Cougars Outlast Vikings to Stay Undefeated
COLUMBIA -- The Columbia College men's basketball team, ranked No. 10 in the NAIA, earned a home victory over Missouri Valley College on Tuesday night by a score of 72-65. The Cougars remain undefeated on the year at 5-0 with the win, while the Vikings drop to 2-6.
Columbia jumped out to a 7-0 lead to open the game and would take a 39-38 advantage into the locker room after a back and forth opening period that saw eight lead changes. The Cougars connected on 59 percent of their attempts from the floor in the first half, while Missouri Valley hit at a 63 percent clip to stay within striking distance.
Columbia would start the second half on an 8-2 run to put some separation between themselves and the Vikings over the final 20 minutes. The Cougars would take their largest lead of the game at 71-59 with three minutes to go in the final period before closing out the game with a seven-point win.
Columbia shot 44 percent in the second half to finish the contest at 52 percent from the field and 7 of 21 (33 percent) from three-point range. Missouri Valley shot 51 percent from the floor and 41 percent from beyond the arc for the game, but were outscored 17-10 in points off turnovers and allowed the Cougars to rack up 20 second-chance points. Columbia also combined for 25 bench points compared to just 10 for the Vikings.
Junior Devin Griffin led a balanced Cougar attack with 13 points and also handed out four assists. Zach Rockers and Derrick Dilworth added 12 and 11 points respectively, while three other Columbia players finished the game with eight points apiece.
Missouri Valley's Jordan Epps led all players with 24 points. The Vikings drop to 2-5 on the season. Up next for the Vikings is a road trip to Fremont, Nebraksa, for the Midland Classic. The Vikings open up play Friday against Mt. Mercy University at 5:30 p.m.
The Cougars return to the court on Friday, November 23rd to host Central Bible (Mo.) College as part of the Annual Quality Inn Thanksgiving Classic. Prior to Columbia's 8 p.m. tip-off, McPherson (Kan.) College will take on Hannibal-LaGrange University at 6 p.m. On Saturday, November 24th Hannibal faces Central Bible at 1 p.m. while the Cougars take on McPherson on Saturday at 3 p.m.