|Points||Mike Best (17)||Grant Mullins (20)|
|Rebounds||Mamadou Ndiaye (8)||Jeff Coby (10)|
|Assists||Alex Young (6)||Isaac Cohen (5)|
|Steals||Luke Nelson (4)||Maodo Lo (3)|
|Blocks||Mike Best (3)||Four Players (1)|
NEW YORK – The Columbia men’s basketball team (25-10) rounded out a historic season in exciting fashion on Tuesday night as it picked up the program’s first postseason tournament championship title with a 73-67 win over UC Irvine to claim the 2016 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament Championship crown.
Columbia becomes only the second Ivy League team to win a postseason tournament after Princeton’s 1975 NIT Championship.
In a game that came down to the final minute of play, it was Columbia who was able to finish out their memorable season hitting five of their last seven shots from the field and 6-of-8 from the line over the last minute to seal the 73-67 victory.
While UC Irvine was able to open with the first six points of the game, it was Luke Petrasek who was able to spark the Columbia offense as he drained a three in the far-side corner to kick off a 7-0 run.
After being held scoreless for nearly four minutes, the Anteaters were able to respond, however, taking eight of the next 10 points to take a 14-9 lead with 11:25 remaining in the half.
With the Anteaters leading, 20-14, and just under eight to play, Maodo Lo came out of the media timeout and drained a three from the top of the arc to cut the UC Irvine lead down to three.
That momentum was exactly what Columbia needed as the Lions stormed on a 15-2 run over the next five minutes, forcing the Anteaters to call a timeout, trailing 29-22, with 2:29 remaining in the half.
Despite a pair of dunks by Mamadou Ndiaye in the final two minutes, Maodo Lo was able to capitalize on a pair of free throws to send the Lions into the locker rooms with a 31-26 lead. Columbia combined for 15 points off 10 UC Irvine turnovers in the opening half while shooting 8-of-9 from the free throw line.
After an opening dunk by Luke Petrasek, the Anteaters responded back with a 17-6 run to take the lead before a Grant Mullins’ three and a Lukas Meisner runner would put Columbia back in front, 44-43, with 12:41 to play.
While UCI was able to jump back out to a 53-46 lead with 8:42 remaining, the Lions began to attack as they rallied on a dominating 12-0 run over the next four minutes to take back a 58-53 lead and force an Anteaters’ timeout with 4:18 remaining. Mullins combined for seven of those 12 points, including a big and-one that got the Columbia crowd fired up in Levien.
After four unanswered points by the Anteaters and a pair of made free throws by Jeff Coby to bring the Columbia lead to 60-57, Maodo Lo was able to drain a deep three just in front of the Lions’ bench to make it a 63-57 advantage with 1:42 left on the clock.
From there, the Lions were able to hold strong as they hit 9-of-12 from the line while holding the UC Irvine offense to only five points from the field.
Holding on to a four-point lead and only 2.8 seconds left, Isaac Cohen was able to find Maodo Lo amidst the full-court press to let the senior drive the court and send home a layup, sealing the 73-67 win for the Lions.
Mullins led the game with 20 points after shooting 6-of-7 from the field and 3-of-4 from downtown while Jeff Coby became the second Lion in postseason history to record a double-double, posting up 14 points and 10 rebounds after going a perfect 8-for-8 from the line.