Posted: Mar 5, 2013 8:48 PM
Updated: Mar 5, 2013 10:12 PM
COLUMBIA -- The top-ranked Cougar men's basketball team claimed the American Midwest Conference (AMC) tournament championship for the second straight year with a 77-63 victory over Park (Mo.) University on Tuesday night. Columbia improves to 33-0 with the win, establishing a new school record for victories in a single season, and also receives an automatic bid to next week's NAIA National Championships in Kansas City, Mo. The Pirates (21-9) will await the release of the national tournament bracket in hopes of an at-large bid.
The Cougars dominated from opening tip, starting both half's with a 10-0 run and not allowing the Pirates to gain any ground throughout the contest. Columbia hit the offensive glass hard in the first half with 10 boards compared to just two by the Pirates, helping them to a 43-33 first half advantage.
Columbia just kept rolling from there, going up by 20 in the second half, shooting 46 percent for the contest and forcing 12 Park turnovers resulting in 21 points. The Cougars cruised to victory in the final minutes, putting an exclamation point on an amazing season thus far.
Senior Jordan Dressler led all scorers with 20 points, eight rebounds and five blocks. Devin Griffin and Zach Rockers also finished in double figures, logging 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Xavielle Brown, the AMC's Freshman of the Year, came off the bench to lead the Pirates with 17 points.
Following the contest, members of the AMC All-Conference squads were recognized. Jordan Dressler was honored as the league's most valuable player and named to the ten-member first team for the second straight year. Juniors Derrick Dilworth and Devin Griffin also pulled in first team accolades. Dilworth also earned the league's Newcomer of the Year award. Senior Marquette Murrell was an honorable mention selection. For the third year in a row, head coach Bob Burchard took AMC Coach of the Year honors.