The possibility of a season-worst four-game losing streak was never more than an afterthought Saturday for the Columbia College men’s basketball team.
The Cougars dominated from the start, defeating Concordia Seminary 111-54 at the Arena of Southwell Complex, snapping a three-game losing streak. The win provided a much-needed confidence boost to a team that has found wins increasingly hard to come by this season.
“We needed this,” said sophomore guard Andreas Jakobsen, who led all scorers with 32 points, and was 4-of-9 from 3-point range. “We’ve had some really tough games at the beginning of this season. We needed a game like this to lift our spirits and get our confidence back.”
Leading 22-17 midway through the first half, the Cougars used a 33-0 run to pull away from the overmatched Preachers (1-8), en route to their second-biggest scoring output of the season.
The Cougars (5-7) finished the game on top in almost every offensive category. They shot more than 50 percent from the field, including 40 percent from 3-point range, and finished with 42 rebounds and 30 assists.
Perhaps the most telling statistic, though, was the team’s points off turnovers. The Cougars converted 35 Concordia Seminary turnovers into 39 points, including 24 in the first half.
“That’s something we’ve really been working on, our easy points and our shot selection,” Jakobsen said. “In our other games, they’re kind of low, because we haven’t been getting the easy points. In this game, we got a lot of fast breaks and a lot of easy buckets, and that’s what made the difference.”
Four Cougars scored in double figures, despite the absence of second-leading scorer Nahowan Saxon, who was injured during pre-game warm-ups.
Senior guard Aaron Edwards, who struggled at the start of the season, finished with 25 points, six rebounds and four assists. Guards Terrence Smith (19 points) and Ryan Steinhoff (14) were also in double figures.
The win was overdue for a Columbia College team that has lost more games so far this season (seven) than it did all of last year. In the five games before Saturday’s blowout, Columbia College went 2-3 and hadn’t won a game by more than 10 points.
“Almost every half (this season) has come down to the last possession,” Cougars coach Bob Burchard said. “And that’s hard, it wears on you. We’ve never had an opportunity where it just starts to flow a little bit and you feel good. Until tonight.
“Even games we’ve won, everything’s just been live-or-die with making a perfect pass, making a perfect play.”
The Cougars will look to make it two in a row against Missouri Valley College (8-3) at 2 p.m. today.