Okolie turned in another strong all-around performance with 20 points, five rebounds and five assists (Gil Talbot).
NEW YORK CITY – Despite four double-digit scorers and a flurry of second-half 3-pointers, the Harvard men's basketball team fell at Columbia Friday night, 90-76.
Agunwa Okolie led Harvard (10-15, 2-7 Ivy League) in scoring (20), rebounding (5) and assists (5) for the second time this season, while Tommy McCarthy contributed a career-high 17 points and three assists. Corey Johnson connected on 5-of-8 3-pointers to finish with 15 points, and Zena Edosomwan chipped in 10 points and four helpers.
Harvard shot a blistering 56.9 percent (29-51) and was 11-of-18 from 3, including a 10-of-14 performance in the second half, but Columbia (18-8, 7-2 Ivy League) was just a little bit hotter, connecting at a 57.4 percent (31-54) clip and turning 13 Crimson turnovers into 25 points. Alex Rosenberg scored 23 points to pace the Lions to go with a 22-point, five-assist effort from Maodo Lo.
After an Okolie jumper put Harvard in front 6-5, Columbia took off on an 11-0 run to open a 16-6 advantage. Patrick Steeves' runner in the lane ended the drought, and an Okolie and-1 shrunk the deficit to 16-11. Okolie remained aggressive scoring four straight points, including a second 3-point play, before finding Edosomwan with a highlight-reel dish for a two-handed slam, making it a 22-17 game.
Harvard's charge continued as Johnson connected from 3 and Evan Cummins' block led to a runout by McCarthy, pulling the Crimson within 27-26. Chris Egi's layup kept the deficit at one, 33-32, and Okolie answered a 3-pointer from Rosenberg to put the score at 36-34 with less than five seconds to play. That proved to be just enough time for Columbia, however, as Lo cashed in with a buzzer-beater from the back court to give the Lions a 39-34 edge at the break.
The teams traded blows to begin the second half with Cummins' putback once again making it a two-point game before Columbia went back out in front by six, 47-41. A pair of 3-pointers from Johnson kept the Crimson within striking distance, 49-47, and after a Steeves triple the score stood at 58-56 with 10:17 to play.
Columbia responded with an 8-0 run and regained a 66-56 edge on a trey from Lo. The senior later got the Lions' lead to 76-64 with a drive to the basket, and a pair of Grant Mullins free throws put the score at 82-67. Despite two late 3-pointers from McCarthy and Weisner Perez, Harvard was unable to mount a comeback as Columbia held on for the 90-76 win.
Game Notes: Agunwa Okolie led Harvard in scoring (20), rebounding (5) and assists (5) for the second time this season … Agunwa Okolie has scored in double-figures in four of the last five games and in six of nine Ivy League contests … Corey Johnson scored 15 points and shot 5-of-8 from 3 … Corey Johnson has made 61 3-pointers on the season, tying Laurent Rivard '14 for the most 3-pointers by a freshman under head coach Tommy Amaker … Tommy McCarthy scored a career-high 17 points … Harvard has made 187 3-pointers on the season, the sixth-most in program history … Harvard has made at least five 3-pointers in 23 of 25 games this season, and has made at least 10 3-pointers five times.