Cougars outlast Lakers to win third straight, 74-64


COLUMBUS – Steve Peterson scored 22 points and Isaac Joyner added 14 as Columbus State led by as many as 13 in the first half and held off a late Clayton State rally to win its third straight conference game 74-64 Wednesday evening inside the Lumpkin Center.

With the win, CSU improves to 11-12 on the season and 7-7 in Peach Belt play while Clayton State drops to 17-8 on the year and 8-6 in league play.

Columbus State came out of the gates clicking on all cylinders offensively as Steve Peterson connected on back to back three pointers to start the contest as CSU jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead.

After two straight three pointers by Timmy Downs and Torrin Greene for Clayton State tied the game at 6 all just over two minutes in, CSU would respond with a 19-6 run over the next six minutes of play to build their largest lead of the half at 25-12 with 11:43 remaining.

The Cougars hit 3-of-4 shots from deep during the spurt, two of which came from junior guard Isaac Joyner. Darius Mcknight also scored six points during the run.

Clayton State would fight back to get within three, 33-30, on a James Waldon bucket at the 4:02 mark, before the Cougars would close the half on 11-4 run behind a pair of three's from Joyner and Peterson once again, sending the two teams into the half with CSU up 44-34.

Steve Peterson put on a shooting display in the first half exploding for 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor, including five three pointers. Joyner added nine points, hitting on 3-of-5 from three point land.

The Cougars were on fire from the floor in the first twenty minutes of play, connecting on 15-of-29 (51.7%) field goals and 8-of-14 from three-point range.

Clayton State continued to fight back into the game early on in the second half as they cut the lead to single digits at 47-38 with 14:26 remaining in the contest on a Zach Bradley layup.

CSU would reel off five straight points to stretch the lead to 52-38 behind a Paul Darkwa jumper and a three from Blake Zumadio at the 12:22 mark in an effort to once again put the scrappy Lakers away.

Clayton State continued to fight, however, as they cut the lead to just 61-54 with 6:09 left to play on a Brandon Robinson layup, capping off a 9-2 run for the visitors.

After a pair of Darkwa free throws and a Mcknight layup stretched the lead to 65-56, the Lakers answered once again as Brandon Robinson connected from deep to bring Clayton State to within six at 65-59 with 3:18 left.

That would be as close as the Lakers would get down the stretch as Clayton State sent the Cougars to the foul line the rest of the way and they proved up to task, hitting 7-of-8 from the line in the final two minutes to secure the 74-64 win.

Clayton State was led by guard Timmy Downs who scored 23 points, 13 of which came in the second half, while also grabbing five rebounds.  Brandon Robinson added 18 points as the only other player to reach double figures.  The Lakers connected on 21-of-57 (36.8%) field goal attempts on the evening and hit on 9-of-23 (39.1%) from three-point range, but were held to just 2-of-9 (22.2%) from deep in the second half.

Steve Peterson led the way with 22 points for CSU and barely missed a double-double with nine rebounds.  Peterson connected on 6-of-8 from three on the night in 35 minutes of action.  Isaac Joyner chipped in 14 points on 4-of-6 from the floor and also hit on 3-of-5 from three.  The Cougars connected on 23-of-58 (39.7%) shooting from the floor, including 10-of-22 (45.5%) from three-point range. Columbus State also hit on 18-of-25 (72.0%) from the free-throw line, the third straight game in which CSU has shot at least 71 percent from the charity stripe.