COLUMBUS, Ga. – In a three-point game with less than 15 minutes to play, the Columbus State University men’s basketball team used a 16-3 run to break away from Montevallo for a 90-76 victory Wednesday. The game took place inside the Lumpkin Center.
The Cougars (13-5, 6-5 PBC) took a 40-34 lead into halftime before taking a 42-34 lead after Darius Joell made the first bucket of the second half. The Falcons started to crawl back and eventually cut it to a 47-45 margin just over four minutes into the half.
After the two sides exchanged buckets, the Cougars ramped up their defensive intensity to fuel the 16-3 run. JaCori Payne scored the first bucket of the spurt before a three from Arben Camaj and a jumper from Marcus Dixon opened up a 10-point lead (57-47).
The run continued with a Ryan Burnett three and Camaj capped it off with a jumper in the paint to make it 66-50 with 10:11 to go. CSU’s defense forced four turnovers and limited Montevallo to 1-of-3 from the floor in the over four-minute run for the Cougars.
Montevallo (12-6, 6-5) never threatened again cutting the deficit to single digits just twice over the final 10 minutes of the game.
“This was a huge win for us,” commented CSU head coach Robert Moore. “We have to protect our home court and can’t afford to lose back-to-back games.
“I was really pleased with how we scored tonight getting everyone involved from the start. Marcus Dixon had a good bounce back performance tonight.”
Payne led all scorers with 28 points after going 8-for-14 from the floor. The junior was 3-for-6 from three and also picked up five assists. All four other Cougar starters were in double figures, including Burnett who tied a season-high with 12 points. Dixon had 12 and 10 rebounds recording his sixth double-double of the year.
As a team, CSU shot 47.6 percent (31-for-65) from the floor and shot 51.6 percent (16-for-31) in the second half. From 3, the Cougars were 11-for-29 (37.9 percent).
Montevallo shot 46.4 percent (26-for-56) overall and 36.4 percent (8-for-22) from 3.
Both teams were clicking out of the gates as the two sides were tied at 10 just a little over three minutes into the game. CSU scored the game’s next nine points to take a 19-10 lead with 14:30 on the clock.
Montevallo battled back and eventually took the lead at 25-24 with under eight to play until the half.
The lead would change hands a few times until the Cougars took control. Tied at 30, CSU scored five quick points to move in front. After the Falcons cut it to 37-34, Payne nailed a near-half court three at the buzzer to make it 40-34 at the break.
Columbus State will have the weekend off before returning to action on Monday against Georgia Southwestern in Americus, Ga. Tipoff will be at 7:30 p.m.COURTESY CSU SPORTS INFORMATION