CSU Hosts Regional Women’s Soccer Championships This Weekend

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Get ready for another action-packed soccer weekend as Columbus State University hosts crucial games that will decide whether the Lady Cougars could make it to the NCAA Division II Women’s Soccer Final Four.

CSU (19-3-1)will face top-seeded Tusculum (15-6) at 7 p.m. Friday in the second of two regional championship games at the CSU soccer complex on Algonquin Drive, near the west entrance of CSU’s main campus. Just before that Southeast Regional Championship game, at 4:30 p.m., Tampa (17-2-2) will play Montevallo (15-7) at the complex in the South Regional Championship game. The winners of those games will face each other at 1 p.m. Sunday in a NCAA Quarterfinal match here to decide which team goes to the Final Four, set for Nov. 29-Dec. 1 at Orange Beach, Ala.

CSU, the third seed in the Southeast Region, defeated Queens University of Charlotte 5-0 and upset No. 2 seed Carson-Newman 3-0 to advance to the final. Top-seeded Tusculum defeated Lincoln Memorial 3-1 to advance. CSU fell to Tusculum 1-0 in an Aug. 31 meeting at Columbus.

Columbus State got three first-half goals Sunday en route to the 3-0 shutout over Carson-Newman. That 19th victory set a new school mark for wins in a season. CSU launched its program in 2004.

CSU earned its way into the postseason by winning its third straight Peach Belt Conference regular season championship and its second consecutive PBC Tournament title.

Soccer fans can take a look at the entire Division II field and upcoming matchups on this online NCAA bracket. Details on CSU’season are available at http://www.csucougars.com.

Tickets are $7 for adults, $4 for students to age 12, $2 for ages 4-11, and kids 3 and younger are admitted free.

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Canned Goods Get Basketball Fans into Televised Game

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus State University basketball fans will be able to help a good cause, Columbus’ Valley Rescue Mission, and witness a nationally televised game Saturday, Athletic Director Herbert Greene has announced.

The Lady Cougars’ game at noon Saturday will be televised nationally by CSTV (College Sports TV), and the men’s game will follow at 2:30 p.m. Both games, the final home contests of the season, are against Armstrong Atlantic State.

‘We want as many people as possible to be at our games on Saturday and wanted to do something to help encourage more people to come out,’ Greene said. ‘What better way to do that than to allow people to bring food to help the Valley Rescue Mission and see good basketball just for helping. It is also an opportunity for people to possibly get some face time on national TV.’

Fans will be admitted to the day of basketball just by bringing two cans of food or any other non-perishable food item. Valley Rescue Mission collection bins will be located just inside the Lumpkin Center entrance for fans to deposit their donations.

CSU will also honor longtime Peach Belt Conference commissioner Marvin Vanover and will declare Marvin Vanover Day in the Lumpkin Center. Vanover is retiring as commissioner of the league after becoming commissioner at its inception in 1990. Vanover was head basketball coach at Augusta State University before becoming commissioner.

The basketball games will be the final regular season games of the season for both CSU squads and could have a big impact on seeding for next week’s Peach Belt Conference Tournament at Lander University in Greenwood, S.C.

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Conference Recognizes CSU for Best Overall Year in Athletics

HILTON HEAD, S.C. — Columbus State University was awarded the 2005-06 Peach Belt Conference Commissioners Cup at a special awards dinner here Tuesday evening at the leagues annual meeting.

The Cup is given to the PBC athletic program that had the best overall year in all PBC Championship sports it competes in and reflects excellence for an entire athletic program as opposed to just one team. The trophy is the first Columbus State has won since becoming an inaugural member of the league in 1990.

The Cougars had an outstanding year in 2005-06, winning PBC Championships in womens cross country and softball and tying for PBC titles in mens basketball, womens soccer and womens tennis. The Cougars also had a second-place conference finishes in mens golf and were third in mens cross country and baseball.

This was one of those years where we were fortunate enough to be pretty good in just about everything, said CSU Athletic Director Herbert Greene. It is a testament to the great job our coaches do year in and year out. We are glad to finally be able to win this award. It says a lot for the overall job our folks do in our program.

Columbus State earned 76.5 total points out of a maximum possible total of 93, giving them a .823 rating to win the Cup. Armstrong Atlantic State was second with a .788 while Clayton State was third at .704. The rating system was implemented in 2001 to give a weighted average derived from the number of championship sports sponsored.

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Cougars Outscore Top-Ranked Team to Win Conference Championship

AIKEN, S.C.– The Columbus State Cougars scored four runs Sunday in the first and added another in the second to defeat top-ranked Georgia College & State University 8-4 in the championship game of the 2006 Peach Belt Conference Tournament here.

With the win, the Cougars improved to 41- 18 on the season while GC&SU fell to 49-10.

The Cougars jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the first inning as Kurt McKee led the game off with a double and later scored off an RBI single from Billy Howard. Brad Shea then delivered the big blow of the inning with a two-run double to right. Trent Bianco finished the scoring with an RBI single.

The Cougars built the lead up to five runs in the second inning on an RBI single from Drew Candlin that scored Jonnie Geiger. That was enough to force GC&SU starting pitcher Ryan Tabor (L, 0-1) from the game after an inning and 2/3, allowing five runs on six hits.

