By: Lucas Packer
The Titans traveled to Columbia, MO this evening to face off against Columbia College in the first game of the Cougars vs. Cancer Classic. The final score of 71-54 may be a bit misleading, as the effort by IU South Bend was commendable, especially in the second half. The Titans, who compete on the NAIA Division II level, were simply overmatched by a very talented Columbia team that relies heavily on upperclassmen. The Cougars are an NAIA Division I competitor and are currently ranked #6 in the country on that level. "That's the best team we'll play all year," said head coach Chad Tapp.
The first half started slow for the Titans and Columbia was able to slowly build a lead, heading into the break with a 43-28 lead. IU South Bend actually outshot the Cougars percentage-wise in the first half, 53% to 52%, but Columbia managed that percentage on 31 shots compared to just 17 for the Titans. The second half turned into a scrap, with IU South Bend standing toe-to-toe with the tournament hosts. In the end, however, the Cougars still managed to outscore the Titans by two, 28-26, to give us the final score. The second half saw IU South Bend take more shots from the field with 24 but they managed to connect on only 33%, while Columbia knocked down an impressive 58% of their 19 attempts. Despite the loss, Coach Tapp was proud of the effort. "There was a good part of that game that our guys just flat out competed and played their butts off," he said.
For the game, IU South Bend shot 42% from the field but just 57% from the charity stripe, missing 12 free-throws overall. The Cougars finished at 54% from the field and hit 74% of their free throws, which had a huge impact on the outcome.The effort by the Titans was led largely by Chris Beam, who poured in 17 points, Kyle Heatherly, who finished with 12 points, and Steven Heatherly, who tallied 10. Columbia College also had three players in double figures, led by Jordan Dressler with 19 points to go with his 7 rebounds.
The loss drops the Titans to 9-6 on the year and they are right back in action tomorrow as they play their second game of the Cougars vs. Cancer Classic, this time against William Woods University (MO). The game is slated for a 5pm tip-off and live stats will be available at: