NEW YORK - Columbia went on a 24-5 run and held Eastern Michigan to just one field goal over the final nine minutes of the game to claim a 69-56 win over the Eagles in the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT). In front of an enthusiastic crowd in Levien Gym, the Lions improve to 21-12 overall and 14-3 at home on the season.
After Eastern Michigan took a 51-45 lead with 9:13 to play, Columbia got a 3-pointer from Alex Rosenberg in the right corner after a timeout. On the ensuing play, Maodo Lo came up with a steal and layup to ignite the 2,019 fans in Levien Gym and start the Lions' game-winning run.
After an EMU foul, Cory Osetkowski hit back-to-back elbow jumpers to give Columbia a 54-51 lead with 6:48 remaining. EMU's Mike Tally missed a free throw and Osetkowski grabbed the rebound leading to a Rosenberg three on Osetkowski's pass.
The Eagles were unable to get going offensively again and Columbia swarmed the boards. EMU did not score again until 3:40 when Talley hit two free throws Columbia answered with another Osetkowski jumper to extend the lead back out to 61-53 with two minutes to play.
Columbia went 8-of-8 from the free throw line in the final minute to ice the game.
The Lions started the game, as they ended it - hot from the floor. Columbia connected on its first three shots of the night to jump out to a 7-2 lead just over two minutes in. The Eagles (22-15) answered with an equal run to tie things up with 15:56 left in the first half.
The Lions quickly regained the lead after a triple by Lo and took their largest lead of the half, 22-13, on a Luke Petrasek jumper from the corner with 7:27 before the intermission. However, turnovers started to pile on for Columbia, allowing Eastern Michigan to get out in transition and make another comeback.
The Eagles’ Raven Lee scored six of his 15 first half points during a 9-0 spurt to tie the game with 3:16 left in the half. Despite back-to-back treys by Rosenberg and Steve Frankoski, the Lions turned the ball over three times in the final 1:21, allowing EMU to tie the score at 28-28 at the break.
Columbia had assists on all 10 of its first half field goals, using good ball movement against the Eagles' 2-3 zone to create quality offensive chances.
Rosenberg scored the 1000th point of his Columbia career in the second half and finished with 15 points and a career-high seven assists. Lo finished with 15 points, while Osetkowski and Frankoski added 10 and 11 points, respectively.
The Lions finished with 18 assists on 22 baskets, shooting 50 percent form the floor and 47.6 percent from three (10-of-21). Eastern Michigan's Lee led all scorers with 26 points.
Columbia advances to the quarterfinals of the CIT and hosts Yale on Wednesday, March 26.