A decisive 16-3 run to end the third quarter vaulted Columbia past Freeburg 65-55 in opening round action from the Columbia-Freeburg Holiday Tournament.
Leading just 28-26 early in the quarter, the Eagles began asserting control on a 3-pointer and two free throws from junior Jon Peterson. A lay-up by senior Drew Worley on a nifty pass from sophomore Sam Horner extended the lead to 40-27. Sophomore Jacob O’Connor’s 3-pointer as time expired in the quarter capped the run and bolstered the Eagles’ margin to 44-29.
Columbia eventually opened a 62-42 cushion before settling on the 10-point outcome.
“Our 1-3-1 defense did a nice job ... we also got some run outs,” Eagles coach Mark Sandstrom said of the 16-3 surge. “We still have a long ways to go. But it’s always good to win and still be able to have some things to work on.”
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The Eagles improved to 5-4 with their fourth-straight win and will face Gibault at 7 p.m. Thursday. Peterson paced Columbia with 20 points, while junior Cole Khoury and senior Jordan Holmes added nine points apiece. Senior Jared Germain contributed eight points.
Sandstrom said receiving key contributions from others besides Holmes — averaging 18.7 points per game — was crucial.
“We didn’t have to rely on Holmes the entire night. We need our complementary people to be able to do what they did tonight so we’re not so one-dimensional for us to be successful as we move forward,” Sandstrom said.
Senior Zach Muir led Freeburg (5-6) with 24 points, including seven 3-pointers. The Midgets resume tournament action at 1 p.m. Thursday against Civic Memorial.
Overall, Freeburg coach Matt Laur lamented his team’s inability to connect on close-range shots.
“It kind wears on you when you just keep playing defense and don’t make a basket,” he said. “It got to be where it was mental. We had a lot of good looks and a lot of lay-ups around the rim that we just couldn’t get them to fall.”