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CIT Semifinals Recap: Columbia defeats NJIT 80-65

The Columbia seniors just aren't ready to quit and are now heading to the CIT finals.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Just after Thanksgiving, it seemed like the Columbia Lions were a team on the ropes and on their way to a disappointing season for one of the most prominent mid-major programs this preseason.  The Lions had lost back-to-back nights to Fairfield and Longwood to drop to 3-4.  Those thoughts are now in the past and after an 80-65 Easter Sunday win over NJIT, the Lions have set a school record for wins, 24, and are on the way to the CIT finals.

The Lions have weathered rumors of their head coach Kyle Smith leaving for one of the WCC vacancies at Portland or San Francisco.  They've enjoyed the comforts of home taking down Norfolk State, Ball State, and now NJIT.

Maodo Lo lead the way for Columbia tonight posting a season-high 29 points while also adding six assists. Fellow senior Alex Rosenberg finished the victory with 16 points and five rebounds.

NJIT was up in this one early 15-12 with 8:24 left in the first half but the Highlanders then went on a five-minute drought that allowed the Lions to get a stranglehold of the game. Columbia would close out the half up 33-22 and then eventually cruise to victory in the second half.

Damon Lynn led NJIT with 18 points and three assists. Ky Howard closed out his career with the Highlanders with 14 points and six assists.

Columbia moves to 5-1 in the CIT all-time and will await the winner of the game between Coastal Carolina and UC Irvine late Sunday night.