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Columbia Steals Win in Final Seconds

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Freshman Jvonte Brooks scored a season-high 17 points.     By Doug Austin

HANOVER, N.H. — A 13-foot baseline jumper by Columbia’s Mark Cisco with three seconds left broke the deadlock and sent the Lions to a 64-62 triumph over host Dartmouth (4-17, 0-5 Ivy) on Friday night at Leede Arena. Cisco finished with a game-high 18 points in helping Columbia (13-8, 2-3 Ivy) send the Big Green to its 16th consecutive loss in conference play.

Freshman Jvonte Brooks led Dartmouth with a season-high 17 points and a game-best eight rebounds, while senior David Rufful and junior R.J. Griffin came off the bench to score 14 and 13, respectively. The Big Green did get one last desperation shot off before the buzzer sounded, but freshman John Golden’s halfcourt heave banged off the top right corner of the backboard as Dartmouth suffered its eighth loss this year by six points or less.

While Columbia did not trail for much of the game, including a 27-minute stretch beginning with the 10:45 mark of the first half, the Lions never led by more than six all night. The lead was at four, 56-52, with under five minutes remaining when Brooks drained two free throws after an offensive rebound, and Golden tied the game the next possession with a floater in the lane. After a Columbia charge, Brooks was fouled again and sank both foul shots with 3:28 to go, giving the Big Green their first lead since the score was 14-12.

The lead didn’t last long, however, as Cisco took a pass down low from Alex Rosenberg and laid it in. When the Lions stole the ball at the other end, it looked like they would take the lead on the break, only to have Golden race down and snare a pass from behind. Rosenberg blocked a Griffin shot, but Griffin got it back, worked it around to sophomore Tyler Melville who canned a shot from the left elbow with one on the shot clock for a 60-58 Dartmouth lead and barely two minutes to play.

Again Columbia went to Cisco, who was fouled and went to the line where he calmly proceeded to can both free throws. Dartmouth returned the favor when freshman Gabas Maldunas was hacked on Rosenberg’s fifth foul. The trading of foul shots continued thanks to a bump on the Lions’ Brian Barbour, who shoots 90 percent at the charity stripe. He didn’t disappoint his Columbia teammates, tying the game at 62 with 49 seconds left to play.

Dartmouth fed the ball to Maldunas who put up a contested hook shot that Cisco rebounded, allowing the Lions to hold for the final shot. After a Columbia timeout, Barbour ran the pick-and-roll to Cisco who knocked down the clutch baseline jumper for the game-winner.

In the opening half, neither team led by more than four points save for less than a minute left in the period when Columbia’s Cory Osetkowski found the bottom of the net with 2:41 on the clock for a 28-22 advantage. Rufful rained in a three-pointer to cut the deficit in half, then brought the Big Green within one with a spinning layup on a feed from senior Jabari Trotter. Barbour answered with a triple and Brooks dropped in a layup to make it a 31-29 Lion lead at the break.

Brooks started the second stanza with another layup to tie the score, but Dartmouth could never get over the hump until Brooks canned his two free throws with 3:28 left in the contest.

Dartmouth hit on 21-of-49 field goals (.429) on the night, but was trumped by Columbia’s 46.7 percent (21-of-45). And while the Big Green were shooting 80 percent at the free throw line (16-of-20), Columbia was just a little better at 89.5 percent (17-of-19). The only advantage Dartmouth had shooting was from long range where it hit on 4-of-7 (.571), but the Lions did have one more triple at 5-of-14 (.357). In addition, Columbia grabbed three more rebounds, 30-27.

Cisco was nearly perfect with his shot, draining 7-of-8 field goals and all four free throws. He also snared six rebounds to tie for team-high honors with Meiko Lyles. Joining Cisco in double figures were Barbour with 13 and Van Green — who was perfect shooting at 3-of-3 overall, 2-of-2 on threes and at the line — with 10 off the bench.

Brooks was 5-of-13 from the floor but 7-of-8 at the line, while Rufful was an efficient 6-of-8 with a trey and a free throw in 19 minutes. Griffin provided two of the Big Green’s four three-pointers while Trotter handed out a team-high four assists in 14 minutes of action.

Dartmouth gets back on the home hardwood tomorrow night when it hosts Cornell (7-12, 2-3 Ivy) at 7 p.m. Columbia travels to Cambridge tomorrow to square off against league-leading and 23rd-ranked Harvard (19-2, 5-0 Ivy) at 7 p.m.