Cougars' perfect season ends with loss in quarterfinals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Columbia College Cougars saw their undefeated season come to an abrubt halt Saturday night in the NAIA National Tournament at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City.

The Cougars, who came into their quarterfinal contest 35-0 and ranked No. 1 in the nation, were bounced with a 79-78 loss to LSU Shreveport.

Columbia held a 42-36 lead at halftime but got outscored 43-36 after intermission to fall.

Jordan Dressler pumped in 26 points and grabbed eight rebounds in a losing effort.

Tanner Sutton added 15 for the Cougars and Marquette Murrell added 11. Zach Rockers (Helias High School) did not score for Columbia.

LSU Shreveport (27-6) advances on to face either MidAmerica Nazarene or Lindsey Wilson in Monday’s semifinal round.

In Friday’s second round, the Cougars advanced with a 66-64 win over Hope International.

After the game was tied at 32 at halftime, Columbia outscored Hope 34-32 after the break to win it.

The Cougars actually trailed 64-63 with :56 left in the contest after a pair of free throws by Hope, but a score by Devin Griffin with :46 remaining gave Columbia the lead for good. Griffin made 1-of-2 free throws with :16 left to provide the final margin.

Jordan Dressler racked up 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Cougars to the win. Griffin added 12 and Derrick Dilworth chipped in with 11. Rockers had five points for the winners.

Hope (26-8) got a game-high 19 points from Kris Rosales.

Also on Friday, Evangel University saw its season come to an end with a 77-70 loss to LSU Shreveport.

Evangel, the ninth-ranked team in NAIA, fell behind 41-31 at halftime and couldn’t recover. The Crusaders held a 39-36 scoring advantage in the second half.

The game was the final in the college careers of Evangel’s Stephen Cotten and Jayme Donnelly. Cotten (Eldon High School) had team highs of 22 points and nine rebounds, while Donnelly (Linn High School) had five points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals for Evangel (26-7).

Brandon Davis racked up 23 points and 17 rebounds for LSU Shreveport, which was unranked heading into the tournament.

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