The Bobcats struck back in the fourth with a pair of runs. Casey Cullen doubled with one out to score Mike Deveaux, who was one of three Bobcats hit by a pitch in the game. Cullen was moved to third on a Wes Sorrells hit, then the bases were loaded as Kyle Shisler was hit by a pitch. Tripp Burt then grounded out to third, scoring Cullen but leaving runners at second and third with two out. Columbus State starter Bryan Kilgore (W, 1-3) got out of the jam by getting Rich Janofsky to ground out to short.

The Bobcats added another run in the seventh on an RBI line drive by Hans Stancil, but again left two runners on base. The Bobcats stranded nine runners in the game.

Columbus State put the game away in the bottom of the eighth, scoring three runs on a bizarre play that featured two throwing errors by the GC&SU defense that, in essence, allowed McKee to circle the bases for an inside the park home run with two runners on.

Paul Able pitched the ninth inning to close the door on the Bobcats. Johnny Floyd, who was named All-Tournament, pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless relief, his third appearance in the PBC Tournament.

CSUs Billy Howard was named the tournament Most Valuable Player after going 1-4 with a run and an RBI. Candlin, Linton, Bianco and Shea all had two hits for the Cougars. Shea was also named All-Tournament.

Justin Mills was the only Bobcat with more than one hit as he went 2- for-5. Casey Cullen, named All-Tournament, went 1-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI.

Both GC&SU and Columbus State are all but assured of spots in the NCAA South Atlantic Regional tournament, which begins next week. The tournament bracket is expected to be released on Monday morning.


GC&SU head coach Chris Calciano: Going down 5-0 at the start really hurt us. We made several bad pitches, but we had a young freshman out there doing what he could do. We chipped away at the deficit and ended up rushing it with the errors in the eighth.

The tournament will take a lot out of your ball club, but we will get some good practices in this week and perform our best at regionals.

GC&SUs Rich Janofsky (on his error in the eighth): It was a stupid play, I rushed my throw because I did not use my mental clock as the runner went down the first base side.

Columbus State head coach Greg Appleton: We really got lucky in the 8th with their error because a two-run lead is never enough against a run-scoring GC&SU team. But the key for us was (Bryan) Kilgore, because we didnt have a whole lot left of our pitching staff and he surprised me, going six innings, because he usually relieves us for three or four.

‘We persevered more than anything in this tournament. It was grueling. We didnt always hit well, but we ended showing our offense at the right time and made it count.

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Greene Steps Away from Basketball , Will Remain as Athletic Director

After 25 years as head basketball coach at Columbus State and almost 40 years in coaching, Herbert Greene is hanging up his whistle.

The longtime Cougar icon is stepping away from coaching and will continue as the schools athletic director, CSU President Frank Brown announced Monday.

Because of Herbert Greenes double duty as basketball coach and athletic director, the CSU athletic program has risen to heights that few could have imagined when he first arrived on campus, Brown said. The department and the basketball team both have grown to levels that each really require full-time attention. Fortunately for CSU and the community, Coach Greenes presence will not be going away as we work toward even greater things, administratively and on the basketball court.

I have been [coaching basketball] for about 40 years and have loved every minute of it, said Greene. Our athletic department has grown and gotten so big that it needs more attention from the athletic director and, if I remained in a dual role, someone would get slighted. The time is right for me to make this move and leave the coaching to someone else. I have had so many wonderful things happen to me in coaching this game, but it is time for me to step away.

Greene came to CSU on March 25, 1981, after serving as an assistant at Auburn University under Sonny Smith. His claim to fame prior to CSU was his recruitment and signing of Charles Barkley, a player who went on to what will likely be a Hall of Fame career in the NBA. He took over the dual role as basketball coach and athletic director in 1986 upon the retirement of Frank Sonny Clements and has guided the CSU program through a meteoric rise to one of the finest overall programs in the nation at the Division II level.

Greene is the schools fourth head coach. He replaced interim coach David Noles, who held the position for a year after Clements stepped away from coaching to become athletic director. Greene, a Eufaula native, has amassed 481 wins in his 25-year tenure. That number puts him atop the all-time wins list at CSU. His teams have averaged just over 19 wins per season and have made eight post-season appearances – including the last four years consecutively. CSU has become a dominant team in the Peach Belt Conference, which Greene helped found, and has won four regular-season titles and an unprecedented six PBC Tournament championships.

As athletic director, Greene has been a source of leadership as the CSU program experienced the ups and downs of Division II athletics. He has worked through budget issues while guiding the CSU athletic program to national prominence. CSU added womens basketball in 1990 and womens soccer just two years ago, and both have blossomed into competitive programs. Womens basketball teams made two consecutive Elite Eight appearances in 2000 and 2001, and was the top-ranked team in the nation heading into the 2001 post-season. That squad finished 31-1, losing in the national semifinals.

Womens soccer won a share of the Peach Belt title and earned its first national ranking in 2005 — just the second year of its existence. In addition to these, the CSU golf program has won four of its six national championships (1989, 1992, 1994, 1997) during Greenes tenure, and the Cougar baseball team won its first national title in 2002.

Greene also has seen the CSU facilities undergo a metamorphosis from mediocre to a place among the nations finest at the Division II level. The centerpiece of the facilities is the Frank G. Lumpkin Jr. Center. Greene helped to create the overall design of the facility from its inception, and it is widely known as one of the best basketball facilities in the Southeast, especially at the Division II level. Greene has also been instrumental in getting the newest facility — the CSU Soccer Complex — constructed and playable. The Lady Cougar team christened the field last fall and it, too, is becoming widely known as one of the best facilities around — even while still in various phases of construction. Those facilities join the baseball and softball fields, which have long been recognized as among the best in Division II.

