Big second half fuels Columbus State to win over Georgia College

COLUMBUS, Ga – The Columbus State University men’s basketball team used an 11-2 run early in the second half to propel it to a 74-59 victory over Georgia College Wednesday evening. The Peach Belt Conference game took place inside the Lumpkin Center.

The Cougars (12-4, 5-4 PBC) held a slim 29-28 lead at the half after a slow-paced first half. However, the second 20 minutes had a different feel to it.

Columbus State held a 36-33 lead just over three minutes into the half when a Darius Joell three jumpstarted an 11-2 spurt for the Cougars. A Marcus Dixon jumper and a fastbreak layup from JaCori Payne off a steal gave CSU its first double-digit lead of the night at 43-33. After a made bucket from Georgia College, jumpers in the paint from Payne and Arben Camaj pushed CSU’s lead to 47-35 with less than 13 to play.

Georgia College (9-7, 3-4) cut the deficit to nine after a made three, but that would be the closest the Bobcats would come to the lead. From there, the Cougars put the game away with an impressive 16-4 run that saw the lead balloon to 66-44 with 5:23 left in the game. Five different Cougars scored in the spurt, including five apiece from Jamal McKee and Joell.

The Bobcats scored six of the final nine points to reach the final margin.

“I was really pleased how the guys responded after halftime,” said CSU head coach Robert Moore. “We played the first half at Georgia College’s pace and it got us in trouble. I felt like our ball movement in the second half was smooth and the defense picked up its intensity.”

Joell and Payne were the leading scorers for CSU netting 16 and 15 points, respectively. Camaj had eight with a trio of Cougars with seven points.

As a team, CSU shot 44.6 percent (25-for-56) despite going 5-for-16 from three (31.3 percent). The Cougars did a good job at the line shooting 70.4 percent (19-for-27).

Georgia College was 44.7 percent (21-for-47) overall, but CSU limited the Bobcats to a 38.5 percent mark in the second half. GC was 3-for-13 from beyond the arc and 14-for-19 (73.7 percent) from the free throw line.

Georgia College was in control early in the game as the Cougars didn’t take their first lead until the 11:53 mark on a John Lambert three that made it a 14-11 game. The lead would change a couple of times throughout the final minutes of the first half. The Cougars held a 24-20 lead with 3:34 to go until the break after a Vic Ellis three, but the Bobcats answered with six straight points to go back in front 26-24 with 93 seconds left.

The Cougars closed the half by scoring four of the final six points to take the one-point lead into the locker room.

Columbus State will be back in action this Saturday taking on Clayton State in Morrow, Ga. Tipoff is set for 3:30 p.m.

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