CSU Men Claim OT Road Win; Homecoming Next

MORROW, GA - Nathan Patterson sank a pair of free-throws with .4 seconds left in overtime here Monday night to help Columbus State seal a 72-68 win over Clayton State and a share of the Peach Belt Conference lead.

Patterson's free-throws followed a big offensive rebound and put-back by Ransom Antoine with two seconds left that gave the Cougars a 70-68 lead.

The win, coupled with a 57-50 loss by Georgia College & State University at Armstrong Atlantic State, once again puts a gridlock at the top of the PBC standings. CSU and GC&SU are tied with 15-4 records, while AASU is percentage points back at 14-4. The Cougars move to 21-7 overall with the big road win.

'Man this was a big road win for us,' said CSU coach Herbert Greene. 'Our kids just hung in there and played hard and I am proud of them for that. We could have folded our tent there at the end of regulation and in overtime, but we kept fighting and got a really big win.'

Things were going well for the Cougars, who led 29-22 at the half, early in the second half. A Will Davis three-pointer put the Cougars up 39-29, and a pair of Corris Portis free-throws less than a minute later stretched the lead to 41-29. But Clayton State made its run.

Trailing 52-45 with 9:39 left, Clayton State reeled off eight unanswered points to take its first lead of the game with 3:54 to play in regulation. Todd McLaurin's three-pointer gave the Lakers a 53-52 lead at that point. CSU would re-take the lead on a pair of Will Davis free-throws 21 seconds later and would hold it until Brandon Kelley's trey with 50 seconds left tied it at 58. CSU turned the ball over and missed a shot in the remaining time, while Clayton State also had a turnover and Kelley's attempt at a game-winner with three seconds left was off the mark.

CSU took a quick lead in overtime on a Davis jumper, but a McLaurin trey with 3:38 left gave the Lakers a 63-62 lead. CSU re-took the lead on a huge Corris Portis trey 19 seconds later, and the Lakers would tie the game on two McLaurin free-throws and then take a one-point lead with 2:33 left as John Beugnot hit one of two free-throws to make it 66-65.

CSU outscored the Lakers 7-2 the rest of the way to seal the win. Corris Portis tied the game with one of two free throws at the 2:16 mark, and Ransom Antoine gave CSU the lead for good with an offensive rebound and put-back off the Portis miss. Antoine's layup with two seconds left came off another offensive rebound -- this one of a Portis miss from long range to just beat the shot clock. An inbounds pass by Clayton State hit the ceiling and gave the ball back to CSU to set up Patterson's free-throws for the final margin.

Antoine came up big again for CSU, collecting 20 points and 17 rebounds -- eight of those on the offensive end. Will Davis also completed a double-double, scoring 15 points to go with 11 boards. Ron Robinson and Portis added 11 points each. CSU out-rebounded the bigger Lakers 53-49 while shooting just 33 percent overall.

Clayton State got 22 points to lead all scorers from McLaurin, while Donte Dawson and Beugnot added 11 each. Beugnot completed a double- double with 12 boards. The Lakers shot 33 percent overall, but just 24 percent in the first half.

CSU returns home to celebrate homecoming on Saturday against University of North Carolina-Pembroke. The game will tip early, in a rare 1 p.m. start at the Lumpkin Center and is the final regular season game for the Cougars. The Lady Cougars face their UNC-Pembroke counterparts at 11 a.m.