Eastern Michigan University could not hold a 51-45, second-half lead as Columbia University finished the game on a 24-5 run in the final 9:10 as its season came to a close with a 69-56 loss Saturday in the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament at Levien Gymnasium in New York City, N.Y.
In that stretch, EMU missed 11 of 12 field goal attempts.
“Anytime you’re playing against a team where all five guys can shoot the basketball it poses a threat,” EMU coach Rob Murphy said post-game in a post-game interview with the Daily Spectator, adding that Columbia’s shot fakes were effective. “I thought right there in that stretch they made two and three extra passes as opposed to settling for shots, and those extra passes get you wide open looks.”
Raven Lee put together his best scoring effort since the University of Texas-Arlington game on Nov. 23, 2013 (38) with a game-high 26 on 10-of-22 shooting, 3-for-9 from three-point range and 3-of-3 at the foul line.
Off the bench for EMU (22-15), Glenn Bryant contributed with 12 points on 5-of-7 from the field and 2-of-2 at the charity stripe makes to go along with five rebounds.
Karrington Ward was the third and final Eagle to finish in double figures with 10 on 4-of-7 shooting and 2-for-3 from long range.
For Columbia (21-12), Maodo Lo and Alex Rosenberg led the way with 15 points each.
Cory Osetkowski contributed with ten points and seven rebounds to round out the Lions’ scoring.
The Lions shot 22-of-44 (50 percent) from the field compared to the Eagles’ 21-of-52 (40 percent).
Eastern started on the wrong end of a Columbia 7-2 run in the first 3:05.
Despite trailing for the majority of the first half, EMU would score the last six points as it went into the locker room at 28-28 with Columbia.
“I knew there’d be an ebb and flow,” Columbia coach Kyle Smith said in a post-game interview with the Daily Spectator. “As long as we took care of the ball we’d be okay.”
Lee’s layup 13 seconds into the second half gave the Eagles their first lead of the game at 30-28.
Both teams would exchange leads until Ward’s dunk gave Eastern its largest lead at 51-45 with 9:10, forcing Columbia to call timeout.
The Eagles were not the same after the timeout as they mustered five points the rest of the way— a couple of free throws from Mike Talley at the 3:40 mark and Lee’s three-pointer with 59 seconds left.
Columbia advances to the CIT quarterfinals, while EMU’s season comes to a close.
The final attendance listing was 2.019.
The Eagles were outrebounded by the Lions 34-22.
Twenty-six of Columbia’s 34 rebounds were on the defensive end.
Columbia finished with 18 assists on 22 turnovers.
The Eagles saw their first 20-win season since 1997-98, as well as the most wins since the 1996-97 season with 22.
Da’Shonte Riley became the first player in Eastern Michigan history to be named the Mid-American Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year, while Karrington Ward earned All-MAC Third Team honors.
Follow Eugene Evans on Twitter @GenoSportsguy.