Strong defense helps Columbia College men's basketball team coast to win

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 | 10:14 p.m. CST; updated 10:24 p.m. CST, Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Columbia College senior forward Greg Stegeman eyes the basket against Lyon College on Tuesday at the Arena of Southwell Complex.

COLUMBIA — Junior guard Henrique Medierios stepped in a passing lane, swiped the ball away and sent a fullcourt pass to a streaking Kennan Gaskin, who extended the ball with his right hand and finished with a thunderous dunk that electrified the crowd at Southwell Complex.

“The last time I dunked was in junior college, so it was good to finally get another one,” Gaskin said.

The Columbia College men's basketball team used these types of plays to coast to an 82-43 win Tuesday night over Lyon College. The Cougars forced 20 turnovers and recorded 10 blocked shots in an impressive defensive showing that coach Bob Bruchard couldn’t ignore.

“I think this is the first time that we have really strung together a strong defensive game to go along with a pretty efficient offense,” Bruchard said. “To use a football term, its nice to have both sides of the ball do well.”

From the opening whistle to the final buzzer, Columbia College played aggressively, using active hands and good body positioning to force the Scots into tough shots. Lyon College shot 30.9 percent from the floor for the game.

Freshman guard Devin Griffin led the Cougars with three steals, and translated those turnovers into a team-leading 14 points.

“Playing good defense translates into good offense,” Griffin said. “When I stop somebody it just motivates me to go down and get an easy basket.”

It wasn’t all defense for the Cougars, though.

Columbia College shot 56.1 percent from the floor in the game, mainly because the forwards for the Cougars were able to get easy shots in the post.

With the win, Columbia College moves to 8-1 on the season. The Cougars will return to the court on Saturday, playing Haskell Indian Nations University as a part of the Norm Stewart Classic being held at Southwell Complex. The game starts at 6:30 p.m.

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