COLUMBIA - The Cleveland State basketball teams hit the road on Friday as they crossed the mountain into middle Tennessee to Columbia State for pair of big Region VII Conference games.
The first conference road games of the season were successful as the Cougars kept their record unblemished with a 91-70 win over the Chargers while the Lady Cougars notched their first conference win with a 65-51 win over the Lady Chargers.
The Cougars used a big run near the end of the first half of the men's contest to break open a close game and held it the rest of the way to win their 6th game in as many tries.
The visitors started slowly as the home team dominated the paint in the early going with the lead changing hands several times. Cleveland State then caught fire and in a span of about two minutes, took the lead and extended it to a 20 point bulge in lightning quick fashion, taking a 51-31 halftime lead.
The Cougars were never threatened in the second half as they cruised to the win. Travis Jones paced the Cougars (6-0, 3-0) with 30 points, Ralph Eason had his usual day at the office with 18 points, nine steals and five rebounds, Tim Triplett added 13 points, Filipe Goncalves chipped in with 10 points and Trey Suttles finished with eight.
Chris House led the Chargers with 11 points while Arturs Bremers and Shekaree Scrife had nine points each.
Cleveland State shot 48 percent from the floor while holding the Chargers to 37 percent. The Cougars had only 12 turnovers and forced 26, had 19 steals and hit 25 of their 38 free throws.
"That run near the end of the first half was the difference in the game," explained Cougar coach Lee Ciglaino.
"We got several turnovers and it all started with our defensive intensity which turned into several easy baskets on the other end. Our bench really gave us a lift which was a plus, Filipe, Xavier and Tim Triplette played well during the run and then Ralph and TJ continued to do their thing throughout the game. So overall it was a big conference win on the road."
LADY COUGARS 65,
LADY CHARGERS 51
The Lady Cougars had very few problems in the ladies contest as they picked up their first conference win over the winless Lady Chargers. Cleveland State used a big defensive push in the first half, holding the home team to only 16 percent shooting on 4 of 24 shots (34 percent for the game). Cleveland State would hold a 33-12 lead at the break.
Columbia State made several runs in the second half, but the Lady Cougars were equal to the challenge each time as they finished strong for the big road win. Ciera Anderson, Robyn Anthony and Chelsea Jones led the Lady Cougars (3-3, 1-2) with 10 points each while Jones added eight rebounds and five assists to her totals. Shadave Taylor had nine points, Jara Gasper helped out with eight points and Mercedes Owens finished with seven. Kiarah Dunlap and Kaysia Taylor led the Lady Chargers with 11 points each.
The Lady Cougars shot 44 percent for the contest and also out-rebounded their hosts 41-35.
"It was good to get a conference win especially on the road," stated Lady Cougar coach Dan Lumpkin. "We played well defensively and shot the ball pretty well. Columbia made a couple of runs in the second half, but we held on to get the win."