Cougars Survive Scare at Missouri Baptist
ST. LOUIS - The No. 1 ranked Cougar men's basketball team remained unbeaten on the year with a 69-64 road victory at conference foe Missouri Baptist University on Thursday night. With the win, Columbia improves to 27-0 overall and 13-0 in the American Midwest Conference (AMC), clinching at least a share of the AMC regular season championship.
The first half was full of ups and downs for the Cougars, unfortunately there were more downs than ups as Columbia trailed by as many as five. Columbia shot a dismal 30 percent in the first half and after not connecting on a single three the first 15 minutes, finally hit three of their 14 attempts. The Cougars were outrebounded and struggled from the charity stripe, something that is not typical for Columbia. The Spartans led 33-28 at the break.
After trading baskets the Cougars took the lead with just over 16 minutes to play after a steal and a Devin Griffin layup. Columbia turned their one point lead into an eight point advantage minutes later and then midway through the half it was an 11-point lead. But the Spartans just wouldn't give up, fighting back to within three with just over four minutes remaining in the game. The teams would stay divided by three points till Derrick Dilworth put the Cougars up six with a free throw and a basket and just a minute on the clock. A jump ball at the other end would give the Cougars possession with 49 seconds left in regulation. Forced to foul, the Spartans sent Dilworth back to the line where he missed the front end of the bonus. Missouri Baptist raced to the other end, made a quick basket and cut the lead to just four for the visiting Cougars. The Spartans fouled again, this time sending Chantel Stanciel to the charity stripe where he made one of his two attempts to push the score to 67-62. History repeated itself as Missouri Baptist hurried down the floor, scored another basket and fouled Dilworth. The junior made both of his shots this time and the Cougars were able to defend their way to victory.
Dilworth finished with 21 points, leading the Cougars. Jordan Dressler also chipped in double figures with 13. Dressler and Murrell each grabbed eight rebounds.
Columbia returns to action on Saturday, February 16th when they host league newcomer Lyon (Ark.) College. The Cougars were victorious in the teams' first meeting on January 19th, 72-59. Game time is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. at the Arena of Southwell Complex.