Columbia Falls Short in Shootout With Quinnipiac on Go-Ahead Layup

After opening the season with seven games on the road, Columbia came home at 1-6 on Monday night to face a similarly struggling Quinnipiac team at 2-6.

Columbia fell to Quinnipiac 89-87 in a high-octane offensive matchup. Freshman guard Rich Kelly made the go-ahead layup with four seconds left in regulation that would seal the win for Quinnipiac. Kelly led the Bobcats with a game-high 22 points and 10 assists. He scored 14 of his points and hit four of his six threes in the second half.

Columbia sophomore guard Mike Smith went the length of the floor for a desperation three-pointer that was off the mark. Smith led the Lions with 20 points and seven assists.

Both teams played freely and efficiently at an uptempo pace. They shot a combined 35 threes in the first half. While Columbia shot 52 percent from the field in the first half, it was offset by Quinnipiac’s 10-for-18 shooting from three.

The Bobcats had a major lift from Andrew Robinson (14 points) and Jacob Rigoni (20 points) off the bench, combining for 27 points and hitting a combined seven out of eleven threes in the first half.

Columbia had guards Mike Smith and Quinton Adlesh active in the first half, scoring 28 of the team’s 48 points. Adlesh only managed two shot attempts, though, in the second half, where the Lions were able to make more things happen in the paint with their bigs than on the perimeter.

In a game that saw 24 lead changes and the score tied 10 times, Columbia head coach Jim Engles referenced Quinnipiac’s ability to “make one more play” in the end, which became Rich Kelly’s drive and go-ahead layup.

Doing a lot of things well and not being able to pull out the win is disappointing for the Lions. Columbia shot 55 percent from the field in the game. They scored 48 points in the paint (+22) and only committed seven turnovers. Quinnipiac being +18 from three (17-of-34) became the key advantage in a game that was decided by a handful of possessions.

For Columbia, the loss piles onto a streak of coming up short in close games. Columbia’s last three losses have been in single digits, including an overtime loss at UConn last week.

Quinnipiac moved to 3-6 on the season. Columbia (1-7) will look for their first home win on Thursday against Stony Brook.

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