JEFFERSON CITY — The Columbia College men’s basketball team overcame a sloppy night of shooting, but still couldn’t pull out a win, falling 63-59 at Lincoln University.
With the No. 23 Cougars trailing 59-57 and a little less than 20 seconds left, Malcolm Mahogany missed an uncontested layup that would have tied the game. After a quick Columbia College foul, Lincoln’s DJ Hogue went to the free-throw line and made both shots, giving the Blue Tigers a 61-57 lead, shutting the door on the Cougars.
“Your main objective is always to put yourself in a position to win,” Cougars coach Bob Burchard said. “What you want in a situation like that is to come out with a four- or six-point win. We had the opportunities to do that tonight, we just didn’t get it done.”
After shooting 2-of-16 to open the game, Columbia College (1-2) trailed Lincoln (1-0) by as many as 14 points, and struggled offensively and defensively.
Hogue finished with 20 points and four rebounds and went 6-of-10 from 3-point range, including three straight at the end of the first half.
“Not enough,” Burchard said when asked if he concentrated on containing Hogue. “In first games like this, you don’t know a whole lot. We knew he was their best player, but I wish we would’ve played him better.”
The Cougars battled back, though, to make it close going into halftime. Mahogany and guard Aaron Edwards hit consecutive three-pointers to help the Cougars pull within five, and Mahogany was fouled shooting from 3-point range with sixth-tenths of a second left in the half. He converted 2-of-3 free throws to make it a 30-27 game at halftime.
“We played really bad in the first half,” forward Nahowan Saxon said. “But the second half we stepped it up and shot better and got to the free-throw line.”
To start the second half, though, the Cougars shot 2-of-18 from the field, and trailed by as many as eight, before eventually taking the lead on a Ryan Steinhoff 3-pointer. The lead changed hands multiple times before the Blue Tigers closed out the game.
“It’s always tough dropping a game that close,” said Edwards, who finished with 13 points and eight rebounds. “Especially on the road, you have to win those.
“But we’re working and we’re learning. And it’s better to learn now, so that by the end of the season we’ve been through it, and we can get it done later on in the season.”
Saxon finished with 15 points and 8 rebounds and guard Terrance Smith added 10 points for Columbia College.
The Cougars finished the night shooting 24 percent from the field, while the Blue Tigers shot 42 percent, and 47 percent from 3-point range.