Greene said hes probably most proud, however, of the academic achievements of CSU student-athletes. He was instrumental in forming a fifth-year scholarship program for athletes who had finished their eligibility but were not finished with their degree programs. To date, 97 of 101 student-athletes who have enrolled in the fifth-year program have earned degrees. Under Greenes leadership, more than 90 percent of CSUs student-athletes have earned degrees.

If a student-athlete comes here and wants to get a degree, they will graduate. I am very proud of the fact that so many young people have earned degrees over the years. We have always told recruits that if they wanted a degree, we would do everything we could to help them get one. Fortunately, over 90 percent of the athletes who have come here want to graduate and they have, Greene said.

As for Greenes replacement, Brown announced that Doug Branson would step into the head coaching position on an interim basis for one year. Branson has been at CSU as an assistant coach for seven years, including six as a full-time coach. He came to work for Greene as a graduate assistant in the 1999-2000 year and has earned a reputation as a solid coach on the floor and a relentless recruiter off the floor. There should not be much of a difference in what people see on the floor next season, said Greene. After all, these are all Dougs kids — he recruited them and has formed relationships with them, and I dont think the team will miss a beat.

Coming to Columbus State is the best thing that has ever happened to me, Greene said. I have learned so much and been blessed beyond belief. There have been peaks and there have been valleys over the last 25 years, but through it all this has been the most meaningful thing I have ever done. Today I am ending a coaching career, tomorrow I am starting as a full-time athletic director. I am looking forward to getting into that role more and accomplishing some goals over the next two or three years.

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CSU Men Claim OT Road Win; Homecoming Next

MORROW, GA – Nathan Patterson sank a pair of free-throws with .4 seconds left in overtime here Monday night to help Columbus State seal a 72-68 win over Clayton State and a share of the Peach Belt Conference lead.

Patterson’s free-throws followed a big offensive rebound and put-back by Ransom Antoine with two seconds left that gave the Cougars a 70-68 lead.

The win, coupled with a 57-50 loss by Georgia College & State University at Armstrong Atlantic State, once again puts a gridlock at the top of the PBC standings. CSU and GC&SU are tied with 15-4 records, while AASU is percentage points back at 14-4. The Cougars move to 21-7 overall with the big road win.

‘Man this was a big road win for us,’ said CSU coach Herbert Greene. ‘Our kids just hung in there and played hard and I am proud of them for that. We could have folded our tent there at the end of regulation and in overtime, but we kept fighting and got a really big win.’

Things were going well for the Cougars, who led 29-22 at the half, early in the second half. A Will Davis three-pointer put the Cougars up 39-29, and a pair of Corris Portis free-throws less than a minute later stretched the lead to 41-29. But Clayton State made its run.

Trailing 52-45 with 9:39 left, Clayton State reeled off eight unanswered points to take its first lead of the game with 3:54 to play in regulation. Todd McLaurin’s three-pointer gave the Lakers a 53-52 lead at that point. CSU would re-take the lead on a pair of Will Davis free-throws 21 seconds later and would hold it until Brandon Kelley’s trey with 50 seconds left tied it at 58. CSU turned the ball over and missed a shot in the remaining time, while Clayton State also had a turnover and Kelley’s attempt at a game-winner with three seconds left was off the mark.

CSU took a quick lead in overtime on a Davis jumper, but a McLaurin trey with 3:38 left gave the Lakers a 63-62 lead. CSU re-took the lead on a huge Corris Portis trey 19 seconds later, and the Lakers would tie the game on two McLaurin free-throws and then take a one-point lead with 2:33 left as John Beugnot hit one of two free-throws to make it 66-65.

CSU outscored the Lakers 7-2 the rest of the way to seal the win. Corris Portis tied the game with one of two free throws at the 2:16 mark, and Ransom Antoine gave CSU the lead for good with an offensive rebound and put-back off the Portis miss. Antoine’s layup with two seconds left came off another offensive rebound — this one of a Portis miss from long range to just beat the shot clock. An inbounds pass by Clayton State hit the ceiling and gave the ball back to CSU to set up Patterson’s free-throws for the final margin.

Antoine came up big again for CSU, collecting 20 points and 17 rebounds — eight of those on the offensive end. Will Davis also completed a double-double, scoring 15 points to go with 11 boards. Ron Robinson and Portis added 11 points each. CSU out-rebounded the bigger Lakers 53-49 while shooting just 33 percent overall.

Clayton State got 22 points to lead all scorers from McLaurin, while Donte Dawson and Beugnot added 11 each. Beugnot completed a double- double with 12 boards. The Lakers shot 33 percent overall, but just 24 percent in the first half.

CSU returns home to celebrate homecoming on Saturday against University of North Carolina-Pembroke. The game will tip early, in a rare 1 p.m. start at the Lumpkin Center and is the final regular season game for the Cougars. The Lady Cougars face their UNC-Pembroke counterparts at 11 a.m.

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CSU Golfers Win 16-Team Florida Tournament

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. — Columbus State survived windy, cold conditions here Tuesday to hold off a charge from West Florida and win the Outback Steakhouse Intercollegiate at the Hombre Golf Club.

