Friend drops 27 as Golden Tigers beat Claflin 80-66

12/14/2010

Orangeburg, SC (December 14, 2010) –  The Golden Tigers were red-hot from the field in the second half against Claflin University last Tuesday night despite the frigid temperatures that have gripped most of the nation for the past week.

They shot a sizzling 51.4%, hitting on 18 of 35 attempts, en route to an 80-66 SIAC victory in Orangeburg, S.C. The win evens the Golden Tigers' record at 2-2 and makes them 2-1 in the SIAC.

The Golden Tigers led 35-30 at the half after shooting 40% from the field (10-for-25). They missed their first nine shots to start the second half, and Claflin tied the score at 35- 35 and took the lead with 15:19 left in the game, 36-35. The Golden Tigers finally found their shooting eye and made 18 of 24 shots from the floor in the last 15 minutes.

Jeremy Williams and Garland Robertson got the Golden Tigers rolling with back-to-back three-pointers. After Robertson missed a three, Lorell Friend converted another three-pointer and Andrae Nelson scored on a dunk. That gave the Golden Tigers a 47-45 lead with 12:15 left, and they never trailed again.

Nelson's dunk sparked a 12-1 run that enabled the Golden Tigers to build an 11-point lead. Eric Bassette capped the run with a three-pointer as the Golden Tigers were 5-of-10 from behind the arc in the second half. The Golden Tigers led by 15 points at one time.

Even though they did not shoot well from the field in the first half, the Golden Tigers never trailed during the opening 20 minutes. They repeatedly forced Claflin to turn the ball over and scored 17 points off the miscues. The Golden Tigers forced five turnovers in the first five minutes of the game and Claflin was able to score just four points on one field goal and a pair of free throw.

For the game, the Golden Tigers had 31 points off 27 turnovers.

Despite being ice cold from the field for the first 25 minutes, the Golden Tigers shot a season-best 46.8% from the field, as they were 29-for-62 from the floor for the game.

Friend led the Golden Tigers with a game-high 27 points. Friend was 9-for-19 from the field, including 2-for-3 on three-pointers as he had his third consecutive game with 20 or more points. Friend has averaged 22.6 points in his last three games, and he averages 17.5 points a game for the season.

Nelson was the Golden Tigers' only other double figures scorer. He had 10 points.

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