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.