Score: Evangel 68, #6 Columbia 75
Records: Evangel (0-1); Columbia (1-0)
Location: Columbia, Mo. | Southwell Complex
COLUMBIA, Mo. – A season-opening comeback fell short Friday night, 75-68, as the Evangel men's basketball team pushed No. 6 Columbia College to the wire in non-conference action.
The Crusaders cut an early 12 point deficit late in the first half when Cade Coffman started a 9-0 for Evangel at the 4:01 mark. Autry Acord finished off a coast to coast steal and layup to give Evangel its first lead at 32-31.
Columbia would hit a free throw with 1:51 left to tie the game as both teams finished the final two minutes scoreless to go into halftime at 32-32.
In the second half, Evangel battled back and forth with the Cougars as a pair of free throws with 9:01 left from Jaylen Jones pushed the Crusaders ahead, 49-48. The lead would be short-lived, as Columbia went on an 8-1 run to lead 55-49.
The Cougars would shoot 46 percent from the field in the second half despite Evangel forcing 13 turnovers. Columbia also shot 25 more free throws than Evangel finishing 23-of-35 while the Crusaders went just 9-of-15 at the line.
Acord nearly missed a double-double with 12 rebounds and seven points in the loss.
Adam Mennemeyer led Columbia with 15 points and nine rebounds in the season opener for both teams.
Evangel returns to the court Saturday against William Woods in the Columbia Coaches vs Cancer Tournament. Tipoff from Southwell Complex is scheduled for 3 p.m.
For the latest information on Evangel Athletics, follow the Crusaders on Facebook at Facebook.com/EUAthletics or go to www.EvangelAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the Go Evangel Front Row App at EvangelAthletics.com/FrontRow available on Google Play and in the App Store.