CSU fired a final-round 302 to finish at 595, while the Argonauts were the only team to break 300 at 292, finishing four shots back.

St. Edwards (Texas) finished third at 607, UNC Pembroke fourth at 614 and Wingate fifth at 623 in the 16-team field. The event was contested on the 6,457-yard Hombre Golf Club, a par-71 layout.

Jeff Howard of St. Edwards took medalist honors, winning in a playoff with West Florida’s Brian Lawrence. Howard fired rounds of 69-76, while Lawrence carded rounds of 75-70. Lawrence won on the first playoff hole with a par.

Evan Scanlan and Christian Ries of CSU tied for third at 146. Scanlan followed Monday’s 71 with a 75, while Ries had rounds of 72-74. Wesley Ker-Fox shot 74 on Tuesday to finish at 151, tied for ninth. Andrew Georgiou and Brandon Kuban each fired a 79, with Georgiou finishing tied for 12th. CSU will next be in action on February 27-28 at the AASU Pirate Invitational in Savannah, where the Cougars are defending champions.

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Home Baseball Opener Saturday; Newcomer Excels

Columbus, GA – Newcomer Drew Candlin has quickly made a name for himself in the Cougars’ first games of the 2006 baseball season. The junior transfer from Newnan has been named the Peach Belt Conference Player of the Week for the first weekend of the season.

Candlin hit .462 in a three-game set at West Alabama, slugging a double in each game and driving in three runs in each of the final two games of the series. He added a home run in a three-hit game in the second contest, a 10-5 CSU win, and then capped the series with with two hits in a 6-5 CSU loss. He scored four runs and posted a .923 slugging percentage in the three-game set.

CSU returns to action on Wednesday at Valdosta State and will play the 2006 home opener on Saturday at Ragsdale Field, beginning a three-game set with Anderson College at 1 p.m.

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Grand Slam Sparks CSU Win in Softball Opener

Sophomore left fielder Allison Paul got the Columbus State season off to a big start, slugging a fifth-inning grand slam to send the Lady Cougars to a 9-1 win in the opening game of a double header with Valdosta State.

The Lady Blazers, however, turned the tables in the nightcap, collecting 20 hits in a 16-3 win to earn a split in the VSU debut of head coach Thomas Macera.

CSU pitcher Stasha Morton helped herself at the plate in game one, bashing a two-run home run to right field in the third inning to give the Lady Cougars a 2-0 lead. Erin Brown plated a pair of runs in the fourth with a triple, scoring Danielle Aszman and Tamela Bell to put CSU up 4-0.

Valdosta State tallied its only run in the top of the fifth, taking advantage of a CSU error. Caroline Cripe led off with a single and on Trele Edwards’ sacrifice, moved to second was awarded a trip home as the errant throw went into the VSU dugout. Becca Aszman ended the VSU threat by grounding into a double play that went pitcher to first to home to cut down Edwards trying to score.

The CSU fifth inning began with a Morton single, followed by a single off the bat of Randi Rainwater. After Amber Lanier fouled out, Bell laced a single down the left field line to score Morton and advanced to second on the throw. Danielle Aszman then slapped an infield single to third to load the bases and Paul launched her game-ending homer to left field.

Morton allowed just two hits and no earned runs to earn the win. She fanned three and allowed one walk. Liz Hall suffered the loss, allowing 13 hits and nine earned runs with two strikeouts.

Aszman led CSU with three hits, while Morton and Carrie Mills collected two each. Everyone in the Lady Cougar lineup had at least one hit. Cripe and Becca Aszman had the two hits for VSU.

The Lady Blazers scored in each of the five innings in game two to win going away. VSU tallied four runs in the first inning and five in the second to cruise to the win. CSU plated three runs in the bottom of the first to pull within one, but VSU hurler Allison McKean settled down and did not allow another run the rest of the way.

Amy Gaiss launced a two-run homer deep to left field in the third inning, and Robin Williams blasted a two-run shot in the fourth in the 20-hit bat-fest for VSU. Williams led the attack with four hits and four RBI, while Holly Willis, Cripe, Edwards, and Melissa Santana each had three hits. Gaiss had a pair of hits. Willis and Gaiss had three RBI each.

McKean walked three hitters — all in the first inning — and struck out one in taking her first win of the season. She allowed just two hits after the first inning and five overall. Rainwater started for CSU and gave up nine hits in 2.2 innings. She allowed 11 runs, only four of which were earned, and fanned one. Megan Sherwood finished for CSU, allowing five earned runs with two strikeouts in 2.1 innings of work.

Five different players had single hits for CSU in the game. Junior Amber Lanier saw her 17 game hitting streak come to an end in game two, going 0-1 with a walk.

CSU is next in action at the Georgia College & State University Invitational in Milledgeville on February 10-11. The Lady Cougars return home to open Peach Belt Conference play on February 14 with a 3 p.m. twinbill against Armstrong Atlantic State.

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Win Moves CSU Men to 8-1 Record, First Place in Conference

Columbus State got 28 points from sophomore guard Corris Portis here Wednesday night to lead the Cougars to a thrilling 86-81 win over Georgia College & State University.

With the win, the Cougars move into first place in the Peach Belt Conference standings with an 8-1 mark and own the league’s longest win streak at eight games.

