Clayton State men drop 77-74 overtime heartbreaker against Montevallo
MORROW, Ga. – February 22, 2012 – The Clayton State Laker men's basketball team battled a talented Montevallo team possession-for-possession on Wednesday night, but came up just short in dropping a tough 77-74 overtime decision in Peach Belt Conference action at the Athletics and Fitness Center.
The defeat drops Clayton State to 15-10 overall and 7-9 in the Peach Belt. Despite the defeat, however, Clayton State qualifies for next week's Peach Belt Conference Tournament by virtue of Columbus State's overtime victory over North Georgia on Wednesday night.
Montevallo improves to 20-7 overall and 11-5 in the Peach Belt.
The Lakers had their hands full with Falcon senior wing D.J. Rivera and rightfully so. The leading scorer in the Peach Belt proved it with a career-high 35 points on a perfect 14-for-14 from the free throw line. But Clayton State kept the game tight as there were 10 ties and 16 lead-changes as neither team led by more than seven points.
After a 38-38 tie at halftime, Clayton State gained some cushion in the second half. The Lakers took a seven-point lead as Teondre Williams scored on a dunk and two free throws by Andrew Bachanov gave Clayton State a 60-53 lead with 7:50 remaining. Montevallo cut the lead to three points, but a lay-up by Bachanov gave the Lakers a 62-57 lead with 3:48 remaining.
Montevallo rallied and took a one-point lead. Rivera scored on a 10-foot jumper and hit two free throws to give the Falcons a 63-62 lead at the 2:07 mark. But Clayton State regained the lead when Anthony Salter drained a 3-point basket with 1:36 remaining.
The Lakers appeared to have a defensive stop on Montevallo's ensuing possession, but the Falcons' Antoine Davis kept it alive with an offensive rebound and fed Drico Hightower for the game-tying lay-up with a minute remaining. Neither team could score on its final possession, forcing overtime.
The Falcons took an early four-point lead in the overtime period, but Clayton State twice trimmed the lead to one point. Bachanov scored off an in-bounds pass, and Salter hit a running jumper in the lane with 43 seconds remaining to cut the Montevallo lead to 75-74. Clayton State then regained possession with 17 seconds remaining, but Salter was whistled for a traveling violation trying to penetrate the lane.
Fouled on the inbounds play, Rivera hit two free throws with five seconds remaining. Salter's long 3-point attempt to tie it hit the rim as time expired.
Salter scored 25 points to pace Clayton State on four 3-point baskets. Bachanov scored 13 points and Juron Dobbs scored 10 points off the bench. Clayton State shot 46 percent from the field and 74 percent from the free throw line.
In addition to Rivera, Hightower scored 16 points for Montevallo and Ryan May added 14 points. The Falcons shot 45 percent from the field and 79 percent from the free throw line.
Clayton State closes out the regular season on Saturday, playing host to in-state rival Georgia College at 7:30 p.m.