Bears Fall A Point Short - Fall to Clayton State 66-65
(Morris, GA) – Tony Smith sank a three pointer as the buzzer rang, but it was one point too few as Shaw fell to Clayton State 66-65 in the closing game of the Heritage Bank Holiday Classic on the campus of Clayton State.
In a game that was close throughout – neither team managed a double-digit lead – Shaw (7-2) failed to find a consistent offensive rhythm in the second half, while the Lakers manufactured a 9-1 run late in the game to build a lead that Shaw could not overcome.
The entire first half was closely contested with each team only able to build four-point leads. Clayton State did three times, once with 15:04 left in the first when Brandon Robinson's dunk gave the Lakers a 10-6 lead.
Tony Smith immediately hit a long three, to cut that lead to one. The two teams battled evenly until 10:48 remained in the first when Torrin Greene's two free throws gave CSU a 15-11 lead. The two teams traded buckets, giving the Lakers a 17-13 lead with 10:13 left.
The Bears took their time building a lead of their own. Derrick Hunter's free throw gave Shaw a 32-28 lead with three seconds left in the first. The Bears carried the four-point lead into the locker room at the half.
The second half was as close as the first until less than four minutes remained in the game. With 3:44 left, Raheem Smith hit a layup to tie the score at 52. Over the next minute and a half, the Lakers went on a 9-1 run that gave them a 61-53 lead with 59 seconds left in the game.
Sixteen second later, Tony Smith drained a three to cut that lead to five, and the Bears started fouling CSU to stop the clock.
After a missed Laker free throw, Greg Thomas hit a short jumper to cut the lead to three, but Timmy Downs drained two free throws to give Clayton State the 63-58 lead with 29 seconds left.
Raheem Smith drove the lane and hit a layup to again cut the Laker lead to three, but Downs sank another two from the charity stripe with 21 seconds left.
Raheem Smith was then fouled, and sank both free throws putting the score at 65-62 with 16 seconds left. Two seconds later, Downs was again fouled, but made only one shot, and putting the CSU lead at four.
Raheem Smith then missed a jumper, but got his own rebound. With no time left on the clock, Tony Smith's three found the bottom of the net, but left the Bears a point short.
Raheem Smith led the Bears with 20 points. Tony Smith had 14 points, and Thomas 11. Raheem Smith led the team with five rebounds and three assists.
Robinson led the Lakers with 21 points. Downs had 18 and Greene 11. Juron Dobbs and Robinson had nine rebounds apiece to lead CSU. Downs had seven assists.
The Bears are now off until next Thursday, January 6 when they open their CIAA season against Saint Paul's at 8:00 p.m.