Balanced offensive attack propels Cougars past Saints - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Balanced offensive attack propels Cougars past Saints

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COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus State used a strong second half effort to pull away from visiting North Georgia in a critical Peach Belt Conference match-up as the Cougars won 75-61 AT the Lumpkin Center on Thursday night . 

CSU got off to a fast start scoring the game's first eight points including a pair of thunderous jams by BJ Battle and Jermaine Morgan in the opening three minutes of play.

North Georgia slowly battled back cutting the deficit to four, 13-9 with 12:35 to go in the half but the Cougars responded pushing the lead to nine over the next four minutes.  The 21-12 advantage was the largest for either side in the opening 20 minutes of action.  Morgan and Aaron Power both had three points while Nick Turner added a layup during the mini-spurt.

Like they did earlier, NGA responded outscoring Columbus State 14-5 over the next four minutes to knot the game at 26-all.  The score was tied three more times the remainder of the half before the Cougars went into the break ahead by a point, 33-32.

Just like the start of the game, CSU came out of the break hot scoring 14 of the first 18 points of the second half as they built up an 11 point advantage (47-36) with 14:05 showing on the clock.  The trifecta was key to the spurt as three different Cougars drained one from long range including a pair by Battle as he netted eight of the 14 points during the run.

Columbus State maintained at least a nine point edge over the next eight minutes eventually going up 13, 57-44, after Bell nailed a three-pointer in transition.

North Georgia made one final push going on a 9-1 run over the next 2:03 to dwindle the CSU lead down to five, 58-53.  Corey Green scored seven of the team's points during that time.

Rory Miller drilled a three-pointer to put Columbus State up by eight with just over two minutes to go and after an empty possession for the Saints, the Cougars sealed the contest going 8-for-10 from the free throw line over the final 1:32.

Five different players hit double figures for CSU led by Jermaine Morgan's career high 16 points.  Rory Miller (14 points), Idell Bell (12 points), BJ Battle (12 points) and Jahmad Saleem (10 points) were all in double digits. 

The Cougars didn't help themselves from the line as they were just 19-for-35 overall but were clutch when it mattered.  They did help themselves as they won the turnover battle 15-9.

Ishmael Hollis registered a double-double as he scored a game high 22 points and also grabbed a game high 14 boards.  Corey Green added 14 points while Travis Core chipped in with 10. 

This is just the second time this season CSU was won a contest in which they were out-rebounded as NGA held a 48-44 edge on the glass.

Columbus State will return to the hardwood on Saturday, when it travels to Milledgeville to take on Georgia College in a PBC showdown.  Tip-off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET at the Centennial Center.

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