Portis came out on fire for CSU, hitting three three-pointers in less than two minutes as the Cougars jumped out to an 11-0 lead. But just as quickly as CSU took control, the Bobcats snatched it away, using a 13-3 run to cut the lead to 14-13 with 14:45 left. Shejdie Childs nailed a trey to get the Bobcats within one point. GC&SU would forge a tie just less than three minutes later, capping a 5-0 run to make it 20-all with 11:48 left.

CSU rattled off 13 straight to answer, however, and took a 33-20 lead with 8:07 left in the period. GC&SU would get as close as six points before CSU used another run to build its biggest lead at 49-35 with 1:58 left. Quay Holloway capped a 13-5 run with a jumper to provide the 14-point margin. GC&SU would grab a little bit of momentum back before the half, using a 7-0 run to cut the halftime margin to 49-42. Andre Smith’s three-pointer with 31 seconds left was the big shot of the run for the Bobcats.

CSU maintained a cushion for the first eight minutes of the second half before the Bobcats made a run to get themselves back into the game. Trailing 61-52 with 12:52 left, the visitors out-scored the Cougars 16-6 over the next four minutes and took their first lead of the night on a pair of Bryan Harrison free-throws with 8:56 left to make it 68-67. The two teams traded the lead twice with a pair of ties mixed in over the next three minutes before a Ransom Antoine jumper put the Cougars ahead for good at 75-73 with 4:05 left. The Bobcats would get as close as three points on three occasions – the last coming after a Ronnie Dennis layup with 12 seconds left, but a pair of Portis free-throws with eight seconds left sealed the win for the Cougars and closed the scoring.

Portis went 8-12 from the field on the night which included hitting four of seven three-point shots, and was a perfect 8-8 at the free- throw line. Antoine added 19 points on 8-13 shooting, while Ron Robinson had a second-straight solid game with 16 points and nine rebounds from his point guard spot. Nathan Patterson led the Cougars in rebounding with 11 as CSU held a 48-36 advantage on the boards. The Cougars shot just 39 percent in the second half, making only nine field goals, but held the Bobcats to 37 percent and just 1-10 from three-point range.

Bryan Harrison led GC&SU (11-5, 8-20) with 22 points, going 12-13 at the free-throw line. Jeremy Mayweather added 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Aaron Clark chipped in 14 and Ronnie Dennis 11. The Bobcats shot just 39 percent for the game and only 17 percent from three-point range (4-24).

CSU faces another tough battle on Saturday in its fourth game in eight days, facing Armstrong Atlantic State on the road at 4 p.m. Meanwhile GC&SU will host Clayton State in a 7:30 p.m. contest in Milledgeville.

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CSU Coach Greene Reaches Win No. 500 Milestone

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — In 25 years at Columbus State, Herbert Greene has just two wins at the G.B. Hodge Center on the campus of the University of South Carolina Upstate.

The first came Dec. 1, 2001 and was his 400th career win as a head coach. That win came in a thrilling 83-79 overtime contest. Four years later, Greene collected his second win here Monday night and, ironically, it was his 500th win and came in another thriller — this one a 94-89 nailbiter.

‘There haven’t been many sweeter than this one,’ said a jubilant Greene. ‘Gosh, what a great win — we just stayed after them and stayed after them and played hard. We switched defenses on them and that helped us and we just got it done. This was a fun game to coach because of how hard these guys played.’

The game was tight throughout, with both teams shooting well from the outset. The Spartans shot just under 66 percent in the first half — 70 percent from three-point range — and took a 51-45 lead into the locker room at the half. Meanwhile, CSU was shooting 53 percent overall with six treys. The two teams fought to six ties and 16 lead changes in the half before Upstate finally gained the upper hand, closing out the final 2:17 on an 11-4 run to take the six-point advantage.

Upstate held the lead for almost 14 minutes of the second half, allowing the Cougars to tie the score just once — at 59-all — with 14:27 left. Ransom Antoine’s layup capped a 6-0 run for the Cougars to earn the tie. The Spartans answered with a 6-0 run of its own to regain control and would take its biggest lead on a Luke Payne three- pointer with 11:07 left to make it 70-63. CSU used another 6-0 spurt to get within one at 70-69 with 10:02 left, capped by a Corris Portis trey. Upstate would again answer and stretch its lead to as many as five points — 77-72 — with 8:18 left. At that point, CSU began to chip away and out-scored the Spartans 6-1 to tied the game at 78 with 6:51 left.

The Cougars took the lead for the first time since the first half 33 seconds later on a Portis layup, going coast-to-coast after a defensive rebound. The two teams would swap the lead four more times before CSU finally gained control. Trailing 83-82 with 4:14 left, CSU used a 7-0 run to take a 89-83 lead with 2:48 left. Upstate would get as close as two points on a pair of Ivica Grgurovich free-throws with 1:38 left, but the Cougars got a huge basket from Will Davis with 14 seconds left to take a 93-89 lead and Nathan Patterson sealed the win by hitting one of two free-throws with three seconds left.

Ron Robinson, feeling ill the entire game with a stomach ailment, played through the nausea and scored a season-high 32 points on 10-18 shooting on the night. He also added four assists and four steals. He was one of five Cougars in double digits on the evening. Antoine chipped in 19 points, while Davis added 14 on 6-8 shooting overall and 2-2 from three-point range. Corris Portis added 13 and Patterson 10 to go with eight rebounds. CSU shot just under 56 percent in the second half and 54 percent for the game.

