The Columbus State men's basketball team rallied in the second half to defeat conference rival Georgia College 83-82 at the Lumpkin Center on Saturday to improve to 5-1 in the Peach Belt Conference.
The Cougars, down by as much as 16 in the first half, scored 33 in the first half but had a 50-point performance in the second half. CSU and Georgia College came in as opposites: the Cougars had the PBC's top-scoring offense, while the Bobcats came into Saturday's game with the conference's best defense in terms of points per game.
"I thought it was a great basketball game," said CSU head coach Robert Moore. "I thought Georgia College had a great game plan, came in and made shots early. They spread us out the same way Georgia Southwestern did on Thursday night. I thought our guys got through some adversity. It was the first time being down by that many at the end of a half."
The first half was eerily similar to the Cougars' 109-104 loss to Georgia Southwestern at home on Thursday night, where the Hurricanes shot 17 of 29 from three-point range. Georgia College hit 9 of 20 three-pointers in the first half Saturday to take a 42-33 lead into the locker room.
"I was asking 'do I have a black cat in my house or something?' Every team that comes in here knocks down their shots," Moore said with a laugh.
In the second half, however, it was the Cougars who found success from long range, hitting 7 of 12 three-pointers and 16 of 28 field goals overall.
"I thought the guys really got going," said Moore. "I thought we were sleepwalking in the first half."
After scoring 41 in the loss to Georgia Southwestern on Thursday night, senior guard Cam Baker had 19 points on the night, with 14 of those coming in the Cougars' second-half comeback.
"In the beginning, I really wasn't feeling my game. I put my team on my back in the second half and came out hard," said Baker.
"I thought Cam did a good job of sharing the basketball until he got his fifth foul," said Moore.
Baker fouled out with 1:34 left in the second half. JaCori Payne finished with four fouls, while three other players had three in a much more physical affair than Thursday's game against Georgia Southwestern.
"A lot of guys got in foul trouble tonight. We tried to keep a guy on the bench who had three or four fouls and keep the other two out there. I thought our guys did a good job of battling through adversity," said Moore.
Brent Jackson led all scorers with 27 points, hitting 5 of 7 three pointers and providing a huge spark in the Cougars' flurry of scoring in the second half.
"I feel like on Thursday I had too much energy. Tonight, I settled down and played within myself for the team," said Jackson.
"I thought Brent stayed poised," said Moore. "He stayed in the game and hit some big shots for us tonight. I thought he hit big shots in stretches where we needed them."
Darren Daniel finished with seven points, but no two bigger than the final basket of the night for either team with 19 seconds left to give the Cougars the victory.
"I knew I could get to the sweet spot and get the shot off," said Daniel.
"Once Cam fouled out, we felt like Darren was the guy to go to because he has the experience," said Moore. "We felt like once Darren got a shot there, that was a shot we needed to take."
The Cougars get a well-needed day of rest today before starting classes Monday. Their next game is on Wednesday night in Dahlonega, Ga., against PBC rival North Georgia.
GEORGIA COLLEGE (11-4, 4-2 PBC)
Terrell Harris 9-16 2-3 22; Chaz Berry 5-14 3-4 17; Ryan Blumenthal 2-8 8-8 14; Dwight Anderson 2-4 5-6 10; Mark McCorkle 3-7 0-0 9; Isaac Thomas 2-7 0-0 4; Kelvin Nwanze 1-1 1-2 3; Rio McMillian 1-7 0-0 3; Evyn Smith 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-65 19-23 82.
COLUMBUS STATE (11-2, 5-1 PBC)
Brent Jackson 9-13 4-4 27; Cam Baker 6-17 6-8 19; Brentine Taylor 4-5 1-2 9; DeMarcus McVay 4-7 0-1 8; Darren Daniel 3-7 0-0 7; JaCori Payne 2-5 0-0 6; Matthias Sigurdarson 0-3 5-7 5; Arben Camaj 0-0 2-2 2; Marcus Dixon 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-58 18-24 83.
Halftime: Georgia College 42-33.
3-point goals--Georgia College 13-35 (Chaz Berry 4-11; Mark McCorkle 3-7; Terrell Harris 2-3; Ryan Blumenthal 2-6; Dwight Anderson 1-2; Rio McMillian 1-6), Columbus State 9-20 (Brent Jackson 5-7; JaCori Payne 2-4; Cam Baker 1-3; Darren Daniel 1-3; Matthias Sigurdarson 0-3). Fouled out--Georgia College-None, Columbus State-Cam Baker. Rebounds--Georgia College 35
(Terrell Harris 11), Columbus State 42 (Brentine Taylor 9). Assists--Georgia College 15 (Terrell Harris 7), Columbus State 11 (Cam Baker 4). Total fouls--Georgia College 17, Columbus State 22. Technical fouls--Georgia College-None, Columbus State-Arben Camaj. A-547