MONTEVALLO, Ala. – No. 14th Anderson (S.C.) pulled away late to down Columbus State in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. The Trojans used a 45-33 second-half advantage to capture the victory 77-64.

The Trojans improved to 25-5 on the season while the Cougars concluded their season with a 18-12 record.

AU was led by Denzail Jones and Stephen Cobb who each scored 17 points. Jones added five assists and four rebounds while Cobb had five boards. Taylor Shugart had a double-double with 13 points and 12 boards while Tyrell McDowell chipped in 12 points.

CSU was led by Idell Bell who had 17 points while Dimitri Davis had 16 points and seven rebounds. Steve Peterson also added 12 points and seven boards.

The Trojans shot 46.3 percent from the field in the game while holding the Cougars to just 36.5 percent. AU was on fire from long-range hitting 13-of-26 shots from beyond the 3-point line while the Cougars hit just 6-of-22. Both teams were solid from the free-throw line as AU hit 73.7 percent and CSU hit 75.0 percent.

CSU jumped out to the early lead in the first half as the Cougars scored six of the opening eight points. Anderson responded with a 10-1 run to take a 12-7 lead with 13:35 to play. After a Jonathan Murphy jumper that cut the Trojans lead to just three, Jones answered with a 3-pointer to give AU its largest lead up to that point at 15-9. The 3-pointer sparked an 8-0 run by the Trojans to increase their lead to 11 with just under 12 minutes to play. The Cougars then scored six consecutive points to cut it back to five and a jumper by Darius Mcknight cut it down to four just a minute later. Mcknight then connected on a free throw to trim the lead to just three points but once again a Trojan three-pointer put the lead back to six.

With 3:22 to play Davis hit a layup to make it a two-point game but again the Trojans answered with a 3-pointer to put themselves back up by five. After both teams traded free throws, Davis went on his own three-point run to close out the half and cut the lead to just one at 32-31.

The Trojans shot 40.0 percent from the field in the first half and 46.7 percent from 3-point range. The Cougars connected on 39.3 percent of their shots and 30.0 percent from 3-point range. AU was 5-of-7 from the charity stripe while CSU hit 6-of-10. CSU won the rebounding battle 20-15 while AU edged CSU in turnovers as the Cougars had seven while the Trojans had just six.

After a free throw put the Trojans up by two, a jumper by Paul Darkwa tied the game at 33. The two teams traded baskets on the next few possessions until a Jones 3-pointer put the Trojans up by five. CSU answered with a small 5-0 run to tie the game but just minutes later the Trojans again stretched their lead to five. The lead would remain around the five-point mark until the Trojans started a 10-2 run with 6:08 to play to take a 68-56 lead. The run lasted just under three minutes as the Trojans drained a pair of three-pointers and a pair of jumpers.

With 1:16 left in the game a jumper by Nick Trull gave the Trojans their largest lead of the game at 17. A layup with 48 seconds by the Cougars ended the scoring as the Trojans won 77-62.