NEW YORK – The Columbia men’s basketball team fell 67-62 on Saturday night in a back-and-forth battle in Levien Gymnasium on Saturday night. The Lions (2-1) and Red Foxes (1-2) exchanged the lead 11 times in the contest and Grant Mullins had a chance to tie the game down the stretch, but his three-pointer was blocked and Marist went home victorious.
Trailing 59-55 late in the second half, senior Brian Barbour drained a clutch trey from the top of the key to pull Columbia within one with 2:02 on the clock. However, Marist’s Adam Kemp hit a tough turnaround jumper in the key on the ensuing possession to build the lead back up to 61-58.
Still down by three with 1:20 remaining, the Lions’ defense forced an off-balance shot by Isaiah Morton to regain possession. Barbour went coast-to-coast and floated up a contested shot that was swatted away on the way down for a goal-tend to make it 63-62 with 14 seconds remaining.
With Columbia forced to foul, Jay Bowie hit a pair free throws with 11 seconds to go, which gave the Lions one last shot to tie things up. Barbour drove hard to his left and kicked it out to Mullins from the left wing, but Devin Price stepped out and deflected the shot, and the Red Foxes converted on two more attempts from the charity stripe to claim the win.
Defense was the name of the game for Columbia in the first half. The Lions filled the passing lanes, grabbing six steals, and protected the rim with three blocks. Points were not easy to come by for either team, but the Lions were able to go strong to the basket and went to the line 10 times in the frame. Mullins gave the Lions a spark off the bench with nine points in 12 minutes, and was a perfect 3-for-3 from the floor, as Columbia took a 29-27 lead into the half.
Barbour turned in another solid performance with 19 points, shooting a perfect 10-of-10 from the line, while dishing out four assists with no turnovers. Mark Cisco had a big night all around as he scored 12 points to go with five rebounds and a career-high four blocks.
The Lions will hit the road to face Villanova on Tuesday, November 20, at the Pavilion. Tip-off is slated for 7:00 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN3.