Columbia College overcomes turnovers to beat Williams Baptist

Saturday, February 18, 2012 | 8:54 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Throughout the first half of the Columbia College men's basketball game against the Williams Baptist Eagles on Saturday, the Cougars had trouble hanging onto the ball.

However, they controlled the flow of the second half, cruising to a 80-54 victory Saturday.

The Cougars and the Eagles finished the first half with 13 turnovers each.

“They wanted us to play a little faster than we really wanted to play,” head coach Bob Burchard said.  “I think we got sucked into that.”

The Cougars led at halftime, 43-34, but they were not satisfied with their game at halftime and came out with authority in the second half. They controlled the flow of the second half, outscoring the Eagles and cruised to the victory.

With the victory, the Cougars improve to 22-6 on the regular season and 9-1 in the American Midwest Conference. The Cougars hold a two game lead in the AMC and have a chance to clinch the regular-season conference championship with a win Thursday against Hannibal-LaGrange.

“We had to take a minute there at halftime and catch our breath, relax and get our composure,” senior guard Taylor Evans said. “In the second half we came out, really, with the same game plan, but we saw the court better.”

After shooting 2-for-21 from behind the 3-point line Thursday against Missouri Baptist, the Cougars reversed their fortunes hitting nearly 48 percent of their 3-point shots on Saturday. 

Freshman guard Tanner Sutton, who led the Cougars with 17 points, went 3-for-4 behind the 3-point line.

“For anybody that’s a good deal, but for a freshman that’s awesome.” junior forward Hal Payne said of Sutton's play. “It makes me excited for the future.”

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