Upstate (11-4, 6-3) was led by Jay Free’s 19 points including a 4-4 night from beyond the arc. Grgurovich added 17 points, while freshman Daniel Quinlan added 16. Erikas Kauppaitis added 12 and Payne 11. Grgurovich led the Spartans in rebounding with eight. As a team, Upstate out-rebounded the Cougars by one — 32-31 — and shot 57 percent on the night.

Greene was ecstatic after the game. ‘It has been a great 25 years and coming to Columbus was the best move I ever made as a coach. I have been truly blessed,’ he said. The Cougars (13-4, 7-1) do not have long to celebrate the big win as Georgia College & State University comes to CSU Wednesday for another key Peach Belt Conference matchup. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Lumpkin Center.

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CSU Head Coach Headed Toward Win No. 500

PEMBROKE, NC – Columbus State head coach Herbert Greene got his 499th career win as a collegiate head coach here Saturday. But it was anything but a sure thing until the final horn sounded as his Cougars escaped with a 68-63 win over UNC Pembroke.

Greene will go for his 500th win on Monday at USC Upstate — ironically the site of Greene’s 400th overall win in his only victory ever in the G.B. Hodge Center.

The Cougars struggled throughout the contest — especially from three-point range and at the free-throw line — until Ron Robinson fueled a 13-0 run late the second half to finally put the Cougars ahead.

‘Thank goodness for Ron Robinson,’ said Greene. ‘We came out and lolligagged around in the first half and Quay Holloway went on a little run of his own and saved us and then Ron put us on his back there for a while in the second half. I am glad to get out of here with a win.’

The Cougars led for the game’s first three minutes before UNC Pembroke got a layup from Scooter Lawrence to go ahead 7-6. They would hold the lead for the next 16 minutes until Holloway scored six consecutive points — three on an old-fashioned three-point play and three on a long three-pointer to give the Cougars a 33-32 lead with 45 seconds left. Jabarr Adams got the lead back for the Braves on a jumper with 23 seconds left and UNCP held a 34-33 lead at the half. CSU was just 3-18 from three-point range in the half and only 10-18 at the free-throw line.

The Braves were able to hold a lead on the Cougars, stretching it to as many as seven points, for the first 10 minutes of the second half. On the strength of a 7-0 run, however, the Cougars took a 49-48 lead with 9:59 left on a Nathan Patterson jumper – their first lead since the 45-second mark of the first period. After Curtis Royal put the Braves back ahead a moment later, Ransom Antoine and Robinson combined to put the Cougars in control. Antoine’s layup put the Cougars up 51- 50 and he later added a dunk to make it 56-50 with 6:37 left. Robinson then hit a jumper, fet Antoine for a layup, and stole a pass and laid it in to cap the 13-0 run and give the Cougars a 62-50 lead with 4:46 left.

Just as quickly as the Cougars heated up, the offense then went ice- cold as the Braves fought their way back into the game. CSU missed five free throws in a stretch where UNCP would cut the lead to 66-63 with 25 seconds left. Antoine hit one of two tosses with 22 seconds left to give the Cougars a 67-63 lead and Jeff Tarver added one of two just before time expired to provide the final margin.

‘When you miss as many free-throws as we did with our best shooters at the line, you are supposed to lose,’ said Greene. ‘We were very fortunate and I hope our guys see why they should practice that shot [the free-throw] as hard as they do the rest of their game. I’m afraid they don’t do that.’

Robinson led the Cougars (12-4, 6-1) with 16 points. He added seven rebounds, three assists and four steals on teh day as well. Antoine collected 13 points and five rebounds, while Holloway chipped in 11 points – all in the first half. Nathan Patterson led the Cougars in rebounding with 11 as they won the battle of the boards 48-42. CSU shot 46 percent in the second half and 40 percent overall, but were just 5-29 from three-point range on the day.

UNC Pembroke (4-11, 1-8) was led by Lee Moore’s 13 points off the bench. Scooter Lawrence added nine points and Jarrell Hunter chipped in eight points to go with 10 rebounds. The Braves shot just 28 percent in the second half but took advantage of 27 CSU turnovers — 15 in the second half — to stay in the game.

CSU travels to Spartanburg on Monday having won six games in a row to face a Spartan team which has played as well as anyone in the PBC at times this season. Greene’s only win ever in the Hodge Center came in an 83-79 overtime win on December 1, 2001 – his 400th overall as a coach. Tip-off is set for 7:30 PM.

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CSU Cheerleaders Among Top Squads in Nation

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — For the sixth year in a row, Columbus State has finished in the nations top three at the College National Cheer Championships held by the Universal Cheerleaders Association.

CSU performed well at the Milkhouse Arena here in Disneys Wide World of Sports complex but saw a national championship escape its grasp again as West Georgia won another title. Slippery Rock (Pa.) finished second in Division II. On Saturday the Small Co-Ed squad finished fourth in its bid for a third-straight national title.

Columbus State will now return home and turn its attention to winning a second-straight Peach Belt Conference title. The Cougar squad won the 2005 championship after a two-year hiatus. The competition will be held as part of the annual PBC Basketball Championships in Greenwood, S.C., in early March.

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Lady Cougar Basketball Coach Goes for 300th Career Win

Columbus State head womens coach Jay Sparks will try for the 300th win of his career Saturday at the Lumpkin Center in a non-conference game against West Georgia at 2 p.m.

JaySparks, right, has come a long, long way since being selected as the programs first head coach back in 1989. At that time he had only one scholarship to work with and his first squad managed just four wins. Now, the CSU program is widely recognized.

