CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Harvard shot 55.6 percent in the second half to erase a six-point halftime deficit and come away with a 56-51 win over the Columbia men's basketball team on Friday night. The Lions (12-15, 4-9) were led by sophomore Alex Rosenberg and first-year Grant Mullins, who each posted 14 points.
Senior Brian Barbour chipped in 11 points, while Mark Cisco grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds (six offensive).
Columbia raced out to a 9-2 lead just over five minutes in after Rosenberg drained an off-balance jumper from the left corner. Laurent Rivard pulled the Crimson (18-9, 10-3) within three points after knocking down a three, but Cisco and John Daniels scored on back-to-back putbacks to bring the lead back up to 16-9 with 10:35 left in the period.
Neither team scored for the next several minutes until a brief 4-0 rally by Harvard with 3:32 to go in the half to make it a three-point game. Once again, the Lions remained poised under pressure and Rosenberg came up with a key triple with the shot clock winding down to extend the margin back up to eight and Columbia remained in front, 28-22, at the break.
The Crimson made a furious comeback early in the second half, tying the score off a steal and finish by Siyani Chambers just over three minutes into the frame. Wesley Saunders gave Harvard its first lead of the game with a three on the left wing, but Mullins quickly answered with a layup to put the Lions back on top, 36-35, at the 13:43 mark.
After four-straight scored by the Crimson, Columbia went on an 8-2 spurt, highlighted by great work on the offensive glass by Cisco and Daniels, to give the Lions a 44-41 lead with 7:36 on the clock. Mullins later made it, 49-45 with 6:00 to go after a triple before Harvard’s final rally.
Steve Mondou-Missi cut the deficit in half with a pair of free-throws with 1:22 remaining and forced a miss on the other end. Chambers broke free in transition and completed the traditional three-point play with a layup and foul shot to put Harvard in front, 50-49, with 40 ticks on the clock.
Mondou-Missi then came up with a steal on an inbounds pass and threw down a dunk to effectively put the game out of reach.
Columbia held a 32-26 edge in rebounds and scored 16 second-chance points on 14 offensive boards.