Number one ranked Columbia College kept rolling in the first round of the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship, with a 68-37 win over Oklahoma City at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City. The Cougars, now 34-0, will advance to the second round and play Hope International (CA) on Friday, March 15 at 6:15 p.m.
Jordan Dressler recorded 21 points and 13 rebounds for Columbia, converting 9-of-13 field goal attempts. Derrick Dilworth chipped in with 11 points while Marquette Murrell finished with eight points and nine rebounds. The Cougars dominated on both ends of the floor in the first half, holding the Stars to 5-of-30 (.167) shooting and allowing just 12 points. Columbia jumped out to a 25-6 lead over the first ten minutes of the game.
“The guys just really had a bounce in their step today,” said Columbia head coach Bob Burchard. They were focused and determined to come out strong. We knew where to be and how to defend that explosive offense. We just moved the ball well and didn’t allow their pressure to get to us on the offensive end which obviously helped as well.”
The Cougars are making their 17th appearance at the Division I Men’s Basketball National Championships and improved to 8-16 all-time. The Cougars also matched its season-low of 38 points allowed, matching the total allowed in wins over Central Christian (KS) and Hannibal-LaGrange (MO).
Evangel University, Springfield, opened the tournament with a 64-54 win over Montana State University. With the exception of the first minute, Evangel led the entire game shooting 52% in the first half to open up a 13 point lead. Zack Kleine led with 18 points and four rebounds. Victor Agbasi scored 17, thanks to 4 of 7 three-point shooting. Evangel as a team, hit 9 of 17 attempts from behind the arc.
Evangel advances to second round play on Friday and will play LSU/Shreveport at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.