Army beats Columbia on buzzer shot

Trailing practically the whole game, the Black Knights continued to play hard and finally caught a break. Trailing by 2 points with the ball and 25 seconds left, Army brought the ball up for a last shot. As Matt Bell was losing the ball while getting mugged by the Columbia defense (though the referees weren't about to call a foul), it looked like it would be another tough loss.

However, the ball deflected to Colin Harris, who heaved the ball towards the basket as time expired. The Army bench erupted as the ball swished through the net, giving the Black Knights an exciting, well-deserved road victory over the Lions of Columbia.

The first half saw both teams go on several runs. Columbia looked like it would blow out Army in the first 4 minutes as they raced out to an 8-0 lead. Army then reeled off the next 7 points to cut the lead to 8-7. Columbia then went on a 10-0 tear to make the score 18-7 after 10 minutes of play. Once again, Army went on a small run, scoring 5 free throws in a row to make it 18-12. The rest of the first half saw both teams make several trips to the free throw line, as both squads played physical and the refs were calling it close. After the first 20 minutes, Columbia held a 35-31 lead.

Army started the 2nd half much longer. After a Colin Harris lay-up, a Jarell Brown 3-pointer from the wing gave the Black Knights their first lead of the game, 36-35. However, John Baumann started to hurt the Black Knights on the inside while KJ Matsui poured in 5 from outside to help the Lions retake the lead, 44-36. Army continued to be outplayed down low as Columbia freshman Jason Miller hit a couple of lay-ups to stretch their lead to 10. Army woke up and went on an 8-0 run, helped by Steve Stoll's 3-pointer from the top of the key.

At this point, Columbia again attacked the Army front line, and between John Baumann and Ben Nwachukwu, these two players contributed 16 of Columbia's 18 remaining points. However, Army patiently mounted a comeback, and they climbed back to within 2 (assisted by 6 straight free throws from freshman Dan Borherdt). This led to Harris' heroics, and Army earns a rare road victory against a pretty tough Columbia ball club.

Without Colin Harris' stellar performance, the Black Knights do not win this game. Harris scored a career-high 22 points, and very often was the only legitimate inside force for Army. Jarell Brown once again pitched in with double figures (15). Freshman Dan Borcherdt had his best game at Army, scoring in double figures with 7 of those coming on good free thrown shooting.

Army continues its current road trip with visit to Connecticut on Monday, December 5th to take on the Pioneers of Sacred Heart. Similar to Columbia, Army will be trying to avenge a 15-point loss last year. Army follows that contest by returning home to meet the Keydets of VMI for the second time. The Keydets will be looking to even up the season series at 1 apiece, after Army beat out VMI a couple of weeks ago, 53-49.


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