Wingate, NC – The Clayton State men's basketball team battled till the end but dropped its first game of the year Saturday, falling 68-53 to regional foe Wingate.
The Lakers trailed from the outset but stayed within striking distance for the entire contest before falling off late. With the loss, Clayton State falls to 2-1 on the season, while Wingate improves to 3-2 on the year. The Lakers will return to action on Wednesday, hosting non-conference opponent Carver in a 7:30 p.m. contest.
Trailing 34-25 at halftime, Clayton State cut the deficit to three points, 46-43, with 11:16 remaining in the contest on a basket by Tyler Davis in the paint but was unable to come any closer.
The Bulldogs answered with an 8-0 run to hold off the Lakers and led 54-43 with a layup by Ethan Kincaid with 7:25 remaining. A three-point play by forward Omari Murray cut the Wingate lead to eight points, 56-48, as he scored a basket and free throw off a rebound only to have the Bulldogs come back.
Wingate scored five quick points, capped by a 3-pointer by Paidrick Matilus to secure the victory for the Bulldogs as the squad led 61-48 with four minutes remaining.
Wingate's Odell Turner led all scorers with 19 points to go along with eight boards. Ryan Daye added 14 points, followed by Matilus with 13 points.
The Bulldogs shot 52 percent from the field, hitting 23-of-44, while the Lakers hit 40 percent, making 21-of-52. Clayton State struggled from the free throw line, hitting only 8-of-17 from the charity stripe.