|Lakers Blank Lenoir-Rhyne In OT, 83-69|
|Web Posted 3/16/08|
|(View PDF Release)|
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Clayton State Lakers did not allow the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears to score a single point in overtime as they advanced to the 2008 South Atlantic Region championship game with an 83-69 win on Sunday night. The Lakers (19-14), who will make their first appearance in the regional championship, outscored the Bears 14-0 in the overtime period.
Clayton State will face Augusta State in Tuesday’s region championship game with the winner advancing to the NCAA Elite Eight in Springfield, Mass.
Lenoir-Rhyne trailed by eight in the second half with 4:29 to play when they began their comeback with five straight points from Elliott McDowell. A Reggie Bratton layup with 2:11 to play cut the lead to two, but Clayton State boosted that back to four from the free throw line. With under a minute to play, McDowell hit one of two free throws to cut the lead to three. The lead was still three when LRC got the ball with 28 seconds left. After trying to free up a perimeter shooter, Josh Kindred sent the game to overtime with 4.8 seconds left, making only his second three-pointer of the season.
But the Clayton State defense took over from there, holding Lenoir-Rhyne (23-7) to 0-9 shooting in the overtime period, including one sequence of three missed shots in the same Bears possession. Clayton State’s Michael Sloan scored six of the Lakers’ 14 points in the OT, all from the free throw line. Clayton State as a team hit all 10 of their attempts from the line in the extra period.
Lenoir-Rhyne shot 74 percent (14-19) from the field in the first half, yet still trailed 34-31. The Bears jumped to a seven-point lead in the first seven minutes as Josh Rudder scored on back-to-back possessions. But Clayton State came back to tie the game at 12 following a Jerome Boyd layup and took their first lead of the game with 4:22 to play as Will Lewis drained a three-pointer.
The Lakers hit six of nine three-pointers in the first half and shot 54 percent (13-24) from the field. Sloan hit three of those and had nine points at the break. LRC was 1-for-6 from long range in the first.
Sloan led all players with 21 points in the game, hitting six of 10 from the field including three three-pointers. Jerome Boyd added 14 points while Will Lewis scored 12 and Tracy Williams 10 and five rebounds. The Lakers shot 57 percent for the game, their best shooting percentage of the season.
After their great first half, the Bears cooled to shoot 44 percent in the second half and 47 percent for the game. McDowell led the way with 17 points while Josh Rudder added 14 and Josh Kindred 13 points and eight rebounds.
Clayton State has won six games in a row, beginning with their sweep at the PBC Tournament and continuing into the NCAA Regionals. Clayton State knocked Augusta State out of the PBC Tourament in the second round 63-62. Augusta State swept the Lakers in their two regular-season meetings, including a 70-60 decision at Christenberry Fieldhouse, where Tuesday’s game will be played at 7:00.
No. 8 Clayton State d. No. 5 Lenoir-Rhyne 83-69 (OT) (BOX SCORE)
Clayton State Head Coach Gordon Gibbons
“The play on the floor, the last big three, I thought we had really good defense”
“They couldn't get anything for any of their shooters”
“We drew on the experience from Aiken last week, that was a career first 14-0 overtime.”
“The defense got the necessary stops to hold them and that was enough.”
(on the Finals with Augusta) “They are extremely hard to guard, its going to be a challenge.”
“The Key is we have to defend affectively, we have to do what we did tonight, we have to score.”
Clayton State’s Michael Sloan
(On the 14-0 overtime) “I have never seen anything like that from AAU basketball through high school but I am happy that it was lopsided our way.”
(on the Finals with Augusta) “Well We are basically friends now but we have to put the friendships on hold, for 40 minutes, we are really familiar with each other and its going to be a battle.”
Clayton State’s Jerome Boyd
(On the run that Clayton State is on): “Its a good feeling coming in as the underdog, I feel we had to come out and play extra hard to prove ourselves.”
“We do belong here, and proved everyone wrong, we have been working extra hard for this.”
Lenoir-Rhyne head coach John Lentz
“We didn't throw it inside enough tonight. We didn’t make a lot of good decisions, players that usually make good decisions made bad decisions tonight”
“We ran good plays but the ball just didn’t go in.”