Columbus State University

Cougars hold off Young Harris, face Montevallo in Peach Belt tourney final

PEMBROKE, N.C. – Columbus State post players DeAngelo Kirkland and Shane Heyward are known for their ability to rebound the basketball, and that ability was on full display Saturday night as both players recorded double-doubles in a 74-65 win over Young Harris.

Kirkland finished with a game-high 20 rebounds — a new Peach Belt tournament record — and tallied 16 points, and Heyward added 19 points and 16 boards to lead the Cougars (22-6) into the Peach Belt Championship game today at 4:30 p.m. against Montevallo.

“Our main thing this year has been our post play,” said CSU coach Robert Moore. “DeAngelo and Shane can really rebound the basketball. They wanted to win the basketball game and play for a championship. You could tell."

The Cougars snatched down 50 rebounds as a team, outrebounding Young Harris by nine for the game.

Leading by as many as 15 points early in the second half after a layup by Brent Jackson with under 14 minutes remaining. But the Mountain Lions battled back to cut it to six points after a free throw by Kevin Altidore made it 58-52 with 8:58 left to play.

It was CSU’s ability to attack the glass that made the difference down the stretch, creating opportunities against a smaller Mountain Lion lineup that led to 38 points in the paint.

“I thought our guys played really tough tonight,” Moore said. “Last time we played them they gave us a lot of trouble from the guard spot. We did a better job tonight.”

The Mountain Lions still had four players finish in double figures, led by guard Isaiah Johnson who scored a team-high 17 points. But Young Harris struggled to find consistent points, finishing 24-of-71 from the field for 33 percent.

The first half was back-and-forth with both teams leading by no more than five points. But the Cougars scored the last bucket of the half on a Hayward layup and took a 35-31 lead into the break. Kenney Funderburk scored 12 of his 19 points in the first half to pace the Cougar attack, including two 3-pointers.

As the Cougars look ahead to the championship, Moore knows it will be a tough task, but he remains confident in his team's ability. CSU lost both regular season meetings to the Falcons this year.

“If you ever want to win a title in the Peach Belt it goes through Montevallo,” he said “We’ve got a chance to beat those guys, we just have to come ready to play.”

YOUNG HARRIS (13-14)

Isaiah Johnson 6-14 3-5 17; Kevin Altidor 6-21 4-7 16; Herdie Lawrence 5-15 0-1 13; C.J. Wilson 4-12 2-4 12; Angus Howey 1-4 1-2 3; Bjorn Walker 1-1 0-0 2; Alex Pack 1-1 0-1 2; J.B. Charles 0-0 0-0 0; Ben Waterhouse 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 24-71 10-20 65.

COLUMBUS STATE (22-6)

Shane Heyward 9-15 1-4 19; Kenney Funderburk 6-16 5-8 19; DeAngelo Kirkland 7-14 4-6 18; BJ Battle 3-6 2-2 9; Ty Harris 2-3 0-0 5; Dimitri Davis 1-2 0-0 2; Brent Jackson 1-3 0-0 2; Shevren Keaton 0-3 0-0 0; Tim Dixon 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-62 12-20 74.

Halftime--Columbus State 35-31. 3-point goals--Young Harris 7-24 (Herdie Lawrence 3-10; C.J. Wilson 2-6; Isaiah Johnson 2-6; Ben Waterhouse 0-2), Columbus State 4-12 (Kenney Funderburk 2-5; Ty Harris 1-1; BJ Battle 1-3; Brent Jackson 0-1; Shevren Keaton 0-1; DeAngelo Kirkland 0-1). Fouled out--Young Harris-Bjorn Walker; Isaiah Johnson, Columbus State-None. Rebounds--Young Harris 41 (Kevin Altidor 13), Columbus State 50 (DeAngelo Kirkland 20). Assists--Young Harris 16 (C.J. Wilson 5), Columbus State 17 (Kenney Funderburk 7). Total fouls--Young Harris 21, Columbus State 17. Technical fouls--Young Harris-None, Columbus State-None.

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