For the second straight road outing, an opponent’s missed free throw kept the men’s basketball team in the game. And again, with the Lions down by three, junior forward Alex Rosenberg was asked to take the game-tying shot. But unlike last weekend, he missed that last-ditch effort and the Lions (5-5) fell 57-52 to Bucknell (5-4).
Columbia head coach Kyle Smith said before the game that taking away the three is something Bucknell would likely focus on. Indeed, Columbia made just three of its 16 attempts from beyond the arc. And although the Light Blue compensated by converting from inside the line, the usual suspects—sophomore guards Grant Mullins and Maodo Lo—never really got it going. The two made just four field goals and scored 12 points, combined, even though each played almost the entire contest.
After the game, junior center Cory Osetkowski said that the Bison keyed in on the two, especially Mullins, who was coming off a 28-point performance on Wednesday.
The Light Blue pulled ahead early and remained in front for most of the first half. Osetkowski nailed a triple—one of two for Columbia’s leading scorer on Saturday—to put his team ahead 5-3, and Columbia led by as many as eight points before halftime. But back-to-back layups from Bucknell forward Brian Fitzpatrick and another from guard Chris Hass gave the hosts a three-point edge a little over two minutes into the second half.
Osetkowski said it was simply a matter of Bucknell doing a better job converting on its plays in the second half.
“Good players find a way to get it done,” he said.
Fitzpatrick scored 16 points and added six rebounds, while Hass scored 14 points. Guard Cameron Ayers added 11 and 10. Combined, the trio scored 13 of the Bison’s final 15 points. Fitzpatrick also made a key block with three minutes to play, denying Lo on a layup attempt that would have put Columbia up by four.
The Light Blue plays its final game before finals on Monday against University of Massachusetts Lowell (1-8). The River Hawks have struggled this season, as they are winless against Division I opponents and are without a margin of defeat fewer than nine points. One of those games was against Ivy rival Brown.
Tipoff is at 7 p.m. at Levien Gymnasium. The team will also be collecting toys for St. Francis Youth Center during the game.