COLUMBIA — Columbia College basketball player Jordan Dressler's most impressive play of the night came near the end of the first half after a missed free throw.
Dressler’s attempt bounced off the rim to the right of the basket and, after being tipped, looked destined to fall harmlessly out of bounds. However, upon realizing the shot wasn't going in, the 6-foot-8 Dressler raced to save the ball. He dove and, in one seamless motion, caught the ball and fired it to teammate Taylor Evans before falling with a thud to the hardwood out of bounds.
"Any time you do something not great like a missed free throw you always want to get it back, whether its on the defensive end or making a hustle play," Dressler said. "Getting on the floor is something our coaches preach to us, so I mean it was just natural."
Dressler, a junior, is a Columbia native and Rock Bridge High School graduate. He scored a career high of 31 points Thursday for the team. The Cougars inched past William Woods University 70-64.
Dressler, who transferred to Columbia College after playing his freshman year at Toledo, frustrated and dominated the opposing Owls all night on both sides of the floor.
"Jordan looked very interested," Cougars coach Bob Burchard said. "I thought he was very determined, and we needed him to be."
Dressler kept the Cougars in the game, boxing out for rebounds on both ends of the floor, making his free throws and hitting timely baskets when his team needed it the most.
The Cougars led 28-20 at halftime, however, the Owls kept within striking distance the whole second half and eventually cut the lead to three on a 3-pointer from the corner with just under a minute left.
On the ensuing Cougars possession, Dressler completed a 3-point play after being fouled on a layup, making the score 63-57. On the Owls next trip down the court, Dressler rebounded a missed shot and passed it to teammate Henrique Medeiros, who was fouled and made both of his free throws.
With the victory, the Cougars improved to 15-5 on the season and 2-0 in the American Midwest Conference. They will travel to St. Louis on Saturday to take on conference foe Missouri Baptist University.