Makin’ plays with his hands and his feet

Lions super-fan Max Rettig brings you an update on the Lions our Blue.

The Lions lost last night in a close thriller that came down to the last seconds, ending their season with a 69-72 loss to Yale. With the clock winding down in the second half, the Lions pulled within 1 or 2 points, but a foul to stop the clock allowed Yale to seal the deal and end the Lions’ CIT run.

In an uneventful first half, Rosenberg opened the scoring for Columbia and the Lions got ahead of Yale to the tune of a 9-point halftime lead.

In the second half, however, things heated up. Yale, determined to erase that deficit and even take a lead of their own, did just that: 12 consecutive points and a 37-34 advantage. But as the Lions have done consistently throughout the season, they battled back: Isaac Cohen knocked down free throw to build a 46-42 Lions lead with just under 11 minutes left.

As time continued to wind down, the Lions and Bulldogs continued to trade baskets and the lead. After a 55-55 tie, Yale’s Armani Cotton scored on a lay-up to spark a 7-2 run, giving them 62-57 lead with just under 3 minutes to go. The Lions then realized something that contradicted so much of their success this season: 3-pointers are never a sure thing, and they needed to close the gap. After a couple 2-pointers and a majestic 3-pointer for Lo with 43 seconds left, the Lions were within 1 point.

When time is your enemy, and you’re behind, you start fouling. Yale’s Duren made 1 of 2 free throws, but his offensive rebound forced the Lions to foul again. This time, they weren’t as lucky: Duren made both shots. After another even more urgent foul, Armani Cotton kept the Lions alive after making only 1 of 2, and the Lions, with 15 seconds left, went on a desperate offensive, returning to the trey shot. Lo hit his astounding 6th 3-pointer of the night, and after Duren essentially put the game out of reach with 2 more foul shots, Steve Frankoski hit a 3. The Lions were, with 0:05 on the clock, in the unlikely, and miraculous, position to force overtime. However, Yale’s control of the ball meant the Lions had to foul to have a chance, and Duren made both shots to put the game out of reach.

A desperate heave by Lo with 2.3 seconds left landed way short of the basket, sending Yale to the CIT semifinals and ending Columbia’s record-setting season.

Alex Rosenberg had 19 points, including 5 of 6 from the line to break the single-season Columbia record for free throws made with 227. The previous record was set in 1957. Maodo Lo hit a remarkable six 3’s to lead Columbia with 22 points. Yale’s Javier Duren scored 33 points, including 26 in the second half. The Lions finished 21-13 for their best season since 1967-8. Until next year, thanks for an amazing season, and for giving Columbia a sport to really rally behind. It was a hell of a lot of fun.

Keeping the ball in-bounds via