COLUMBIA– The Cougars thought they had the game won.
Coming off two hard losses on the road, the Columbia College men's basketball team lost an overtime battle with Hannibal-LaGrange 75-73 on Tuesday night at the Arena of Southwell Complex.
"We felt that if it was going to overtime, it was our game," junior forward Josh Davis said. "It just didn't happen that way. They hit a few big shots at the end and they deserved to win that game."
The Cougars' two leading scorers against the Trojans had career highs. Davis led the team with 25 points, including 12 points from 3-point range. Junior forward Greg Stegeman followed with 19 points.
It was the type of production that Columbia College coach Bob Burchard has wanted. The Cougars have been playing without leading scorers Chad Thompson and Jaron Strickland, who suffered season ending injuries earlier in the season. Unfortunately, Davis and Stegeman's play wasn't enough for a victory.
"We had our chances," Burchard said. "We had two or three really bad turnovers or possessions. And that's where you can take control and finish out the game and we didn't do that."
Midway through the second half, the Cougars had a five-point lead, but the Trojans hung around.
Stegeman's jumper with :33.4 to play tied the game at 65 and forced overtime.
In the extra period, Trojans guard Brock Webber knocked down a 3-pointer from the far corner with just 3.7 seconds left. The Cougars didn't have an answer, turning the ball over on their final possession. This was not the first close game these teams have played. On Jan. 19, the Cougars beat the Trojans on the road 53-52.
Coming into the game, the Cougars ranked 14th in the NAIA in free-throw shooting at 72.2 percent, but they went 9-for-17 from the line against the Trojans.
"It's hard to win overtime games if you shoot 50 percent or 52 percent from the free-throw line," Burchard said.
The loss puts the Cougars at the bottom of the American Midwest Conference at 3-8 and 9-18 overall. Hannibal-LaGrange moves to 4-8 and 9-15. The Cougars next game will be against Missouri Baptist on Thursday in St. Louis. The Cougars lost 78-71 to the Spartans in January.