Cougars suffer second loss of season at No. 12 Freed-Hardeman
Henderson, Tenn. – No. 12 Freed-Hardeman University handed the 3rd-ranked Cougars their second loss of the season this evening, defeating the squad by a score of 66-57. Columbia falls to 25-2 on the season and 19-2 in conference play while the Lions improve to 22-6 overall and 18-4 in league play with the win.
The Lions outscored the Cougars 17-14 in the first quarter and carried a 29-23 advantage into the halftime break. Columbia shot just 31 percent from the field while Freed-Hardeman shot 40 percent and outrebounded the Cougars 23-16 in the half.
After trailing by as many as eight, the Cougars would be able to make it a one point game after using a 7-2 run to finish out the third quarter. With 52 second left, Morgan Brandt drained a three pointer to pull Columbia within three at 41-35. Freed-Hardeman’s Kim Mallory rushed down the floor for a bucket, but Kei’yana Pearson drove in for a layup, making the score 43-38. With the third quarter coming to a close, freshman Ashlee Marlatt came through with a huge steal and was then fouled. At the line, Marlatt would make both free throws, pulling the Cougars within one at 43-42 to end the third quarter.
The teams went back-and-forth in the fourth quarter, with the Cougars taking the lead two different times, but the Lions would use an 8-2 run to gain separation at 61-54 with 1:39 remaining in the game. The Cougars were forced to foul three different times down the stretch in hopes of making a comeback, but the Lions would make five-of-six free throws to pull away with the 66-57 win.
Columbia finished the night shooting 33 percent from the field while Freed-Hardeman shot 40 percent and held a slight 38-37 advantage on the boards. Corri Hamilton led the Cougars with 14 points and 10 rebounds while Pearson and Petrolina Chilaka chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively.
The Lions were led by Taleeah Cross with a game-high 18 points. Kenley Crowell finished with 16 points while Kim Mallory posted a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Carrie Hatchel also ended in double-digit scoring with 10 points.
The Cougars return to action on Saturday, February 20th when they travel to Williams Baptist College for another AMC matchup. Game time is slated for 2:00 p.m. in Walnut Ridge, Ark.