COLUMBIA — Patric Massey planted his feet, covered his midsection and waited. An opposing guard was running full speed. He didn't see Massey.
But he felt the Columbia College forward.
Massey's crunching screen knocked the wind out of him. The player fell to the ground and moaned. Play was stopped. He got up soon after and headed to the bench.
Massey, a senior, is listed at 6-foot-9 — he'll take 6-foot-10 in shoes. He weighs 238 pounds but has been losing weight since the season started.
Thursday, Massey scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the Cougars' 86-75 victory over Williams Baptist College. Despite their success offensively, the Cougars had trouble creating distance between themselves and the Eagles.
Williams Baptist junior James McClain leads the American Midwest Conference in scoring at 18.9 points per game.
The Cougars (23-2, 14-1 AMC) can defend guards and big men, but the 6-foot-4 McClain stands in between and plays like he is bigger.
Columbia College coach Bob Burchard was not pleased with how his team defended McClain.
"There were just really strange matchups for us," Burchard said. "We're trying to play big on (offense) but we need to stop them on (defense) too."
McClain finished with a game-high 22 points, edging Columbia College senior Devin Griffin, who finished with 21.
Burchard acknowledged the importance of Griffin's transition play, but Massey's rebounding and post presence were important.
The Cougars fed the post a lot — much more often than they usually do because of the size discrepancy between Columbia College and the Eagles. As the game progressed, though, Williams Baptist adjusted and began collapsing into the lane, which forced the action out of the block.
That allowed the Eagles to stay in it, but the Cougars managed to pull away late. Columbia College scored 52 points in the paint, the same total as its last two games combined.
After the game, Massey, along with some teammates and friends, gathered in front of the gym's video board to watch the play of him knocking the wind out of their opponent.
They let out a groan upon watching it.
"Rewind it," the group said, motioning toward the man running the video board.
The second watch was more enjoyable — everyone laughed.
Massey looked at the video board operator and smiled.
"I'm gonna need that clip," he said.