Top-Ranked Cougars Roll to 26th Straight Win
COLUMBIA -- The Cougar men's basketball squad, ranked No. 1 in the NAIA for the fifth consecutive week, remained the NAIA's last remaining undefeated team with a 68-50 home victory Tuesday night over American Midwest Conference (AMC) opponent Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.) University. Columbia improves to 26-0 overall and 12-0 in conference play with the win.
Although the Cougars maintained the lead from the opening tip, they were unable to create a sizable lead between them and the Trojans in the first half. Heading into the locker room Columbia led 35-25 after shooting 42 percent from the field and forcing the Trojans into eight turnovers.
Columbia started the second half on a 15-2 run, and held onto the double digit lead for the remainder of the contest. Both teams ended the game shooting just over 40 percent from the field but the Cougars held the advantage from beyond the arc, connecting on eight of their attempts while the visiting Trojans hit just three. Columbia also held a slight rebounding edge, grabbing 33 boards compared to Hannibal's 30.
Derrick Dilworth and Devin Griffin both finished in double figures for Columbia, netting 15 and 13 points, respectively. The pair also combined for six of Columbia's seven steals.
In the latest Top 25 poll released Tuesday afternoon, Columbia received all 11 first-place votes for the fifth week in a row. Lee (Tenn.) University, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) College, John Brown (Ark.) University, and Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) College rounded out the top five for the second straight week.
Columbia will travel to league foe Missouri Baptist University on Thursday, February 14th. The Cougars were victorious in the two teams' first meeting back on January 17th, 93-61. Game time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in St. Louis, Mo.