LSU-Shreveport mounted a second half comeback to beat No. 1 seed Columbia College, 79-78 in the quarterfinals of the NAIA Division I men’s basketball championships in Kansas City. The loss ends the Cougars perfect season (35-1).
This was a game that featured the top offense, LSU-Shreveport leading in the NAIA Division I in scoring (92 points per game), while Columbia was allowing 55.7 points per game. LSU-Shreveport is only the third team to score 70 or more points against the Cougars this season. LSU-Shreveport scored the most points on Columbia this season with 79. This is the first loss for Columbia in 365 days.
Columbia opened the game on a 12-3 run led by Tanner Sutton, who was 3-of-3 from behind the arc in the first 3:15 of the game. Columbia extended its lead to double-digits to 11, 27-16, with 7:18 left in the first half after Wendell Crowder hit a three pointer. Columbia went into halftime with a 42-36 lead.
Columbia extend its lead back to nine points, 57-48, after a Jordan Dressler jumper, and LSU-Shreveport went on a 13-3 run to take its first lead of the ball game, 61-60, with 10:14 left in the game.
The Cougars and Pilots started to exchange leads and ties for the remainder of the game as no team took a lead larger than four in the last ten minutes of the contest. With LSU-Shreveport ahead by two, 68-66, Columbia’s Tanner Sutton hit a three pointer to give the Cougars a one-point lead, 69-68.
With 5:35 left, Brandon Davis hit a jumper in the paint to put the Pilots on top, 70-69. LSU-Shreveport would not give up the lead for the rest of the game as the Pilots stretched the lead out to four points, 79-75, after a pair of free throws. Tanner Sutton hit a half-court shot for Columbia to put the Cougars down one, 79-78, but it was not enough as the Pilots came away with a one-point win.
“This has been amazing,” said Columbia head coach Bob Burchard. “It’s been the most amazing ride of my career. Everyone always wants to compare teams from year to year, but you just can’t do that because every team is your favorite for different reasons. Obviously it was a phenomenal ride. They made me look awfully good and put me in a position to get a lot of recognition, which I appreciate. We sat down at the beginning of the year and said, ‘wouldn’t it b e amazing if we really enjoyed being together, lived in the moment and had fun together and if we could be that team it would be great,’ and we were. These guys are just amazing people to be around.”
Jordan Dressler led the Cougars with 26 points, on 10-0f-14 shooting. Tanner Sutton followed with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting from behind the arc.
NAIA.org has complete coverage of the National Championships.
In other quarterfinals action, Monty Wilson hit a straightaway jumper with 31 seconds remaining to lift Georgetown (Ky.) to an 86-82 win over Culver-Stockton. The Wildcats were leading 52-37 at the half and couldn’t hold off Georgetown.
The Wildcats’ Marshawn Norris recorded his fourth double-double of the season using points and assists and posted his fifth double-digit assist output of the campaign … Norris finished the season as the Wildcats’ all-time leader in three-point field goals made with 118.