The Columbus State men’s basketball team is celebrating new life.
With the Cougars’ qualification for the 2014 Peach Belt Conference Tournament—held at the Lumpkin Center—the team that struggled for consistency all season long finds itself on equal footing with the seven other qualifiers.
“The past is the past, we’re looking towards the future,” said junior guard Kenny Funderburk. “[We] just have to keep a good mindset, stay ready for the tournament. The tournament’s going to determine how our future goes.”
The draw isn’t easy for the Cougars. They’ll face USC-Aiken, ranked no. 8 in the country and winners of 18 of their last 19, but the opponent doesn’t matter so much to Robert Moore and his team. They have a fresh start.
“We just feel like it’s a new season now,” Moore said. “Everybody is zero-and-zero, so I think our guys will come out and play hard, play with a lot of intensity, especially with the tournament being here at Columbus State.”
“It’s really just us,” Funderburk said. “We just have to come and play big. We have to play one of the best games of our lives. Everybody has to bring their ‘A’ game, just get ready. It’s going to be a tough game for us.”
The Cougars are 14-12 overall, and have not had consistent, sustained success all season while battling injuries. But none of that matters now.
“We had a lot of things happen to us during the season that didn’t help our team,” Moore said. “I think right now, these guys feel like we have new life, and we’re going to come with a lot of energy and enthusiasm and be ready to play for tournament time.”
After missing the tournament last year, also on their home floor, Moore states the obvious.