Strong Second Half Propels Cougars to Victory

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COLUMBIA -- The Columbia College Cougar basketball team scored their fourth straight victory on Saturday, defeating American Midwest Conference (AMC) opponent Williams Baptist College by a final score of 80-54.

Columbia, ranked 20th in the NAIA, improves to 22-6 on the season and 9-1 in conference play. The Eagles of Williams Baptist drop to 8-17 overall and 2-9 in the AMC.

With two contests remaining in the AMC regular season, the Cougars are the top team in the AMC by one game ahead of Harris-Stowe.

The first half proved to be much closer than the score would indicate, as the Cougars held a 43-34 lead at the break. The advantage came after 10 lead changes, four ties and a 15-5 run by Columbia to close out the half.

The second half proved to be a different story as the Cougars 54 percent shooting percentage and 38-25 rebounding advantage propelled Columbia to victory. The Cougars held the Eagles to just six field goals in the frame and converted Williams Baptist's 22 turnovers into 27.

Columbia freshman Tanner Sutton led four Cougars in double figures. The guard had 17 points and four assists. Hal Payne chipped in 14 points, including 12 in the first half, and grabbed nine rebounds. Taylor Evans had 13 points and also grabbed nine rebounds, while Matt Woodcock finished with 10 points. Henrique Medeiros swiped four steals and added nine points in the win.

The Cougars return to the court on Thursday, February 23 when they travel to Hannibal, Missouri in their last regular season road game of the year. Columbia takes on Hannibal-LaGrange University at 7:30 p.m.