Auburn, AL –Steve Peterson hit the game-winning shot with 15 seconds remaining and Columbus State had a huge defensive stand to close out the game as the Cougars defeated Auburn 54-52 Monday night at Auburn Arena.
After Auburn tied the score up at 50 all with 1:28 left, Peterson hit a jumper to give CSU a two point lead with 1:08 remaining. Rob Chubb tied the game for the fourth and final time after his layup was good. After each team used a time out, Peterson was isolated and used a pick from Paul Darkwa to hit the game-winner from the right corner.
The game began with Columbus State winning the opening tap and Donta Ridley giving the visitors a 2-0 lead. Both schools traded off impressive runs with Auburn taking a 10-2 lead with a 10-0 run. CSU responded after the media timeout with an 11-0 run of their own, capped off by a Bryant Thomas three-pointer and took a 13-10 advantage. AU went ahead briefly once again before Jarmarquis Steverson gave the Cougars the lead for good with just under nine minutes to go in the first half at 20-19. Columbus State would take a 32-27 lead into the half.
Although they did not shoot the ball particularly well to start the second half, CSU extended its lead to the largest they would have in the contest with a 9-2 run with terrific team defense which stymied the Tigers to 1-13 shooting from the field. Andrew Houts capped off the run with 12:19 remaining with a three-pointer.
Peterson registered a double-double in the contest with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Ridley and Steverson chipped in with 11 and nine points, respectively. Darkwa grabbed eight rebounds while Jonathan Murphy, Steverson and Ridley each had seven boards. CSU held a 50-44 advantage on the glass and hit 69.2% (18-26) of their free throws.
Auburn had a pair of players in double-figures lead by Earnest Ross's 14 points. Kenny Gabriel was the team leader with 11 rebounds while Chubb was close behind him with nine. As a team, they shot 32.8% from the field and hit just seven of their 20 free throw attempts (35%).
The two sides had previously met twice before during the 1983-84 and 1984-85 seasons. Auburn won both meetings although Columbus State (Columbus College at the time) nearly pulled off the upset bid in their first meeting.
CSU will open up the regular season next Monday, November 15 at Alabama-Huntsville. The Cougars are 12-5 all-time against UAH with the last contest being played on 11/15/02, an 86-76 Cougars victory. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. eastern time.