By Maurice Patton
Chris Nix had no trouble acknowledging Wednesday night that he and his Columbia State men’s basketball teammates aren’t best buddies with their Southwest Tennessee counterparts.
“We wanted to come in and beat ‘em by 30 (points),” said the 6-foot-10 sophomore, and the Chargers were well on their way to doing that very thing before settling for a 77-64 victory at the Webster Athletic Center.
The win came in C-State’s first outing since dropping a 72-71 decision in Memphis on March 15 – a loss that snapped the Chargers’ 10-game winning streak.
“That built up,” said sophomore wing Jamari Bostic, who matched Nix’s 20 points as the two sparked their team to a 36-12 lead 3:40 before halftime.
With an 80-53 win over the Saluqis on Jan. 30 and a 69-64 victory on March 5 in Memphis, the one-point contest in the third meeting resulted in some overexuberance on the part of the hosts.
“The first game was OK,” Nix said. “The second game was kinda hostile – people getting (technical fouls). The third game was just crazy. They won on a layup and started clowning.
“We took our foot off the pedal (Wednesday).”
That 24-point lead became a two-point deficit by the eight-minute mark of the second half, before C-State ran off 12 straight points and regained control of the contest.
“We had a horrible second half, but I’m proud of our guys,” Chargers coach Winston Neal said. “They fought back. They could have hung their heads.
“Credit (Southwest Tennessee) for taking us out of what we were doing. But we have to be better at doing what we do. We got selfish a little, trying to make up for our mistakes. We forced things. That’s when we quit doing what makes us good.”
Getting a series of defensive stops and converting at the other end, the hosts regrouped and improved to 11-2 (9-1) with the win.
“When (Neal) called time out, we decided to execute,” Bostic said. “That’s how we got the lead, and that’s (not executing) how we lost the lead. When we executed, we got back in it.
“The best thing was, everybody contributed. Everybody played a part – scoring, taking a charge, getting a jumpball, being in ‘helpside’ (defense). Everybody contributed.”
Tarre’q Williams added 18 points for Columbia State, which plays Saturday at Volunteer State and March 31 at Dyersburg State to close out the regular season.
Columbia State men 77, Southwest Tennessee 64
Southwest Tennessee (64) – Mason 7, Johnson 8, Miller 16, Holland 4, Sanders 8, Merriweather 6, Smith 11, Prude 4
Columbia State (77) – Amirion Joyce 5, Tarre’q Williams 18, Chris Nix 20, Trevon Harris 3, Tre Carlton 2, Xavier Griffith 4, Janias Parram 4, Jamari Bostic 20, Malique Oates 1
3-pointers – Southwest Tennessee 10 (Mason, Johnson, Miller 2, Merriweather 2, Smith 3, Prude), Columbia State 6 (Nix, Harris, Bostic 4)
Half – Columbia State 39, Southwest Tennessee 19
Photos by Chris Yow / SM-Tn Sports