Columbus State 93, Flagler 74: Cougars score 54 points in second half, pull away late

Special to the Ledger-EnquirerJanuary 20, 2014 

The Columbus State men's basketball team used a huge second half to rally and knock off Flagler, 93-74, in a Peach Belt Conference game at The Lumpkin Center Monday afternoon.

"I thought our guys did a good job today," said Columbus State coach Robert Moore.

"We had some things go wrong in the first half with foul trouble and bad shot selection, but we came out with intensity in the second half. Flagler made a run, but we were able to take care of it in the end."

Columbus State (10-6, 4-5) -- which has won two straight and three of its last four since a 1-4 skid -- trailed 43-39 early in the second half, but the Cougars scored 19 straight points over a span of five minutes and 30 seconds to go from being down by four points to up 15 at 58-43 with 14:21 remaining.

After going over six minutes with no field goals, Flagler (8-8, 2-7) went on a 9-0 run to close to within 58-52 with 12:37 to go.

The Cougars pushed their lead back out to eight points before Flagler made one last push, getting within 67-62 after Dennis Diaz made two free throws with 7:17 left.

Columbus State closed the deal, though, by going on a 15-3 run over the next three and a half minutes to take a 82-65 lead and cruise to the victory.

Five different CSU players scored during the run, and 10 Cougars scratched the scoring column for the game.

"I think the biggest key to our play in the second half was at the defensive end," said Moore.

"I thought we gave up too much dribble penetration in the first half, and I told the guys at halftime if they gave up dribble penetration, they were coming out of the game.

"We shut down the lanes they were using and that helped create some easy buckets for us on the other end of the floor."

Columbus State outscored Flagler 54-33 in the second half, and its 54 points in the final 20 minutes were a season-high for most points in a half.

B.J. Battle led Columbus State with a career-high 26 points and eight rebounds, DeAngelo Kirkland had 18 points, eight rebounds and two assists, Northside alumnus R.J. Sessions pitched in 11 and Jermaine Morgan chipped in nine points and six rebounds off the bench.

The Cougars -- who recorded a season high for points in the game -- dominated the rebounding battle, outrebounding the Saints 48-23. Along with Battle and Kirkland's eight, Shane Heyward had seven caroms and five different CSU players had five or more rebounds in the contest.

Flagler was led by Richard Brown, who finished with a game-high 31 points on 10-of-15 shooting, including 6-for-8 on 3-pointers. Brown also had four rebounds and three assists in the loss. Diaz finished with 11 points and Jerrell Oxendine had nine as the Saints had five players with eight or more points in the loss.

Columbus State is back in action Saturday at Georgia Southwestern in Americus, Ga.

Tipoff at The Storm Dome is set for 3:30 p.m. Moore said his team is on an upward swing as it reaches the midway point of its Peach Belt Conference schedule.

"I think we're improving," said Moore. "We're starting to play better, but we still have a lot of work to do. We still have a lot of games to play and we have to keep taking things one game at a time and see what happens."

FLAGLER (8-8, 2-7 PBC)

Richard Brown 10-15 5-5 31; Dennis Diaz 3-11 3-3 11; Jerrell Oxendine 3-9

2-2 9; Keith Matthews 4-7 0-1 8; Matt Conway 3-10 0-0 8; Adam Jones 2-3 1-1

6; Desmond Gibson 0-0 1-2 1; Lydell Manigo 0-6 0-0 0. Totals 25-61 12-14 74.

COLUMBUS STATE (10-6, 4-5 PBC)

BJ Battle 8-16 7-7 26; DeAngelo Kirkland 5-9 8-9 18; R.J. Sessions 3-9 3-3

11; Jermaine Morgan 2-3 5-6 9; Shane Heyward 3-7 2-3 8; Kenney Funderburk

2-5 3-4 7; Dimitri Davis 2-2 0-1 4; Jahmad Saleem 1-2 2-4 4; Nick Turner 1-3

0-0 3; Ty Harris 1-3 1-2 3; Shevren Keaton 0-0 0-0 0; Brandon Dawson 0-0 0-0

0; Jonathan Manning 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-59 31-39 93.

Halftime--Flagler 41-39--3-point goals--Flagler 12-30 (Richard Brown 6-8; Dennis Diaz 2-6; Matt

Conway 2-8; Adam Jones 1-2; Jerrell Oxendine 1-5; Lydell Manigo 0-1),

Columbus State 6-23 (BJ Battle 3-10; R.J. Sessions 2-8; Nick Turner 1-2;

Kenney Funderburk 0-2; Ty Harris 0-1). Fouled out--Flagler-Dennis Diaz;

Keith Matthews, Columbus State-None. Rebounds--Flagler 23 (Richard Brown 4;

Keith Matthews 4), Columbus State 48 (DeAngelo Kirkland 8; BJ Battle 8).

Assists--Flagler 14 (Keith Matthews 4), Columbus State 17 (Jahmad Saleem

10). Total fouls--Flagler 28, Columbus State 17. Technical

fouls--Flagler-None, Columbus State-None. A-734

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