Cougars top North Georgia in OT

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The Columbus State Cougars scored the only basket of the overtime period as they defeated North Georgia 69-67 Wednesday night in a Peach Belt Conference matchup in Memorial Hall.

Paul Darkwa made a layup in overtime with six seconds remaining on the clock on an assist from Idell Bell to put the Cougars ahead by two.  It was a huge redemption moment for Darkwa who was in a similar situation just one week ago but was on the short end of the stick in Columbus State's loss to Montevallo on February 15.

The two teams combined to go 1-for-11 in the overtime period with Columbus State going 1-for-6.  The Cougars also committed a pair of turnovers during the five minute stretch.

CSU was able to extend the game into overtime by scoring the game's last seven points during regulation.  After Chaun Tinney put North Georgia ahead 67-60 with 3:40 remaining in regulation, the Cougars put together one of their more impressive stretches of the season. 

Idell Bell came down on Columbus State's next offensive possession and drained a jumper to get the rally going.  Jarmarquis Steverson then scored the next five points including a three pointer to force the overtime period.

NG only managed two shots in the final 3:40 and also committed two turnovers.

For the night, Steve Peterson led the offensive charge scoring 13 points while Darius Mcknight and Winford Ivey each added 12.  Steverson and Bell both chipped in with nine.  Darkwa just missed out on his eighth double-double in 11 games as he grabbed a game high 13 rebounds and netted eight points.

Coming out of halftime, CSU scored six consecutive points to take a 38-35 lead after the Saints had scored five in a row to end the half and take a lead into the break.

Columbus State continued to tack on to their lead eventually taking a 56-47 lead when Peterson drilled a three-pointer with 9:50 left in regulation.  The nine point advantage was the largest either side would have in the ballgame. 

Over the next six minutes, the Cougars went cold on the offensive side of the ball that allowed North Georgia to eventually take the lead.  During that time, CSU turned the ball over five times including on three straight possessions to start the span.  They also missed all three field goal attempts up until Idell Bell started the 7-0 run to end the ball game.

Columbus State's only points during that stretch came from the free throw line.

CSU has now won their last 11 overtime games which includes an overtime affair with North Georgia last season.  The Cougars took down NG 66-64 on January 8, 2011.  Their last loss was against Kennesaw State on January 7, 2004.

Up next for Columbus State will be Georgia Southwestern as the Hurricanes come to town on Saturday, February 25 in the regular season finale.  The contest has huge play implications as the Cougars are tied for second in the PBC West Division along with Georgia College.  It is also a part of CSU's Homecoming event as well as Senior Day.  Tipoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET.