Columbia Cougars' Second-Half Defense Shuts Down Newark Tech

The Cougars' David Runcie shoots from the line during Tuesday's game against Newark Tech. He contributed 22 points to the 67-46 victory. Credits: Eric Hostettler

MAPLEWOOD, NJ -- The Columbia Cougars boys basketball team improved its record to 11-4 after defeating Newark Tech, 67-46, at home on Tuesday afternoon. The Cougars were led by brothers David and Michael Runcie, who contributed a combined 41 points.

David Runcie led the team with 22 points and his brother Michael added 19 points. Once again the Runcie brothers led their team in scoring as they have done all season.

Cougars’ head coach Eddie Turner praised the brothers and their level of play in today’s game and all season long. Turner said, “They played extremely well and up to their level.”

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The Cougars got off to a quick start with a 14-0 run after giving up a quick basket to start the game. The run was fueled by Michael Runcie, who added seven of his 19 points in the first two minutes of the quarter.

After a 6-0 run to end the first quarter, Tech drew to within six points of the Cougars again in the second quarter, but they wouldn’t get any closer. With Michael Runcie on the bench in foul trouble, his brother David picked up the slack, pushing the score to 35-27 with two late baskets before the end of the half.

The turning point of the game came in the second half when David Runcie got to the basket and was fouled hard by two players from Tech. A scuffle ensued and Tech found themselves with two technical fouls called after the play. David Runcie hit three out of four from the line to put the Cougars up 43-31.

The Cougars held Tech to four points in the third quarter and only 18 in the whole second half, out-rebounding and defending their opponent. Turner said he was very pleased with the team’s defense.

“We held them to 46 points and in the last two games we held two very good teams to around 40 points,” Turner said. “We’re playing the best defense we have all year.”

Despite a strong effort from Tech’s RJ Cole and Al-Tariq Halsey, who scored 15 and 10 respectively, the Cougars held their ground against their conference foes to push their win streak to four.

“We are playing the best basketball we have all season,” Turner said. “We keep improving, and this is the first time in my four years here that’s happened.”

The Columbia Cougars will play next at Newark East Side at 4 p.m. on Thursday.

The reporter is a student participating in hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.

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