NEW YORK - Columbia shot 63 percent from the floor in the second half, including a blistering 7-of-12 from behind the three-point line, in a 73-54 win over University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) on Saturday evening.
Cory Osetkowski scored the seven of the Lions' first nine points to put Columbia ahead 9-2 with 14:06 remaining in the first half and extended the cushion to 11 with 10:34 before the break.
However, the Hawks chipped away at the deficit thanks to the hot-hand of KyRee Jones, who had 15 first-half points, and took their first lead of the game, 23-21, after a 3-pointer by their junior guard.
Isaac Cohen scored four quick points on layups to put the score back in Columbia's favor after trailing for just 20 seconds.
Columbia led 31-26 at the break despite shooting just 39.1 percent from the floor to UMES' 41.7 percent. Columbia held the advantage on the boards, outrebounding UMES 16-14 at halftime.
The Lions opened the second half on fire, knocking down their first 10 shots (including seven in a row from beyond the arc) while going on 23-6 run to take a 57-32 lead at 13:08.
The Lions led by as many as 28 points before a short UMES run cut the lead to 18 with just over four minutes to play.
The Lions got consecutive layups by Osetkokwski to push the lead back out to 22. Columbia traded baskets before a layup by UMES' Shane Randall and a free throw by Travis Trim closed out scoring for the final 73-54 margin.
Columbia is now 81-32 all-time in home openers and 76-37 all-time in season openers. This is the 114th season of Columbia men's basketball.
Columbia returns to action on Tuesday, November 12 at 7 p.m. when they New York City Rival Manhattan.