Andre Amos, a Columbia College senior guard, had difficulty sleeping before Saturday’s game with Lyon (Ark.) at the Arena of Southwell Complex. Fortunately for the Cougars, Amos’ game was wide awake.
The Cougars beat the Scots 78-57 on Saturday after Lyon won their previous meeting 67-48 on Nov. 15 in Batesville, Ark.
Amos scored 26 of his career-high 38 points in the first half. He also hit 7-of-11 3-pointers.
“I woke up around 9 this morning,” he said. “I was just thinking about, when they beat us, everything we did wrong, and I was just determined not to let them beat us. It was payback time. That was our theme for the day.”
The win marked coach Bob Burchard’s 400th at Columbia College. Before the game, Burchard downplayed the milestone’s importance but later said his 400th win is a great reflection of his program.
“It’s nice to hit milestones,” he said. “I won’t give you coach-speak about that. If you attract highly successful, goal-oriented kids, that outcome is going to be success. I think that’s what’s happened, particularly when you look at that team this year. I think they’re a reflection of the teams we’ve had over the last 16 years.”
Khamari Ballard, a Cougars senior, said: “I’m happy for him. He tried to make it seem like it was nothing but 400, but he wanted that 400th, especially against the team that beat us.”
The No. 8 Cougars (17-1) extended their winning streak to 14 because of Amos’ outstanding shooting, solid ballhandling and another stifling defensive performance. The Cougars had 18 assists and nine turnovers to the Scots’ five assists and 23 turnovers.
Ballard, who leads the Cougars with 20 points per game, shot 5-of-19 but set the tone defensively with a game-high four steals.
“I thought Khamari Ballard had a tremendous defensive effort,” Burchard said. “I wouldn’t have wanted to bring the ball up all game against him.”
Nahowan Saxon, who won the Coaches vs. Cancer Holiday Classic Most Valuable Player on Jan. 3, injured his right leg with 14:23 left. He lay on the floor in pain for more than a minute before walking off without assistance. Burchard said he doesn’t know Saxon’s status, but Saxon’s injury didn’t look as serious as it had initially.
The Scots (9-6) kept it close in the early going, trailing 11-9 with 14:00 left in the first half. From that point, the Cougars went on a 30-16 run to end the half. The Cougars also had a 19-4 run to start the second half, extending their lead to 60-30 with 10:40 left.
Burchard said the dramatic difference in the Cougars’ games with Lyon is a combination of how far his team has come and how poorly it played in the previous meeting.
“I went back and looked at my notes, and all the negatives that I wrote down (after the Nov. 15 loss) we’re turning into positives,” he said. “We’ve really turned the tables there.”