSU continues its road show Wednesday when it travels to Montevallo for another league game.

Stay tuned. The next few weeks are going to be exciting

(Doug Gorman is the sports editor of the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached at dgorman@news-daily.com)