COLUMBIA — The last meeting between Hope International and Columbia College men's basketball teams ended up a last second 66-64 nail-biter in favor of Columbia.
Saturday's competition required no nail biting.
Columbia defeated Hope, 82-63. Junior Chantel "Pep" Stanciel said that going into the contest, last year's game was not on the team's radar.
"We knew that they were a national tournament type of team," Stanciel said. "It's a new season, we are a new team, and we are trying to get back to the tournament. We knew they were that caliber of a team. So we are just working hard trying to reach our peak."
The teams combined for 38 total fouls, averaging to almost one every minute. One of Columbia's team fouls came in the form of an uncharacteristic technical foul for coach Bob Burchard.
After a foul was called, Burchard began questioning the officials as to why the ball was even in play. Burchard said one of his players was talking to another official when the ball was inbounded, not allowing adequate time for his team to set up defensively.
"It was really unusual," Burchard said. "I can't even recall the last technical I got. ... Obviously they weren't looking around. My point was you guys have to work together. I guess the person got offended by me telling them they have to work together."
Columbia worked together to come back from multiple scoring surges by Hope. Stanciel had 13 points on the night and said that the drive of the team was shown in multiple facets.
"Poise, great execution, great coaching and all 14 guys just want it," Stanciel said. "We believe in each other, and we believe in our teammates and our coaching staff. We just continue to do what we do and hope that at the end of the game we are on top."
Not only were the Cougars on top at the end of the game, it was decisive. Columbia lead by as much as 19 points and held the lead the entire game.
"That's a team you are going to see at the highest levels of our association," Burchard said. "I really thought that they were one of the better defensive teams in the country. We had to do a lot to counteract what they were doing to us defensively."
With 10 days between games, the Cougars had plenty of time to prepare for the game.
Burchard said that will be a benefit in the long run.
"It's been a sputtering start to our season," Burchard said. "We had a game and then took a big break and then another game then took a big break. That changes now. We have four games in eight days. To be honest with you, I think we had really good practices, just fundamentals and learning to play together."
With starting guard junior Zach Rockers out indefinitely because of a stress fracture, Burchard said senior Wendell Crowder will see an increase in playing time.
Crowder ended the game with five points. Senior Derrick Dilworth also added 15 points for the Cougars. Griffin lead the Cougars in scoring with 18 points. Griffin was honored prior to the start of the game for scoring his 1,000th career point at the end of the 2012-13 season.
Columbia is scheduled to play at Missouri Valley College at 7:30 p.m Tuesday.