The host school for a conference basketball tournament never wants to suffer the embarrassment of not qualifying.
Both of the Columbus State basketball teams can take care of that tonight when they host Montevallo at the Lumpkin Center. With wins, the Cougars and Lady Cougars can assure themselves of a berth in the Peach Belt Conference tournament.
The women’s teams tip off at 5:30 p.m., followed by the men at 7:30 p.m.
CSU will host this season’s PBC tournament. The women’s tournament begins March 1, while the men will get under way the following day.
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The Cougars lost to Montevallo earlier this season, 64-58, Dec. 6. In that game, CSU trailed by 18 with 8:33 left. Then Jarmarquis Steverson hit four 3-pointers in just over two minutes to help cut the deficit to three. But the rally fell apart down the stretch as CSU committed three turnovers in the final 54 seconds of the game.
“We got off to a bad start and had to fight to catch up,” CSU coach Robert Moore said. “But we used all of our energy to just get close. But we had a chance to make plays, and we didn’t do it.”
CSU (13-9, 8-5) trails Montevallo (18-6, 9-4) by a game in the Western Division standings after losing Saturday at Georgia College. The Cougars were held to a season-low 47 points.
“That was a disappointing loss,” Moore said. “We were playing at Georgia College with a crowd of 3,000, and it was their homecoming, and I thought our guys would come out with a little more punch. But we never really got our offense going.”
With a win tonight, CSU also would assure itself of a winning record for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
Meanwhile, the Lady Cougars (13-9, 5-5) shook off a two-game losing streak Saturday to beat Georgia College.
CSU is tied with Georgia Southwestern for second in the Western Division. Both are four games behind Clayton State.
The Lady Cougars beat Montevallo (9-13, 4-9) 73-51 in their meeting earlier this season.