Strong Second-Half Effort Gives Cougars 69-61 Home Win over Lander
Columbus, Ga. -- Columbus State used a 14-0 run to start the second half and never let Lander seriously threaten the rest of the game in taking a 69-61 Peach Belt Conference men's basketball win Thursday at the Lumpkin Center. The win puts CSU at 10-7 overall and evens its PBC record at 4-4, while Lander falls to 7-11, 2-8.
"We didn't play with a lot of intensity in the first half and got behind," said CSU head coach Doug Branson. "We challenged the team in the locker room at halftime to pick up the intensity on both ends of the floor and I am proud of the way they responded. That run at the start of the second half where we hit some shots and our defense kept them from scoring for a long time was the difference in the game."
The Cougars trailed 33-28 at the half after the visiting Bearcats out-played them in almost every facet of the game in the first 20 minutes. Lander hit 45 percent of its shots, out-rebounded CSU 19-15, hit three three-point baskets, and caused eight turnovers in that first 20 minutes. CSU never led in the half and trailed by as many as eight points.
The tide turned in a big way after the break. Donta Ridley got the Cougars off and running 90 seconds into the period when he drove in for a layup. Just less than seven minutes later, Chris Telesford drilled a short jumper to cap the 14-0 spurt and give CSU a 42-33 lead with 10:22 left. The Cougars extended the lead to 45-35 a little over a minute later on a Lamar Williams trey.
Williams hit another triple at the 8:52 mark and Telesford added one of his own on the next CSU possession as the Cougars took their biggest lead at 51-39 with 8:20 to play.
Lander then cut the margin to 51-45 a couple of minutes later as Dane Sparrow nailed a jumper, but the Cougars pulled back out to a double-digit lead, eventually expanding the margin back to 11 points with 1:03 to play on a Donta Ridley free-throw. The Bearcats did not go quietly and got as close as six points two times in the final 25 seconds, but Telesford's two free-throws with five seconds left sealed the win for the Cougars.
Williams went 6-14 overall from the floor with four treys to score 18 points on the night and lead all scorers. He also added five assists and four rebounds. Telesford was also solid as he scored 15 points on 6-9 shooting with a game-high 12 rebounds. Telesford grabbed seven of his rebounds in the second half and led a CSU effort that saw the Cougars dominate the glass by a 24-10 count. Brandon Bland added eight boards and eight points, while Bryant Thomas scored nine points after hitting all three of his three-point attempts in the game. CSU shot 52 percent in the second half and finished the night at 46 percent.
Deangelo Spruill came off the bench to score 16 points and lead the Bearcats as he went 4-5 from three-point range. Antonio Pope led LU in rebounding with eight. As a team, Lander shot 39 percent in the second half and 42 percent for the game.
Both teams return to action on Saturday with Lander traveling to Georgia Southwestern for another PBC road game, while CSU plays the second of three straight PBC contests at the Lumpkin Center as they host #8 Augusta State. Both contests are slated to start at 3:30 p.m.