Cougars Hold Off Scrappy Florida Memorial Team 67-64 in Overtime
Miami Gardens, FL - Columbus State got four points each from Blake Zamudio and Chris Telesford in overtime on Monday and the Cougars held off a scrappy Florida Memorial team 67-64 in the first action of 2010 for CSU. The Cougars move to 5-3 on the season with the win and snap a mini two-game losing skid, while FMU moves to 2-12.
"We had some rust after being off for the holidays, but we were able to play through it and get a win," said CSU head coach Doug Branson.
"I am really proud of the guys for fighting through the adversity of being on the road a long way from home. I really thought we handled ourselves very well in the paint and I thought our defense was solid in the second half. Our guards played well, but turned the ball over at some crucial times and we have to keep that from happening. Overall I am pleased with our effort and glad to get a win to start the new year," he added.
The two teams fought to a 24-all tie after the first 20 minuts of play. The Cougars shot 38 percent in the half overall, but hit just three of seven free-throw attempts. Lamar Williams led the way, going 4-7 overall with a three-pointer to finish the half with nine points. Dimetri Bryan tied the game for the Lions with a jumper with 30 seconds left.
In the second half, the two squads played much the way they did in the first period, with neither taking much of a lead. Finally, CSU put some offense together and ran out to a 47-38 lead with 7:26 left after Chris Telesford found his offensive game. Telesford was held scoreless in the first half, but scored 12 of his 16 points in regulation in the second half to help CSU to the biggest lead enjoyed by either squad. The lead did not last long, however, as FMU employed a full-court pressure defense and forced several Cougar turnovers. Those turnovers led to a 18-9 run by the Lions and a tie game, 56-56, with 17 seconds left. FMU had possession and got the ball to Georgio Gramegna, who had hit a pair of three-pointers late, for a game-winning attempt. CSU's seven-footer, Jeremy Grimball, saw to it that Gramegna's shot had no chance to go in as he swatted the attempt away with six seconds left to force the overtime period.
Telesford and Zamudio hit all four of CSU's field goals in the extra frame and helped the Cougars to a six-point lead early on, but once again the turnover bug hit and FMU climbed back to within striking distance. Donta Ridley had a chance to ice the game with less than 10 seconds to go, but hit just one of two free-throws and the Lions were able to get off a tying attempt from the corner, but the shot was long and CSU was able to celebrate its first win of 2010.
Telesford's 16 led the Cougars, as did his seven rebounds. Brandon Bland added 14 points, while Lamar Williams scored 12 before fouling out late. Williams also added four assists and six steals in the game. Grimball finished with four blocked shots and altered at least that many more shots in the game. CSU shot 49 percent after halftime and finished at 44 percent overall, but went just 2-10 from three-point range on the night. The Cougars were just 11-23 at the free-throw line, as well.
Roderick Davis led the Lions with 17 points, while Jason Anthony added nine points to go with 11 rebounds. The Lions had a 45-31 advantage in rebounds in the contest, but committed 28 turnovers and shot just 34 percent in the second half.
CSU returns to action on Tuesday, facing Palm Beach Atlantic at 7 PM before returning home for its Peach Belt Conference opener on Saturday against North Georgia at 3:30 p.m. in the Lumpkin Center.
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