After two straight big baskets from Cory Osetkowski got Columbia the lead back, Valparaiso’s Vashil Fernandez hit 1 of 2 from the stripe to tie the game at 56 with just :28 on the clock. Holding for one shot, Maodo Lo let the clock tick under five seconds before making his move at the basket. He maneuvered just above the foul line, stepped back, and nailed the game winning jumper to send Columbia into the second round of the CIT as his teammates mobbed him at center court. The road victory was the Lions’ 20th win of the season, the most since 1970. The postseason triumph was Columbia’s first since 1968.
Cory Osetkowski led the way with 21 points on 8-11 shooting–including 3-3 from beyond the arc for the big man with range. Lo had a solid all-around performance, registering 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists.
It was an unusual game on the glass for the Lions, who came into the game ranked 3rd in the country in defensive rebounding. Columbia gave up 13 offensive boards to the Crusaders, but overcame those extra possessions by nailing 11 of 12 free throws on the night.
Kyle Smith’s troops will most likely hit the road again with Columbia students still on vacation this weekend when the second round will be played. The Lions’ next opponent remains unknown for the moment as the CIT does not reveal second round match-ups until after the first round games have been completed.
Video highlights via Valpo Athletics below: