WEST POINT, N.Y. – The Columbia men’s basketball team played arguably its best half of the season to overcome a five-point halftime deficit and defeat Army, 64-52, on Saturday afternoon. The Lions improve to 8-5 on the year with the win.
After struggling offensively in the first half, Columbia converted on a scorching 57.1 percent clip in the second and outscored the Black Knights (7-7) 40-23 in the closing 20 minutes.
Sophomore Steve Frankoski scored all 13 of his points in the second half on 5-of-6 shooting. Senior Mark Cisco was a force inside, pulling down 13 boards and rejecting four shots, tying a career-high. Classmate John Daniels was also key, scoring seven points to go with seven boards, while playing stout defensively.
Both teams came out strong defensively and neither team was able to generate anything off the dribble, leading to a large amount of three-point attempts. First-year Maodo Lo’s trey was the only basket on the scoreboard in the first five minutes of the contest.
Army eventually took a 7-5 lead at the 13:00 mark on a nice backdoor feed from Maxwell Lenox to Larry Toomey. The Black Knights extended the lead to 20-13 with a 7-0 spurt with 3:36 on the clock before the pace picked up in the closing moments of the half.
Still trailing by seven in the final minute, Barbour tried to close the gap with a nice drive and feed to Daniels for a slam. The Lions then came up with a key defensive stop and the Cousy Award candidate hit a pull-up jumper and was fouled for an old-fashioned three-point play to make it 26-24. However, Army’s Kyle Toth drilled a dagger trifecta as the horn sounded to give the Black Knights a five-point cushion heading into the locker room.
Columbia came out strong in the second half behind strong play of its senior frontcourt players. Daniels kick-started an 8-0 run with a pair of jumpers and Cisco evened the score at 32-32 with a second-chance bucket with 16:39 remaining.
Cisco gave the Lions their first lead since Lo’s game-opening three just over a minute later and Columbia really began to dictate the tempo. Frankoski got the hot-hand and scored seven-straight for the Lions to give them a 50-43 cushion at the 9:06 juncture.
Columbia opened up a 56-45 lead on a right-wing trifecta from Frankoski with 4:52 remaining, and held the double-digit lead the remainder of the way.
The Lions will remain on the road and close out the non-conference portion of their schedule at Holy Cross on Tuesday, January 7. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m.