Cougars comeback falls short

Valdosta – Columbus State's second half comeback fell short as the Cougars lost to Shaw University 78-66 on Friday on the final day of the Loops Pizza Grill Classic hosted by Valdosta State.

CSU now stands at 5-4 on the year while the Bears improve to 6-2.

The Cougars raced out to a quick 5-2 lead two minutes into the contest behind a layup by Darius Mcknight and a three-point basket by Winford Ivey.  From there it would be a back and forth game as the game was knotted at 10 all before Shaw went ahead 23-16 with 7:51 remaining in the opening half.

Mcknight and Dimitri Davis made back-to-back baskets before Sam Morgan added a free throw to bring Columbus Stat to within two, 23-21. 

Shaw then scored 12 of the last 16 points of the half to take a 10-point lead at the half, 35-25.

Coming out of the locker room, the Bears were able to extend their lead to the largest of the game, 46-30, with 16:26 left in the game. 

The resilient Cougars would then strike with a 12-0 run over the next four minutes.  Steve Peterson and Mcknight sparked the spurt scoring six and four points, respectively.

Behind 52-46 with 9:55 on the clock, CSU continued their impressive play this time outscoring Shaw 11-4 in the next three minutes capped off by an Ivey three-pointer giving Columbus State their first lead since they were ahead 5-3 early in the first half.

SU then countered the Cougars to seize control of the game again going on a 14-3 run to take a 10 point lead with 3:19 remaining.

Attempting one more comeback, CSU scored the next five points but Shaw iced the game making six straight free throws.

The Cougars had a balanced offensive attack as four players hit double figures led by Mcknight's 17 points.  Peterson, Davis and Ivey had 16, 13 and 12 points, respectively.  Mcknight also grabbed a team high 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. 

CSU struggled shooting the ball all night hitting just 35.5% (22-of-62) from the field including a 7-for-25 (28%) performance from long distance.

Malik Alvin and Junius Chaney each scored 20 points to lead the offensive charge for the Bears.  Chaney also had a game high 14 rebounds as SU out-rebounded CSU 44-31 in the contest.  Shaw shot better than 50% from the field (51.8%, 29-for-56) and three-point range (50%, 9-for-18).

Columbus State will have the weekend off before hitting the hardwood again on Monday, December 19 when it hosts Clayton State in their Peach Belt Conference home opener.  Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET at the Lumpkin Center.