VALPARAISO, Ind. – Junior guard Maodo Lo hit a game-winning step-back jumper as time expired to give Columbia a 58-56 win at Valparaiso in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament on Tuesday, March 18. Columbia is now 20-12 on the season, marking just the seventh time they have reached the 20-win plateau in school history.
In a game with nine lead changes and five ties, Columbia led by as many as seven, early in the first half, but neither team led by more than four in the final five minutes of the game.
Columbia’s 3-point shooting gave them an advantage in the first half with the Lions’ first nine points coming off of threes. Each team sustained a run to close out the first period, with Moussa Gueye giving Valpo a one-point lead at the break, 30-29. Lo and Steve Frankoski led the Lions with seven points in the first half, while Alec Peters had eight points for the Crusaders.
Columbia took a five-point lead in the second half, but each time the Lions looked to extend the lead, Valpo answered with a basket. Cory Osetkowski was phenomenal for the Lions in the second period, scoring 15 of his career-high 21 points in the final stanza.
Leading by one with seven minutes remaining, Osetkowski hit a jumper, and then hit two free throws to take a four-point lead with 5:40 on the clock. The Crusaders answered with a 5-0 spurt to give Valpo a 55-52 advantage with three minutes to play. Osetkowski came through once again for the Lions, hitting a jumper on the baseline to cut the lead to one, and then hitting a 15-footer to give Columbia the one-point lead, 56-55 with 1:04 to play.
Vashil Fernandez was fouled on a tip-in attempt with 28 seconds remaining. Fernandez hit one of two, and Issac Cohen came up with an impressive rebound to set up the final shot.
Lo dribbled out and moved from right to left to use the clock. He made a move with five seconds left on the clock, shooting with two seconds remaining for the final 58-56 margin.
Lo finished with 13 points, eight rebounds, five assists, one block and one steal, and his first-ever game-winning shot. Osetkowski was 8-of-11 from the floor, a perfect 3-for-3 from behind the arc for the career-high 21 points. Alex Rosenberg and Frankoski finished with seven points each.
The Lions shot 43.5 percent for the game to Valpo’s 38.9 percent. The teams were tied with 30 rebounds each, with Columbia holding a 21-17 edge on defensive rebounds and Valpo holding a 13-9 edge on offensive rebounds.
Rosenberg broke the Columbia single-season record for free throws attempted and is six makes away from tying Columbia’s single season made free throws record.
Columbia awaits the final seeding of the CIT for it’s next opponent. Seeding should be released after the final first round game on Wednesday, March 19.