NEW YORK – Alex Rosenberg scored a career-best 34 points and helped Columbia erase a 12-point second half deficit to force overtime, but an important basket in the extra frame was waved off and Harvard came away with an 88-84 win on Friday night.
After a tightly contested first half, the Crimson (19-4, 6-1) strung together a 16-3 outburst to give themselves a 49-37 advantage with 11:04 remaining in regulation. After the Lions (14-10, 3-4) chipped away, Siyani Chambers buried a trey with 6:38 to go to restore the 12-point cushion.
However, the duo of Rosenberg and Maodo Lo took over and scored the next 12 Columbia points to make it 62-60 at the 3:36 mark of the second half. Just over a minute later, Rosenberg evened things up on a pair of free throws and after a defensive stop, Cory Osetkowski made a nifty move in the post to put the Lions on top, 66-64, with 1:15 remaining.
The teams traded foul shots on both ends, keeping Columbia in front by two, but Steve Mondou-Missi tipped in a missed layup to even the score at 68 with 24 seconds left. Lo worked the game clock down to the waning moments and spun into the lane where his 10-footer jumper just rolled off the rim to set up the extra session.
In the first overtime, the lead changed hands five times and the score was deadlocked again, 73-73, after Wesley Saunders converted on 1-of-2 from the charity stripe with 1:13 left. Both teams had chances to take the lead, but neither team could convert. Once again, the Lions had the ball for the final shot.
With seven seconds remaining, Rosenberg made his move to the basket, drove into the lane, collided with Laurent Rivard and knocked down what appeared to be the go-ahead shot, but a charge was called on the play to send the game to the second overtime.
Harvard scored the first four points of the next period to take a 77-73 lead with just under four minutes to play. Rosenberg trimmed the margin to two with 2:21 to go, but Rivard canned an open triple from the corner to spark a 6-0 run to push the advantage up to 85-77 with 36 seconds to go.
Even though the Crimson left some points on the board from the foul line down the stretch, there was not enough time to complete the last rally.
Lo finished with 20 points, five rebounds and five assists. Rosenberg also had a team-high seven rebounds.
Chambers and Mondou-Missi each posted 22 points to lead Harvard.