LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - Brian Barbour's career-high 24 points led an outstanding team effort to stun host Loyola Marymount University 69-61 in the Centennial Classic. John Daniels scored just six points, but was instrumental in the win, leading all players with 12 rebounds, including crucial boards in the final seconds of the game.
Columbia led by as many as 18 points, and from start to finish, but LMU rallied in the final minutes to threaten.
Columbia led by 14 at the break, and neither team started off the second period well. Loyola Marymount cut the lead to 12 with 18:43, but Meiko Lyles answered with a tough three on an assist by Daniels to push the lead back out to 15 with 17:36 remaining.
Columbia continued its hot shooting, pushing the lead to 18 with 9:22 to play, behind three three-pointers by Lyles, and layups by Barbour and Blaise Staab.
Ayodeji Egbeyemi and Jarred DuBois started a 9-0 LMU run that spanned two minutes, to cut the lead to nine with 7:12 to play, but Columbia answered with back-to-back three-pointers by Lyles and Noah Springwater to keep the lead at 15 with 6:24 to play.
Just before the five-minute mark, LMU made a move with increased defensive pressure to try and spark a rally. DuBois had a steal and a layup, followed by a three-pointer by Anthony Ireland to cut the lead to 10. Clutch free throw shooting gave Columbia a 12-point lead with just 1:18 remaining, but that was when LMU kicked into another defensive gear.
With three consecutive steals, LMU cut the lead to six with 37 seconds to play. Barbour hit a free throw to extend the lead to seven (66-59), but DuBois hit another layup to cut the lead to five with 24 seconds to play. Ireland missed a layup and Mark Cisco grabbed a tough defensive rebound on the ensuing possession. Cisco got fouled on the play and converted the first of two free throws with 20 seconds to play. Cisco missed the second, but Daniels went up and grabbed the rebound from a swarm of defenders to give Columbia another offensive possession.
Barbour and Springwater converted free throws in the final 10 seconds to ice the 69-61 win for Columbia.
Barbour scored a career-high 24 and added four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Lyles added 12 points, all in the second half, while Springwater had a season-high 10 points, two rebounds, two assists and a block.
Columbia shot a blistering 63.2 percent from the three-point line, hitting 12-of-19 three-pointers. Columbia also shot 53 percent for the game from the field, while holding LMU to 41.4 percent from the field and 27.8 percent from the three.
Columbia (3-4) returns to action tomorrow, when they face North Texas at 8 p.m. Eastern.