Cougars win season opener

COLUMBUS, Ga. – The Columbus State Cougars overcame a slow start to defeat Carver Bible College 80-65 in the team's season opener on Thursday night at the Lumpkin Center.

With the victory, the Cougars improve to 3-1 all-time under Moore in season openers including winning the previous three.

Carver Bible jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a three-point play by Troy Swanson in the opening seconds before the Cougars rattled off four straight in the paint with layups by Ty Harris and Kenney Funderburk.

After a layup by Johnathon Robinson which gave CBC a 5-4 lead with 17:39 left in the first, CSU went on a 8-2 run to go in front 12-7. Funderburk scored four during the spurt for the Cougars.

Carver Bible stormed back including taking a 16-15 lead on a Devante Bagley layup with 10:14 showing on the clock. From there, the visitors never led again as a Jermaine Morgan layup and dunk began a 9-3 run for the Cougars to race out to a 25-18 lead with 4:41 left until the break.

CSU's defense also stepped up its intensity holding Carver Bible without a field goal for five minutes and 36 seconds until Jamil Saaka broke the draught and pulled CBC within five, 25-20.

The Cougars closed the half on an 8-2 run to go ahead 34-24, CSU's biggest lead of the first 20 minutes. R.J. Sessions started the spurt with three straight points while a monstrous jam by Dimitri Davis closed the half's scoring.

Coming out of the break, Carver Bible cut the lead to six twice during the first two minutes before the Cougars pulled away.

A BJ Battle three began a dominating 12-0 run pushing the lead to a game high 23 points. Seven different Cougars scored in the run including another rim shaking dunk by Morgan making the score 55-32 with 12:05 left in the game.

Over the next six minutes and 32 seconds, the two teams exchanged baskets with the Cougars still holding a 23-point lead, 71-48, with only 5:33 remaining.

Carver Bible closed the game by scoring the final seven points closing the gap to 80-65.

Columbus State had four players in double figures in scoring. Kenney Funderburk led the way with 15 while Ty Harris (13) ,BJ Battle (10) and Jermaine Morgan (10) all followed with good scoring nights.

Battle chipped in with seven boards while Harris had five rebounds and four assists.

Joseph Comer recorded a double-double scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Troy Swanson scored a game high 17 points after having just three at halftime.

As a team, CSU shot 50.8 percent (33-for-65) from the floor but was just 3-for-15 from three. Despite going 2-for-21 from beyond the arc, Carver Bible shot 32.4 percent (24-for-74) from the floor.

Columbus State will return to action on Saturday versus West Georgia. Tip-off will be at 4:00 p.m. ET in Carrollton.