COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Columbus State men's basketball team (11-4, 3-2 OCCAC) picked up a conference win on Wednesday in a close game against the Cuyahoga Challengers.
The Cougars managed to pull ahead in a solid second-half to win 89-85 on the home court. As a team, Columbus State sunk in 11-of-22 three point attempts, had 12 steals, and allowed only five turnovers.
"We fought hard," coach Ed Thompson said. "We picked up our intensity on defense in the second half and our bench really stepped up."
Nic Williams led the Cougars with a season-high 23 points and 11 rebounds, his first double-double of the season. His points came from shooting 7-of-13 from the field, including a trio of three's, and going 6-of-10 from the line.
Johnnie Robinson (pictured right) came off the bench to score 13 points for the Cougars. Robinson replaced Kenneth Moore after Moore suffered an eye injury in the first half. Moore contributed six points, three assists, two rebounds, and two steals before being sidelined for the rest of the game.
Chris Byrd collected seven points while Donte Smith went 1-of-1 to sink in a three pointer. Lamarr Barnes, Travon Hester, John Montgomery, and Patrick Ngene-Igwe each chipped in two points to round the Cougars' scoring efforts. Ngene-Igwe was the only Cougar besides Williams to reach double figures in rebounds with 10.
Each team had 16 second chance points while Columbus State had two fast break dunks from Willis.
Thompson was proud of his team, particularly Robinson and Hester. "Johnnie stepped in and did a great job and Travon was solid on defense."
Robinson added that he thought the team played well. "Rodney's shots gave us confidence." He continued, "and listening to the coaches gave us the keys to win this game."
Next up for the Cougars is a road game against Edison Community College on Sat, Jan. 16 at 3:00 p.m.