The Columbia College Cougars celebrate their AMC championship (photo/

The Columbia College Cougars celebrate their AMC championship (photo/

The 9th-ranked Columbia College men’s basketball team won their 4th American Midwest Conference (AMC) tournament Championship in five years on Monday evening with a 77-74 victory over William Woods University. The Cougars will head to the NAIA Men’s Basketball National Tournament with a record of 28-5. The NAIA National Tournament will take place in Kansas City, Mo. from March 16-22. The national tournament bracket and pairings will be announced on Wednesday, March 9th at 6:00 p.m.

Back-to-back threes by the Owls cut the deficit to three at 44-41 early in the second half. WWU eventually battled back to tie the game at 46 on a three by Trey Mitchell at the 15:19 minute mark. Columbia responded with a 7-0 run that included a three by Jackson Dubinski to go ahead 53-46.

After trading baskets, the Cougars used five straight points, capped off with a three by Preston Whitfield to extend their lead to double-digits at 60-48 at the midway point. The Owl’s Austin Lowery hit a three of his own, making it a nine point game, but Whitfield wasted little time as he drained yet another three to make the score 63-51.

Columbia continued to lead by double-digits until back-to-back threes by Kevin House and a three by Trey Mitchell cut the deficit to two at 71-69 with 3:59 left to play. The Owls made it a one point game at 72-71 with two made free throws by Mitchell, but Zack Rockers would make two-of-two at the charity stripe to give Columbia the 74-71 advantage with just over a minute left to play.  The Owls had one last chance at a play with 16 seconds left on the clock, but their three point shot fell short, allowing Columbia to come away with the 77-74 win.

The Owls were led by Mitchell with a game-high 20 points while DeGeare and House finished with 18 and 15 points, respectively.

With the win, Marcus Whitt and Chantel Stanciel become the winningest players at Columbia College with a 121-16 overall record.

Postgame with Missourinet affiliate KTGR’s Cosmo and Cougar coach Bob Burchard

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