Sparks, who coached on the high school level at Brookstone and Hardaway, saw his record gradually improve over the first four seasons, doubling to eight wins in the second year, to 10 in the third and 12 in the fourth. The first 20-win campaign came in just the fifth year of the program as his squad went 20-9. That was the first of nine 20-win campaigns in Sparks 16-plus year tenure.

The most incredible stretch of Sparks career was a span from 1997-98 to 2002-03. During that time, his teams won 158 games against only 37 losses — an average record of 26 wins and just over six losses per season. In the last eight seasons (including the first nine games of this year) his record is 194-69 — a .738 winning percentage. His overall record now stands at 299-183 (.620).

The Saturday contest is also the last game for CSU before the Christmas holiday break. The Lady Cougars will next play on December 29-30 as they host the CSU Holiday Classic. Georgia College, Caldwell (NJ) College, and Stillman University will play in the event which will begin at 3 p.m. each day. Meanwhile the CSU men will be on the road this weekend against a pair of very formidable foes, playing at North Carolina Central on Saturday at 1 p.m. and then at No. 3 Virginia Union, the defending Division II national champion, on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

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CSU to Pack the House, Honor Shaw Coach

Columbus State University will hold its annual Pack the House Day Saturday at the Lumpkin Center as Armstrong Atlantic State comes to town for a Peach Belt Conference doubleheader. CSU will also honor longtime Shaw High School football and baseball coach Charles Flowers.

CSU officials, in an effort to alleviate congestion and parking problems associated with a mid-week game because of class schedules, are experimenting with a Saturday game for Pack the House. The event has been held the past two seasons on a Wednesday night. The 2004 event set the CSU attendance record of 3,456 fans.

Flowers will leave coaching and assume new duties as Muscogee County School District athletic director in January. His 2005 Raider football squad had another outstanding season, falling last week in the state semifinals at the Georgia Dome.

CSU Athletic Director Herbert Greene came up with the idea of honoring Flowers after witnessing the amount of respect Shaw players displayed for Flowers and because of the contribution he has made to the Columbus community over the years.

‘Winning games is great, but Charles Flowers has done a lot more than win games,’ Greene said. ‘Through his dedication, coach Flowers has influenced a tremendous amount of young men and women and has worked not only to produce quality athletes but quality citizens. His move to this new position will hopefully allow him to influence even more student athletes throughout the entire school system. Charles is a quality person and we felt like he deserved to be recognized on a larger scale.’ Flowers will be presented with tokens of appreciation during a short ceremony at halftime of the men’s contest. His current and former players have been invited to attend the games at CSU. A number of his fellow coaching colleagues, student-athletes from throughout the school system, city officials and school board members are also expected to attend.

Tipoff for the women’s game is set for 1 p.m., with the men’s game to follow at 3 p.m. Admission prices are $5 for adults and $3 for students and children. CSU students, faculty, and staff are admitted free with ID.

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Cougar Men 5-1 Heading Into Conference Opener

CARROLLTON, Ga. — For the second night in a row, Columbus State fought back from a halftime deficit Saturday to earn a hard-fought win in the All- Georgia Shootout at West Georgia.

This time, Morehouse held a halftime lead on the Cougars before a strong second-half effort propelled CSU to a 82-73 win.

The two squads played a tight game from the outset, trading the lead nine times in the first half. The biggest lead by either team was five points — that held on three occasions by the Maroon Tigers. CSU last led at the 3:44 mark at 29-28. From there, Morehouse out-scored the Cougars 8-4 to take a 36-33 lead into the break. Corris Portis helped keep the Cougars close with nine points, all on three-pointers, in the half.

The second half started much the same way as the first. CSU tied the game at the 19:16 mark on a pair of free throws by Ransom Antoine and then took the lead on a Justin Wilson jumper 18 seconds later. After Morehouse re-took the lead at 43-40, Wilson tied it with a three- pointer at the 17:47 mark. The lead would switch hands again before CSU took its biggest lead at 52-47 with 13:57 to play on a Wilson layup.

The Maroon Tigers fought back to re-take the lead again on a pair of Brandon Childs free-throws with 9:02 left to make it 57-56. That would prove to be the last time Morehouse would lead. Leading 62-60 with 7:10 left, the Cougars went on an 11-2 run to effectively put the game away. Jeff Tarver and Corris Portis sandwiched three-point buckets around a pair of Wilson free-throws to aid in the run. The Portis trey made it 73-62 with 4:36 left. Morehouse would get as close as six points with 1:04 to play, but a Tarver layup and a free-throw by Ron Robinson closed the scoring for the Cougars.

Wilson had a strong game for the second straight night, scoring 20 points to go with seven rebounds. Ransom Antoine scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Portis finished with 15 points on 4-6 shooting from beyond the arc. Jeff Tarver came off the bench to post a strong double-double with 11 points and 11 boards. The Cougars shot 50 percent in the second half and 46 percent for the game.

Morehouse (1-2) placed four players in double digits, led by 17 points from Brandon Childs. Josiah Young had a double-double with 16 points and 10 boards. The much taller Maroon Tigers held only a 40-34 rebounding advantage but had 21 offensive boards.

CSU (5-1) will now turn its attention to Wednesday’s Peach Belt Conference opener at Georgia College & State University. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Centennial Center in Milledgeville.

