West Florida raced out to a quick lead doubling up the visiting Cougars 12-6 through the first four minutes of the games. Columbus State picked up the defensive intensity and went on an 11-5 run over the next three minutes to tie the game 17-17 with 11:07 to go in the half on a Darius Mcknight layup. Paul Darkwa scored the first six points during that span.
The two sides would go back and forth trading baskets over the next several minutes before UWF went on a 6-0 run in just over a minute, taking a 33-27 advantage at the 4:26 mark. Lamar Williams would spur a 10-2 run scoring eight points including back-to-back three pointers to give the Cougars their first lead of the game, 37-35. The Argos would make a pair of layups separated by a Steve Peterson layup before Jarmarquis Steverson hit a jump shot with 32 seconds remaining in the half to give the visitors a 41-39 lead into the break.
Peterson hit CSU’s first two shots coming out of the locker room but two straight three pointers by West Florida knotted the game at 45 all just 1:07 into the second half. Similar to the first 20 minutes, both teams would knock down shots before a team went on a mini-run, this time it was Columbus State. Williams made a layup as he was fouled and knocked down the free throw for the three point play and Peterson made a layup on their next possession giving the Cougars their biggest lead of the game, 57-52 with 14:01 remaining.
The five point advantage would be matched a couple of times over the next several possessions before the hosts scored six straight points capped by a Darryl McGhee layup with 11:08 to go as UWF went ahead 62-61. The back and forth battle continued as Peterson made two free throws for a 68-66 advantage for CSU, their last lead of the game.
Without the help of a field goal over the next two minutes and nineteen seconds of play, West Florida would actually go ahead by three points as they knocked down 10 straight free throws. The Argos biggest advantage in the contest would come with 2:55 remaining as Marquis Mathis hit a jump shot making it an 84-77 contest.
Columbus State would continue to fight as Donta Ridley cut the deficit to three points with 26 seconds remaining on a jumper just outside the lane. The visitors called a timeout and forced a turnover on the inbound and UWF would then call a timeout. Williams took an open three point attempt at the top of the key, but was unable to connect and the Argos added two free throws.
Williams led the way scoring a game high 24 points off the bench as he hit 9-of-16 shots including three from downtown. Ridley (14 pts), Darkwa (13 pts) and Peterson (12 pts) were also in double figures and Darkwa added a team high nine rebounds. Columbus State connected on 34-of-71 (47.9%) from the field and made 12 free throws.
Jamar Moore did it all for UWF as he scored a team high 23 points and pulled down a game high 15 rebounds. Mathis added 22 points while Lewis and McGhee chipped in with 16 and 14 points, respectively. The Argos outrebounded CSU 38-36 while shooting 52.4% from the floor. They also knocked down 21 free throws in the contest.
The Cougars will have a few days rest before returning back to action on Sunday, December 19 when it takes on Hiwassee College at the Lumpkin Center. Tip-off is set for 3:00 p.m.