Dec. 30, 2011
New York, N.Y. -
A stellar first-half shooting effort gave way to a disappointing final 20 minutes as Lafayette fell to Columbia 77-67 on Friday evening at Levien Gymnasium. Columbia outscored Lafayette 40-19 in the second half en route to its eighth win of the season.
Ryan Willen led Lafayette with 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting and 3-of-5 from downtown while Jim Mower chipped in 13.
Columbia (8-5) sprinted out to a 12-6 lead at the first media timeout, but Lafayette responded with back-to-back threes to tie the score 5:22 into the game. After a Willen triple that put LC up 20-19, Columbia head coach Kyle Smith was called for a technical foul and Mower sank both free throws with 11:16 to go in the half. Willen's three sparked a 16-3 run that gave Lafayette (5-8) an 11-point lead with 7:30 showing. The 33-22 advantage was Lafayette's largest of the game.
Lafayette took a 48-37 lead into halftime after its best first-half performance of the season. The Leopards tallied a season-high in points on 18-of-26 shooting from the field (69.2 percent) including nine three pointers. They registered 13 assists, five of which were dished out by Rob Delaney, and took their largest halftime lead of the season into the locker room.
Out of the break, Lafayette was scoreless on its first eight possessions of the half, allowing Columbia to go on a 10-0 spurt to pull within one. Delaney's baseline drive and reverse lay-in put the visitors ahead by three, 50-47, with 14:47 remaining.
Trailing 53-50 after Willen's spin and two-handed finish, Columbia again ripped off 10 straight points, the last five from Brian Barbour, who scored a game-high 21. Mower's right handed drive, lay-up and three-point play cut the deficit to five with 7:14 remaining.
After a Columbia bucket, the Leopards cut it to three on the next trip down the floor when Seth Hinrichs connected on a straightaway three with a hand in his face as the shot clock was winding down. Mower and Willen each hit a pair of free throws surrounding Mark Cisco's 1-of-2 at the line to tie the score at 63 with 5:10 to go.
Willen and Barbour traded baskets, Columbia made a free throw and Willen drained two more at the line to put Lafayette ahead 67-66 with 3:36 left. The Lions scored the final 11 points of the game, including a corner three from Meiko Lyles at the 2:06 mark that put Columbia up 71-67.
Lafayette opens the 2012 calendar year with a trip to Newark, N.J. on Jan. 2 to take on NJIT at 7 p.m.