Energy plus enthusiasm equals victory. It’s a simple formula but one that’s worked for the Columbia College men’s basketball team all season.
The Cougars used another outstanding defensive effort to defeat Peru State (Neb.) 89-48 on Thrusday at the Arena of Southwell Complex. The Cougars (16-1) held the Bobcats to one second-half field goal.
Cougars coach Bob Burchard said his team’s collective energy and zest for basketball results in great communication and chemistry.
“You can tell that they enjoy each other,” he said. “You can tell they enjoy playing. When those two things happen, then they’ll do things for each other.”
The No. 8 Cougars started the game with an intensity the Bobcats couldn’t match. The Cougars opened with 10 unanswered points and led 35-11 with 9:28 left in the first half. Cougars guard Andre Amos scored all 17 of his points before intermission, including five 3-pointers. The Cougars also attempted 39 first-half shots to the Bobcats’ 22.
Khamari Ballard led the Cougars with a game-high 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting. He said his team’s superior quickness translated into matchup problems for the Bobcats (4-13).
“They had a couple big guys in the post that weren’t as quick as our post players,” he said. “So, we ran, chased the ball a lot and got layups.”
Tim Melz, in particular, used his mobility and shooting touch to frustrate Mike Woods, the Bobcats’ leading scorer. Melz scored 14 and hit two 3-pointers.
The Cougars play Lyon (Ark.) at 2 p.m., Saturday in the Arena of Southwell Complex. Burchard said his team’s performance in its first meeting with Lyon, a 67-48 defeat on Nov. 15, was atrocious in every aspect. The Cougars shot a season-low 26.4 percent and were outrebounded 36-19.
“I think the whole team is looking forward to (Saturday),” Melz said.
If the Cougars beat Lyon, it will be Burchard’s 400th win at Columbia College. He said he is more concerned about his team’s goals than personal milestones.
“Seventeen (wins) means you’re going to have a winning season,” he said. “That’s a marker in a season. I know that sounds very simplistic, but when you’re battling through a long season that’s the next hurdle.”