Columbia uses massive late run to win in OT over Binghamton
The crowd was completely dead all night, nobody was cheering, nobody was speaking. It was 69–53 with just over six minutes to play. Tyler Bertram was scorch-the-earth hot, I was nearly done with my article, and then, it all changed. Bertram’s career-high 29 points in the first 34 minutes of the game were not enough for the Bearcats. His hot shooting nearly carried them to a huge win, but it didn’t.
It started with a Zavian McLean layup, then Bertram checked out of the game. Geronimo Rubio De La Rosa hit 2 free throws, and then Binghamton called a timeout. Noah Robledo then stole the ball, and hit a jumper on the fast break. Then, after a whole bunch of misses by Binghamton, Josh Odunowo finished a fast break with a dunk. All of the sudden, after Odunowo hit another layup, the Bearcat lead was cut to six with just 2:43 remaining, and Levell Sanders called timeout.
From that point on, it became the Zavian McLean show. With 1:53 remaining, McLean hit an and-one layup, and converted the free throw to make it a three point game. Binghamton got an open three point attempt from Tyler Bertram but he wasn’t able to knock down what would’ve broke the scoring drought. On the other end, McLean, in his third college game, took the onus upon himself, and sunk a game tying three from the left wing. The crowd was now into it.
Both teams had chances to break the tie, but failed, including a terrible final possession by Binghamton, where John McGriff just dribbled the ball at the top of the key and took a contested three at the buzzer. Columbia had gone on a 16–0 run, and the crowd was now a factor.
To start OT, the young Lions continued their run, opening up an 81–71 lead. After trailing 69–53, Columbia flipped the switch, which they’d also done in the first half, when they came back from a double digit deficit to tie the game. In all, from 6:19 in the second half to 1:16 in overtime, the Lions went on a 28–2 run, and they were able to close the game out, and get their first win of the season, 85–77.
Odunowo finished with a 16 point, 10 rebound double double, and Rubio De La Rosa had 21 points with six assists. Columbia shot 42.9% from three, while Binghamton shot 40.0%, going ice cold with the game on the line.
After the game, Lions Coach Jim Engles said that Geronimo Rubio De La Rosa came up to him and was all riled up after his first college win. Columbia is the 342nd most experienced team in the country, so this was the first win for a decent portion of the team, something that COVID Senior Luke Bolster stressed. Bolster embraces his leadership role on the team, saying “I’ve been with Coach Engles and his staff for five years now…. I try to be an extension of [the coaching staff], but I’m not on the coaching staff.” He spoke highly of the sophomore McLean, “[McLean] is a hell of a player, he’s one of those guys that has a lot of confidence and that really showed tonight. He really kept us in it and took over the game.”
Engles said that there’s a lot to work on in practices, saying that the team tends to play in spurts, but he’s thrilled, especially for the younger guys, who got their first college win in front of a home crowd.
Binghamton, who falls to 1–2, is going to be in for a major test, as they travel to Hartford on Saturday to take on nationally ranked UConn in their next game.
Columbia, who is now 1–2 on the season, faces Division III Mount St. Vincent on Saturday, before traveling to Lehigh on Tuesday.