Columbus State University

CSU men open against Middle Georgia State

CSU basketball coach Robert Moore watches play in the 1st period against Lander during the 2012 Peach Belt Conference basketball championship at the CSU Lumpkin Center.
CSU basketball coach Robert Moore watches play in the 1st period against Lander during the 2012 Peach Belt Conference basketball championship at the CSU Lumpkin Center. File

The Columbus State men’s basketball team opens the 2016-17 season Wednesday night with coach Robert Moore closing in a milestone.

Moore, who is entering his seventh season as the CSU coach, will pick up win No. 100 with his next victory.

The game against Middle Georgia State is set to start at 7:30 p.m. at the Lumpkin Center (WDAK-AM 540).

Moore is 99-69 in his first six seasons with CSU.

“I know the guys are ready to hit the floor and start playing meaningful games,” Moore said.

The Cougars are looking to build on last year’s Peach Belt Conference regular-season championship.

But Moore will need to replace three starters from last year, including Cam Baker, Brent Jackson and Brentine Taylor.

Those players and DeMarcus McVay accounted for more than 58 points and 22 rebounds a game.

The two returning starters are JaCori Payne and Arben Camaj. Payne, a 5-foot-9 guard, averaged 10.4 points a game. Camaj, a 6-9 forward, averaged 7.4 points and 5.2 rebounds. He also had 32 blocked shots.

“I’m excited to see how we play together and see how the new pieces fit with our returners,” Moore said. “We have to play unselfish basketball and work as a unit on defense.”

The Cougars won their only exhibition game, 111-61 over Fort Benning on Saturday. Payne led the Cougars with 20 points. Darius Joell added 17. Rudy Winters and Camaj had 14 apiece. Markis Boyd added 12.

This will be the third straight season CSU has opened against Middle Georgia State, a NAIA school in Cochran. CSU won each of the previous two meetings by more than 20 points.

Middle Georgia has already played four games this season with a 3-1 record. Kieston Standfield leads the Knights averaging 17.8 points per game.

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