- Michael MacEachern
No. 18 Mountain Lions thwart late Laker rally to take 66-63 win
Eden Davis and Kennedy Willis combined for 28 points as No. 18 Young Harris College remained unbeaten as they defeated Clayton State University 66-63 in a Peach Belt Conference men's basketball game Wednesday (Jan. 4) evening at The Loch.
The Mountain Lions improved to 12-0 overall and to 3-0 in the league, while the Lakers fell to 2-10 and 0-2. YHC returns to the Harp Recreation & Commencement Center Saturday (Jan. 7) for a 3:30 p.m. PBC contest against No. 10 Augusta University. It will be the first time in program history that two nationally ranked teams will face each other in the Enchanted Valley.
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE:
Clayton State opened up a 28-21 lead after Xavier Joyner nailed a three-pointer with 5:52 left in the first half.
Young Harris then took control of the game as they outscored the Lakers 20-2 - including the last 14 in a row - as the Mountain Lions took a 41-30 lead after Turahn Thompson hit a free throw with 18:23 remaining in the game. Davis accounted for seven points during the run.
The Mountain Lions took their largest lead of the game - 16 points (62-46) - after Christian Schach connected on a three-pointer with 8:22 to go. Schach connected on all three of his three-point attempts against the Lakers.
The Lakers' defense stiffened as they held YHC without a point over the next seven minutes and eight seconds and Clayton State tied the game at 62 after Wes Williams' three-pointer with 1:42 to play.
On the ensuing Young Harris possession, Willis sank a jumper with 74 seconds left to give the Mountain Lions a 64-62 lead.
Clayton State closed to 64-63 after making a free throw before Davis sealed the game for the Mountain Lions at 66-63 by hitting both ends of a one-and-one with 13.8 seconds left. Prior to the Davis free throws, the Mountain Lions, who entered the game shooting 74.7 percent from the charity stripe, were only hit 3-of-11 from the free throw line.
Davis went 6-of-8 from the floor as he scored 16 points, while Willis went 6-of-9 and scored a career-high 12 points.
Schach tallied nine points, while Karl Chavis and Josh Petteno accounted for eight points apiece. Chavis grabbed seven rebounds, while Paul Hosey and Thompson had six each.
YHC outscored the Lakers 32-16 in the paint, while the Mountain Lions scored 18 points off Clayton State's 14 turnovers.