Cummins finished with 11 points and six rebounds (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – After overcoming a 16-point halftime deficit, Columbia's Alex Rosenberg sank an 18-foot fadeaway jumper at the buzzer to steal a 55-54 win from Harvard Saturday night in front of a sold-out Lavietes Pavilion crowd.
The lead changed hands five times in the wild second half with Evan Cummins' basket in the paint giving Harvard (9-11, 1-3 Ivy League) a 54-53 edge with 1:18 to play. After getting a stop at the defensive end Patrick Steeves went to the line with a chance to grow the lead, but came up short on the front end of a 1-and-1. The Crimson dug in and came away with another stop, this time with Agunwa Okolie forcing Maodo Lo, the Lions' leading scorer, into a contested 3. After Okolie corralled the rebound it was Corbin Miller at the line for 1-and-1 with 7.2 seconds to play, but again the shot was off, setting up Rosenberg's heroics.
Cummins finished with a team-high 11 points, six rebounds and three assists, as Weisner Perez chipped in 10 points in just seven minutes off the bench. Eight of his points came during a two-minute span in the second half that included back-to-back 3-pointers and a contested bucket in the paint, each of which gave Harvard a lead. Zena Edosomwan added nine points and nine rebounds, but was limited to just eight minutes in the second half.
Rosenberg scored 14 points for Columbia (14-6, 4-0 Ivy League) with Lo contributing 11 points and five boards and four steals.
Harvard will hit the road next weekend as it travels to Princeton and Penn. The Crimson and Tigers will square off on Friday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. on ESPNU before Harvard visits the Quakers on Saturday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. on ESPN3 and the Ivy League Digital Network.
Edosomwan went to work early, scoring the game's first five points before layups by Tommy McCarthy and Okolie gave Harvard a 9-0 edge. An Edosomwan block on Columbia's next trip down the court led to a Corey Johnson layin, and after Okolie found the freshman for a spot-up 3 the lead had grown to 14-0. A 3 by Miller put the score at 23-6, forcing the Columbia to call their second timeout with 10:51 still to play.
The margin reached 20 points with McCarthy at the line, 29-9, and Edosomwan added four more points to give the Crimson a 33-17 advantage at the break. The Crimson's efficiency inside proved to be the difference through the first 20 minutes as Harvard outscored Columbia 20-6 in the paint and outrebounded the Lions 24-11.
The roles were reversed to start the second half as Columbia made four of its first five shots to pull within 33-26. Okolie ended the drought with a pair of baskets in the lane, but the Lions kept coming and cut the deficit to 37-33 on Jeff Coby's putback. Grant Mullins made it a 42-39 game with a make from deep, and Rosenberg gave Columbia its first lead with a pair of buckets, 43-42.
Perez's first 3-pointer put Harvard back in front, 46-45, and the freshman followed up the next trip down the court with his second triple for a 49-46 edge. Mullins answered right back with a 3 of his own, but Perez was there again with a basket in the paint to put the Crimson in the lead once again, 51-49.
Luke Petrasek's basket gave Columbia a slight 53-52 edge, but Cummins powered his way to the hoop in response, 54-53.
Game Notes: The game was played in front of a sold-out crowd, Harvard's fourth sell out of the season … Harvard held Columbia to 3-of-18 shooting (16.7%) to begin the game on a 29-9 run … Harvard held Columbia to 38.6 percent (22-57) shooting for the night, marking the 11th time this season an opponent has shot under 40.0 percent … Harvard outrebounded Columbia 41-29, marking the ninth time this season the team has grabbed at least 40 rebounds and the fourth time in five games … Evan Cummins led Harvard in scoring for the third time this season … Harvard has made at least five 3-pointers in 19 of 20 games.