Late Game Heroics Propel Cougars to 72-70 Victory over Clayton State

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Columbus – Steve Peterson hit an acrobatic game-winning layup as he was fouled and converted the free throw to lead Columbus State to a 72-70 Peach Belt Conference victory over visiting Clayton State Monday night in the Lumpkin Center. 

"This is a great team win and probably my biggest since I have been back here," said head coach Robert Moore.  "Everyone stepped up tonight and played tremendously in front of a great crowd tonight.  We are going to need this energy and fight for the rest of the season with so many PBC games ahead."

CSU improves to 6-4 on the year and 1-1 in the conference while the Lakers fall to 7-2 overall and are also 1-1 in the Peach Belt.

The Cougars ran out to a quick lead in the game taking a 7-2 advantage two and a half minutes in on a pair of shots in the paint and a three-point basket.

Clayton State responded right back with a pair of three-pointers to go ahead 8-7 at the 16:22 mark. 

From there it was a back-and-forth tilt before a 6-0 spurt that put the Cougars in front 33-28, the biggest lead of the half for either side, with 3:39 left on the clock.  Steve Peterson scored all six points nailing a trifecta and converting an old fashion three-point play.

The Lakers closed out the half scoring five of the final seven points including a three-pointer as time expired to knot the game at 40 all. 

After Columbus State went ahead 48-44 behind a pair of three-pointers by Idell Bell three minutes into the half, Clayton State responded with a 9-0 run, the largest of the game.  Four different Lakers scored which was capped off by Tim Budd making a layup and converting his free throw.  After Peterson hit a jumper, Clayton was able to extend their lead to 56-50, the biggest they would have in the game.  During that time, Columbus State missed seven shot attempts and committed five turnovers.

The Cougars slowly started to claw back into the contest over the next several minutes eventually taking a short lived three point lead, 62-59 with 5:22 to go in the game. 

Clayton State responded just 12 seconds later as Tony Dukes drilled a trifecta to knot the game at 62-62.

With 1:40 left on the ballgame, Winford Ivey was fouled sending the Columbus native to the line where he calmly knocked down both free throws squaring the score at 69-all. 

Each team was unable to score on their next possession before Anthony Slater was fouled as he drove to the basket.  He was able to hit one-of-two attempts from the charity stripe giving the visitors a slim one point advantage.

On the ensuing possession, Steve Peterson was able to collect an offensive rebound and kicked it out to Idell Bell who found Peterson right back for the acrobatic lay-in.  The senior drilled the free throw putting the Cougars ahead by two, 72-70 with 35 seconds left. 

Clayton State came down the court and found Andrew Bachanov who seemed to lose control of the ball, but a foul called bailed out the post player with 1.9 remaining.  He missed the first attempt which forced Bachanov to intentionally miss the second for an offensive rebound attempt.  Sam Morgan corralled the rebound as it caromed away and ran out the clock.

In all, the exciting contest saw 19 lead changes and 14 ties. 

A trio of players hit double figures for Columbus State led by Peterson's 19 points.  Bell was right behind him with 18 while Darius Mcknight added 12 points.  Despite their woes in the past from the free throw line, CSU was nearly perfect this evening going 13-for-14 from the charity stripe.

Anthony Slate paced the offensive charge for the Lakers scoring a game high 21 points while Teondre Williams notched 18 points.

Columbus State will enjoy a nice holiday break not returning to the court until New Years Eve when they host Southern Poly Tech.  Tip-off is scheduled for 3:0 p.m. inside the Lumpkin Center.

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