NEW YORK – Sophomore Maodo Lo knocked down a pair of free throws with 14 seconds remaining in the second half to push Columbia past Brown, 70-68, in a wild affair that saw 17 lead changes and eight tie scores. Junior Alex Rosenberg scored a game-high 23 points and classmate Meiko Lyles dropped a season-high 21 points, on a blistering 5-for-5 performance from downtown, to go with nine boards.
Lo once again did his best work in the second half, scoring 11 points in the final frame and finished with 15 for the contest. First-year Jeff Coby scored six points and set a new personal-best with nine rebounds.
With 5:07 on the clock, the Bears’ (13-10, 5-4) Steven Spieth made a nifty pass to Leland King, who put his team up, 64-59. However, King was assessed a technical foul for hanging on the rim. Rosenberg hit both foul shots and Lyles found some room from the left corner and tied the game with a trey to even the score with 4:49 to go.
After Brown answered with four-straight to make it 68-64 with 2:20 remaining before one last rally by the Lions (16-10, 5-4). Rosenberg maneuvered in traffic to score on a layup and after a defensive stop Coby was fouled corralling an offensive rebound and converted from the stripe to even things up again.
The Bears had two chances to regain the lead when Sean McGonagill’s fade-away jumper took a funny carom to force Isaac Cohen to fall out of bounds with the ball with 51 seconds left. After a timeout, Brown worked the shot clock down to the final seconds and Spieth took a trey from the right corner that was off the mark, leading to another scramble. Lo dove on the loose ball and was fouled with 14 seconds and buried the game-winning shots, but the Bears still had opportunities to force overtime.
King missed a short jumper from the left corner with four seconds to go, but Dockery Walker was there to secure the offensive rebound. Brown used its final timeout to draw up one last play, but Columbia defended it perfectly and forced a 30-foot heave by McGonagill that came up short of the rim.
In the first half, Cedric Kuakumensah continued his dominance of the Lions, scoring eight straight points on mid-range jumpers to give the Bears their largest lead of the night, 29-18, with 7:06 left in the period.
Columbia later went on a 10-0 run to pull within a point with 2:53 on the clock and nearly 30 seconds later Lyles tied it with a triple on a nice feed from Isaac Cohen. The teams traded baskets in the final minutes of the stanza and Brown took a 37-36 edge into the break.
McGonagill scored 20 points and dished out five assists for the Bears. Kuakumensah was held to 1-of-5 shooting in the second half, but was a factor on the defensive end with six blocks before fouling out with 3:00 remaining.
Despite being outshot, 49.2%-39.0%, the Lions were plus-11 on the glass and grabbed 11 offensive rebounds. Columbia also went 15-of-19 from the foul line, compared to 3-of-6 by Brown.
The Lions have a rare day off between Ivy League contests and will welcome first-place Yale to Levien Gymnasium on Sunday, Feb. 23 at 1:30 p.m. The game will be televised on NBCSN and can be heard on the Ivy League Digital Network. Tickets are also still available and can be purchased by clicking here.