Photo by Derrick Mahone
Tony Dukes made his Clayton State debut on Monday when the Lakers defeated Tennessee Temple.
Clayton State coach Gordon Gibbons admitted that he was a little concerned about his team opening the season against Tennessee Temple on Monday night.
After all, the Crusaders had six games under their belts while Clayton State was playing its first.
For the first 20 minutes of the non-conference game, the Chattanooga school was giving Clayton State all it could handle as the Crusaders took a one-point lead into the intermission.
In the second half, it was too much Teondre Williams for the Crusaders to handle as Clayton State cruised to an 80-64 win at the Athletics and Fitness Center.
Williams, a transfer from Oregon, finished with a game-high 24 points to pace the Lakers.
“I’m going to do anything I can to help this team win,” said Williams, who was a standout player at Meadowcreek High in Gwinnett County before attending Oregon. “I’m happy to be home, and playing in front of my family and friends.”
And the Lakers are equally glad to have him.
Each time the Lakers (1-0) needed a bucket, Williams was there to provide the scoring punch. In addition to Williams, Bradley Tumer, a transfer from Carson-Newman, had 12 points and Hawaii transfer Anthony Salter had 10 points.
However, Gibbons was impressed with the team’s defensive intensity in the second half against Tennessee Temple, which is a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association.
“In the first half, we were doing a lot of standing around,” Gibbons said.
Gibbons attributed some of the team’s sluggish first half to first-game jitters.
“There was a concern with playing Tennessee Temple because it is always a gamble playing a non-NCAA team in your first game,” he said. “They have been practicing since September, and they are allowed to play games on Nov. 1. There was no nervousness on their part. I liked the fact that we regrouped and played well in the second half.”
Williams scored 16 of his 24 points in the second half.
“He did a good job,” Gibbons said. “A lot of teams will overplay him, but he was open a lot in transition. He hit some big baskets, but our defense really played well in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Former Laker Germeil Daniels had a standout game to lead Tennessee Temple, which dropped to 3-4. Daniels, who played at Clayton State from 2009-10, scored 11 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Teammate Corey Sanders had 14 points and Drew Ferrell finished with 13 points.