Columbia College draws Our Lady of the Lake in NAIA National Championships
COLUMBIA - The 15th-ranked Cougar men's basketball team will square off against No. 17 Our Lady of the Lake University (Texas) (24-5) in the first round of the 2015 NAIA National Championship. Columbia is making its fifth straight appearance at the national championship and 19th overall.
The Cougars, who received an automatic bid into the tournament after finishing as the regular season runner-up behind regular season and tournament champion Freed-Hardeman, will square off against the Saints from San Antonio, Texas at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 19.
Columbia ended the conference tournament with a 71-69 loss to Lindenwood University-Belleville in the AMC Tournament semifinal round. The Cougars currently hold an overall record of 26-6 and a national tournament record of 11-18. Zach Rockers leads Columbia averaging 12.7 points per game and 5.6 rebounds per game, while Tanner Sutton is second on the team averaging 10.7 points per game. The Cougars rank No. 1 in the nation in scoring defense per game (56.125) and in field goal percentage defense (0.370). The squad also ranks in the top five in scoring margin (18.188), turnover margin (5.281) and assist/turnover ratio (1.278).
Our Lady of the Lake University is a member of the Red River Athletic Conference and was the conference tournament runner-up after dropping a 76-75 overtime defeat to Louisiana State University-Alexandria (LSUA), earning them an automatic bid to the championships. The team finished off its regular season with nine straight wins and a share of the Red River Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship after defeating the University of the Southwest (USW) 103-80. The team leads the nation in steals per game (14.276) and in turnover margin (6.931). They also rank in the top five in total steals (414), assists per game (17.966), and scoring offense per game (88.586). De'Quentin Greer leads four Lord of the Lake players averaging double figures this season. The senior is averaging 14.8 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per game. With a record of 24-5, the Saints are making their second appearance and hold a 1-1 championship record. The last time the team made it to the national tournament was 2012.