NEW YORK - Columbia closed out the 2011-12 a season with a win, a 61-55 victory over Dartmouth in front of 1,889 fans at Levien Gymnasium on Saturday night. Sophomore Meiko Lyles scored 20 of his game-high 23 points in the second half and went 4-of-4 from three-point range to help the Lions secure their 15th win of the season.
The game started out slowly and Columbia eventually led 23-22 at halftime. With the Lions ahead 51-50 with 2:12 to play, Brian Barbour canned a contested three-pointer from the top of the key, just his second field goal of the game, to give the Lions a four-point advantage, 54-50.
On Dartmouth's next possession, Jvonte Brooks converted a traditional three-point play to bring the Big Green back within a point, 54-53 with less than two minutes to go.
Columbia needed another big bucket and received one from Lyles, who caught a pass from Cory Osetkowski on the right wing and rose up and drilled his fifth triple of the game to push Columbia's lead back to four, 57-53.
Osetkowski then tipped a Jabari Trotter three-point attempt and Mark Cisco converted a pretty hook shot inside to give the Lions a 59-53 edge with 40.9 seconds left.
Lyles fittingly finished it off with two free throws for the final margin and then registered a steal on Dartmouth's final possession to wrap up the win for Columbia.
Lyles' 23 points came on 8-of-12 shooting. Cisco finished with 15 points and nine rebounds and Barbour had nine points, five assists and one turnover.
Brooks led Dartmouth with 17 points and seven rebounds. R.J. Griffin added 12 and Gabas Maldunas had 10 for the Big Green.
The Lions finish the season at 15-15 and 4-10 in the Ivy League. It marks Columbia's second straight season with 15 wins, which has not happened since the late 1970s.
Columbia has won the last game of its season in each of the last three years ... Columbia's senior class has won 53 games and 22 Ivy League games during its four years ... seniors Chris Crockett, Steve Egee, Matt Johnson and Blaise Staab each started the game ... Egee had four points and four rebounds ... Crockett added four points and three assists ... Staab added two assists and a rebound ... Johnson grabbed four rebounds ... John Daniels finished with six points and six rebounds ... the Lions have won the last four games against Dartmouth ... Meiko Lyles made 58 three-pointers this year, which is tied for ninth best in a single season in Columbia history ... Brian Barbour made 146 free throws and shot 90.1 percent from the foul line ... the 146 free throws are tied for eighth most by a Lion in a single season ... Barbour's 133 assists rank seventh in a single season ... Barbour is now tied for ninth in career assists with 237 ... Mark Cisco's 76 offensive rebounds are second most by a Columbia player in a single season ... Cisco blocked two shots and now has 52 in his career, which ranks seventh all-time in program history.