Maodo Lo hit the game-winning jumper from the top of the key as time expired to give the Columbia Lions a 58-56 victory over the Valparaiso Crusaders in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Lo finished with 13 points, eight rebounds and five assists for the Lions (20-12), while Cory Osetkowski led the team with 21 points. This was the first appearance in the postseason for Columbia since 1968, which now moves on to the second round against an opponent yet to be determined.
Alec Peters paced the Crusaders (18-16) with 14 points, while Clay Yeo and Vashil Fernandez finished with nine points each off the bench.
Despite shooting 41.4 percent from the field to start the game and just 1-of-6 from 3-point range, the Crusaders held the slimmest of leads at intermission, 30-29. Columbia converted 43.5 percent from the field in the opening half, connecting on 6-of-14 from beyond the arc.
After the break, the Crusaders struggled from the field, making only 36 percent of their field goal tries, though they did have success from deep, draining 4-of-9 from beyond the arc. The Lions had an identical shooting performance in the second as they did in the first (43.5 percent), but missed all but one of their six 3-point attempts.
Valpo led by three points with just under two minutes to play before Columbia scored four straight to take a 56-55 lead with 1:04 to play. Fernandez split a pair of free-throw with 28 seconds left to knot the game at 56-56, setting the stage for Lo's buzzer-beating heroics.
Valpo had the edge down low, outscoring Columbia in the paint, 30-18. The teams combined to commit just 15 turnovers for the game.