Cougars Suffer Tough Loss at Clayton State
Morrow, Ga. -- Columbus State got in an early hole at Clayton State on Wednesday and was never able to fully dig itself out as the Cougars fell 67-58 to the Lakers. The loss drops CSU two games in back of Clayton State for the fourth spot in the PBC West Division standings with three games to play.
"We started out okay and hit some shots, but then we hit a lull and they took advantage of that," said CSU head coach Doug Branson. "We had no offensive rhythm and they were able to build a lead on us and we just couldn't get ourselves out of that hole."
The two teams traded baskets and were tied three times in the first three-plus minutes of play. But CSU saw its offense go awry and the Lakers use a 12-0 run to build a double-digit lead. Tied at eight, Clayton's Jaquas Dobbs scored on a layup to start the run, and Robert Murry capped it with authority as he jammed home a dunk to make it 20-8 with 12:06 to play in the half.
CSU was able to get the lead back to single digits two times, the last coming after a Jeremy Grimball tip-in of a Brandon Bland miss with 7:15 left in th half. Timothy Downs quelled the Cougars momentum, however, as he drained a trey on the ensuing possession to put the lead back at 12. The Cougars trailed 38-24 at the half.
CSU was never able to mount a serious threat in the second half. The Lakers pushed the lead to 42-27 on a Downs layup with 18:27 left. The Lakers took their biggest lead on a Murry three-pointer with 7:47 left to make it 61-42.
The Cougars scored the final 10 points of the game for their only real run of the game, but it was too little, too late. A Bryant Thomas trey with 14 seconds left cut the margin to the final nine-point deficit.
Bland led the Cougars with 13 points on 5-7 shooting, but was limited to just 17 minutes of floor time by foul trouble. Lamar Williams added 12 points, but was just 5-12 from the floor, while Grimball finished with 10 points and was a perfect 5-5 from the field. Chris Telesford, fighting illness all week, was limited to four points, but still managed to pull down 11 rebounds and lead the Cougars to a 39-36 advantage in that category. CSU shot 41 percent in the second half to finish at 39 percent overall.
Downs led Clayton State (14-10, 7-7) with 20 points. Brandon Robinson added 18 and Murry 10. Armon Jones led the Lakers in rebounds with 10.
CSU (11-12, 5-9) travels to division-leading GCSU on Saturday in Millegeville. Their post-season hopes waning, the Cougars are in a must-win situation in their final three games of the year, two of which are on the road.