Columbus State University

Columbus State Cougars get another shot at Montevallo

Columbus State gets another shot at its nemeses, Montevallo, on Wednesday night. And like most of the matchups over the past few years, the stakes are huge.

The Cougars and the Falcons meet at 7:30 p.m. at the Lumpkin Center with first place in the Peach Belt Conference's Western Division on the line.

Montevallo (16-7, 12-4) leads Columbus State (17-6, 11-5) by a game.

The two teams met one week ago at Montevallo with the Falcons holding on for a 80-75 win. The Cougars had an 11-point lead in the first half, but that lead had disappeared by the early moments of the second half.

CSU climbed within one point on multiple occasions down the stretch, but the Cougars were never able to catch the Falcons.

"Obviously, (Wednesday's) game is very important," CSU coach Robert Moore said. "We have to take what we learned from last Wednesday when we played them at their place and take advantage of opportunities that we get."

CSU has lost 17 of the last 18 meetings with Montevallo and 23 of 29 overall.

The matchup will feature two of the highest scoring duos in the conference. Montevallo's Terrell Lipkins (21.7) and Bryant Orange (16.5) lead the Falcons with 38.2 per game. Cam Baker (20.4) and Brent Jackson (16.9) lead the Cougars at 37.3.

CSU is tied for second in the West with Young Harris. They are a game ahead of fourth-place Georgia College (10-6) and two games ahead of Clayton State (9-7). The top four teams in the division advance to the PBC tournament.

Meanwhile, the Lady Cougars are looking to remain on top of the women's Western Division race.

CSU (19-4, 13-3) have won six straight and are tied with Clayton State for the West lead. Those two teams are also tied with Augusta and Lander for the overall top spot in the conference.

CSU and Clayton State play in the regular-season finale on Feb. 24.

Before they get to Clayton State, however, the Lady Cougars face Montevallo (7-16, 4-12) on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. and North Georgia on Saturday.

The Lady Cougars beat Montevallo 71-56 last week despite leading scorer Michelle Mitchell playing just nine minutes due to illness.

"Montevallo was able to hang right with us for three quarters last week," Lady Cougars coach Jonathan Norton said. "We can't go through the motions and expect them to just roll over.

"We have three games left in the regular season and we are still playing for a conference championship. We need our best effort each time we stop on the court."

The Lady Cougars have won a school- and conference-record 28 straight at home.

Kevin Price, 706-320-4493, Follow Kevin on Twitter@lesports