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CSU Soccer Coach, Freshman Win Conference Honors

Although forced to share the Peach Belt Conference crown, Columbus State’s women’s soccer team managed to claim a fifth of the slots on the All-Conference team as its coach, Jay Entlich, was named Coach of the Year.

Columbus State’s Kellie Myles won another individual honor as Freshman of the Year.

Myles, a midfielder, helped Columbus State to a share of the 2005 PBC Championship after leading the team with 13 goals and six assists for 32 points. The freshman from Fayetteville, Ga., made a mid-season switch from defense to midfield and is the first CSU player to capture a major conference award.

Entlich founded the Columbus State women’s soccer program and in just two short years has crafted a championship-level team. After a respectable 2004 season played largely with newcomers, Entlich led the 2005 Lady Cougars to a share of the PBC Championship with a 14-5-1 overall record, including 6-1-1 in conference play and, in the season’s final week, the programs first-ever Top 25 ranking.

Other CSU members of the 2005 All-Conference team as selected by position by the nine PBC head coaches are defenders Sarah Hawkins and Megan Honig and goalkeeper Monica Sanchez. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players.

Clayton State’s Olaitan Yusuf was named the PBC Player of the Year after leading PBC scoring for the second straight season with 17 goals and seven assists. The sophomore from Nigeria, is ranked 17th in the nation in goals per game and, in just two seasons, is already the conferences second all-time leading scorer with 51 career goals. She was named the PBC Freshman of the Year last season.


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Balanced Attack Leads Cougars to Exhibition Win

Columbus State placed five players in double-digit scoring here Friday night as the Cougars took a 93-80 exhibition basketball win over Albany State.

Quay Holloway came off the bench in the home opener to net 18 points to lead the CSU effort.

The Cougars shot 51 percent in the first half and pulled out to a double-digit lead late, thanks in part to 12 points from Holloway. The junior transfer from Southern Union hit three treys and was fouled on another — making all three charity tosses. Those three free-throws put the Cougars up 45-33 and they would take a 51-39 lead into the break.

CSU jumped out to a big lead early in the second half, only to have the Golden Rams come charging back. CSU opened the half with a 14-6 run to take a 65-45 lead with 13:06 to play, and would lead by as many as 21 before Albany State started chipping away.

The Golden Rams used a 27-8 run — aided by nine CSU turnovers — to get back within two points at 76-74 with 5:24 to play. A three-pointer by Scheraun King and a free-throw, also by King on the next possession, capped the run. CSU then seemed to wake up and answered the big run with a 17-6 stretch to close the game and take the 13-point win.

In addition to Holloways 18, the Cougars got 14 points each from Nathan Patterson and Ransom Antoine. Patterson had a big night as he led all rebounders with 11 to complete a double-double. Corris Portis added 13 points, while Justin Wilson chipped in 10. CSU also got nine points each from Ron Robinson and Will Davis.

Jarett Mathis led the Golden Rams with 19, followed by 18 from Travon McGruder and 17 from Frank Pinson.

CSU will open its regular season next Friday at the Disney Division II Tip-Off Classic against Philadelphia. Game time is set for 1 p.m.

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Lady Cougars Win Conference Tournament Soccer Game

After a 55-minute lightning delay interrupted the first half of Tuesdays first-round Peach Belt Conference Womens Soccer Tournament game, Columbus State used some second-half lightning of its own to break a 1-1 tie and take a 3-1 win over North Georgia.

The Lady Cougars, the tournaments top seed, earn the right to host the PBC Final Four on Friday and Saturday with the victory.

CSU also found out just before game time that it had garnered the programs first-ever national ranking this week, entering the NSCAA/Adidas Division II Top 25 in the No. 25 spot. The ranking is icing on the cake for the second-year program and comes on the heels of its first-ever PBC regular season championship — a title shared with Clayton State this season.

Katherine Atwater got the scoring started in the first half as she took a pass from Kellie Myles after a corner kick and beat North Georgia keeper Kelly Conarro in the lower right corner of the net for a 1-0 lead just 7:27 into play. North Georgia (3-12) answered quickly, getting a breakaway in which Elizabeth Franklin ran down a feed from Jessica Williams and beat Monica Sanchez to tie the score at 1-1 at the 9:39 mark.

Rain started to fall a short time later and with 13:20 left in the half, play was halted due to lightning. The delay lasted 55 minutes and the two squads resumed play in a steady rain, going into the half knotted at one.

CSU finally broke through and got the eventual game-winner from Hannah Ospina. Megan Honig served in a corner kick which Ospina and teammate Krystin Mills each went up for, but Ospina connected with the header to beat Conarro for the 2-1 lead at the 73:59 mark. Kassy Boivin struck just under three minutes later with the games final goal off a great crossing pass from Mills to make it 3-1.

Conarro faced a barrage of 31 CSU shots from all directions on the day, coming up with eight saves. Sanchez recorded one save for CSU and faced only three shots. CSU held a 9-1 advantage in corner kicks.

The Lady Cougars (14-5-1) will now turn their attention to hosting the leagues top four teams beginning Friday. CSU has chosen to play the 12-Noon game, and will play the UNC Pembroke vs. Lander winner. Armstrong Atlantic State, 7-1 winners over Georgia College & State University on Tuesday, will face the Clayton State vs. USC Upstate winner at 2:30. Saturdays championship game will kick off at 2 p.m.


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