No. 5 Columbus State routs No. 4 Herkimer in first NJCAA DIII national tournament appearance

Mario Young
Mario Young

LOCH SHELDRAKE, New York — The Columbus State men's basketball team defeated the Herkimer County Community College Generals Thursday afternoon with a score of 91-76 to advance to the final four of the NJCAA DIII Championship. The Cougars shot an astounding 62.1% from the field, a season-high for the continuous underdogs.

Sophomore forward Matthew Gierhart led the offense with 18 points on 8-for-14 shooting from the field in the first round of tournament action. Sophomore standout Mario Young recorded 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting while freshman Malieck Evans came off the bench and had a stellar run, scoring 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting.

Freshman forward Anthony Butler sunk in 12 points while grabbing a team-high five boards. Freshman guard Shamar Brown added ten points while sophomore guard Christopher Byrd came alive in the second half, draining a trio of three-pointers to thrust the Cougars well ahead of the Generals.

Freshman Zion Parham dished out a game-high nine assists along with his eight points. Young and Byrd combined for six assists and Gierhart, Young, and Parham each pulled down four rebounds.

"We stayed together," said Coach Ed Thompson. "We kept with our 'Just Us' motto and played tough defense."

The Cougars will face off with No. 1 Brookdale Community College on Friday, March 16 at 7:00PM ET. If they win that game, they move on to compete for a national title on Saturday.