Clayton State Athletics

Any remnants of a letdown following Thursday’s dramatic victory against Lander were not visible Saturday for second-ranked Clayton State as the Lakers rolled to a 80-60 rout against visiting Francis Marion at the Athletics and Fitness Center.

The lone undefeated team in the nation, Clayton State is now 24-0 overall and 13-0 in the Peach Belt Conference. Chances are strong that the Lakers will be the new No. 1 team in the nation when the USA Today/ESPN Division II Top 25 Coaches’ Poll is released Tuesday.

Francis Marion falls to 15-7 overall and 8-6 in the Peach Belt.

Teshymia Tillman scored a career-high 27 points on 11-for-14 shooting from the field for Clayton State, while Brittany Hall and Breanna Fort each scored 11 points. Tanisha Woodard dished out 11 assists, just missing tying her Laker single-game record by one.

For Francis Marion, Robin Colbert scored 15 points with nine rebounds, while Singleton-Bates and Courtney Mealing each scored 12 points.

The first half was one of streaks for both teams. Clayton State raced out to a quick 20-6 lead on the strength of Tillman's 10 points during the first five minutes. Her three-point basket at the 15-minute mark gave the Lakers a 12-point lead. Woodard then scored on a lay-up in transition to give Clayton State a 20-6 lead with 14:37 remaining.

But Francis Marion responded with a 14-1 run. Shannon Singleton-Bates, the second-leading scorer in the Peach Belt, scored on a lay-up and then drained two 3-point baskets. Her second 3-point basket cut the Clayton State lead to 21-20 at the 11:20 mark.

After the Patriots cut the Laker lead to four on a Monica Mann three-pointer, Clayton State finished the half on an 8-0 run. A lay-up by Tillman with 1:13 remaining gave the Lakers a 39-27 lead at halftime.

The Lakers took control by starting the second half on an 18-5 run. Fort, Hall and Tillman each scored on lay-ups, and a three-point basket by Latonda Bruce stretched the Clayton State lead to 51-32 with 15:39 remaining. A three-point play by Hall gave the Lakers a 57-32 lead at the 14:12 mark, their largest lead of the game.

The closest Francis Marion was able to cut the Clayton State lead from that point on was 18 points. Tillman responded with a lay-up, followed by another from Kayla Mobley to give the Lakers a 72-49 lead with 4:58 remaining.

A lay-up in the paint by Fort gave Clayton State a 75-52 lead at the 3:38 mark.