Cougar Men Cap Off Undefeated Season With Win at William Woods
FULTON, MO -- The No. 1 ranked Cougar men's basketball team closed out the 2012-13 regular season with a 74-69 road victory at William Woods University on Saturday afternoon. With the win, Columbia completes the first undefeated regular season in program history with an overall record of 30-0 and a 16-0 mark in conference play. The Cougars also clinch their third consecutive American Midwest Conference regular season championship with their 24th straight league win dating back to February 2nd, 2012.
Columbia scored early and often on their way to a 41-31 halftime lead, led by 10 first half points from senior Jordan Dressler. The Owls were able to close the gap with an 8-2 run to end the period as they connected on five of ten attempts from behind the three-point line in the opening 20 minutes. The Cougars shots 57 percent from the field in the first half and owned a slight 15-14 advantage on the glass.
The Owls refused to let Columbia pull away over the final 20 minutes, cutting the Cougar lead to three on two occasions and eventually pulling within two at 64-62 with less than four minutes to play. A three-point play by Dressler at the 2:08 mark pushed the Columbia lead back to five, but William Woods would respond again as a three-pointer by Logan Decker made the score 67-65 with under a minute remaining in regulation. A pair of Marquette Murrell free throws extended the Cougar lead back to four at 69-65 and Columbia would force a key turnover by the Owls on the next possession, leading to a five-point advantage on a free throw by Tanner Sutton. Decker drew a foul on William Woods' next possession and brought the Owls within three once again with a pair of free throws. However, Devin Griffin would put the game away at the line for the Cougars, connecting on four straight free throws down the stretch to secure the hard fought victory for Columbia.
The Cougars were led by Dressler with a game-high 19 points. Griffin and junior Derrick Dilworth also finished in double figures for Columbia with 18 points and 10 points, respectively.
Logan Decker and Blake Burgess each finished with 15 points to lead William Woods (13-16, 9-7 AMC).
Columbia will return to action on Thursday, February 28th to host the first round of the AMC postseason tournament as the tournament's top seed. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. at the Arena of Southwell Complex. Columbia will face the winner of the eighth and ninth seed play-in game that will take place on Tuesday.