It’s also no secret the Raiders are good at it, with an 11-0 record entering Tuesday night’s non-conference matchup with Parma.
The danger, of course, lies in those nights when, either because of an opponent’s defense or because shooters are just a hair off, those shots won’t fall. And on those nights, there’d better be a backup plan.
On Tuesday, Columbia couldn’t find one.
Parma’s solid guard play and sporadic dominance by 6-foot-7 Greg Smalley on the interior, combined with a focus on at least making Columbia’s shooters’ lives difficult, spurred the Redmen to a 55-48 victory.
“As a team, shots weren’t falling for us and we couldn’t find other ways to score,” said senior Zach Stopper, who led the Raiders with 17 points. “We have to find other ways to be productive offensively.”
Upon scouting the Raiders, Parma (4-7) emphasized before Tuesday’s game to make it as difficult as possible on Columbia’s top marksmen, including Stopper, Brandon Severo, Jay Banyasz and others. And while a 9-0 spurt in the second quarter pushed Columbia to its biggest lead of the game, Parma rededicated itself to its efforts on the perimeter and scored the next 14 for a 28-21 lead.
Banyasz cut the lead to three just before halftime.
Parma led by as many as six and as few as two in a seesaw third quarter, and after pushing it to seven on two Anthony Schmook free throws early in the fourth, Columbia scored six straight — Stopper hit a runner on a feed from freshman David Delahunty, who then scored twice in a row — and was back within one.
But Parma’s Chris Rantanes, who scored 13 — 10 in the fourth — hit a big 3-pointer on the next possession and Smalley followed with a putback to push the lead back to six. After Severo countered with a three, Rantanes scored twice more for a 50-43 Parma lead.
Stopper hit a three and another bucket to get it back to two with under a minute left, but Parma hit five straight free throws to seal it.
“We worked on closeouts in preparing for Columbia,” Parma coach Mike Durkin said. “We knew that half of their field goals would come from 3-pointers, so luckily we ran their shooters off their spots and made them shoot contested threes for most of the game.”
Smalley led all scorers with 19 points — 11 in the first quarter — and added 14 rebounds and six blocks, as Columbia continued to play without 6-7 Joe Palmer, out since the start of the season with a left foot injury. While Smalley patrolled the paint, Schmook, Rantanes and Zach Toth applied pressure on the wings to keep the Columbia attack off balance.
Overall, Columbia shot 28 percent (19-of-66) from the field, including 4-of-32 from 3-point land. Parma, meanwhile, was 21-of-56 from the field, and Smalley found the going easy at times.
“You need to give Parma credit. They were up, they were contesting our shots,” Columbia coach Larry Babics said. “We talk to these guys all the time, that you still have to play defense. We gave them too many easy baskets, and at times didn’t do a good job on their guards, who got (Smalley) easy shots.
“When you’re not hitting shots, you have to find a way to do things to help yourselves find a way to win.”
Severo added 10 points for the Raiders.
Parma 55, Columbia 48
COLUMBIA (48): Brandon Severo 3-2-10, Jay Banyasz 3-1-7, Michael Boey 1-0-2, David Delahunty 2-0-4, Jacob Simon 2-1-5, Kevin Simon 1-1-3, Zach Stopper 7-1-17. Totals 19-6-48.
PARMA (55): Zach Toth 1-2-4, Jared Purpura 1-1-3, Anthony Schmook 2-4-9, Chris Rantanes 5-1-13, Greg Smalley 9-1-19, Tyler Deutsch 2-1-5, Marko Janjetovic 1-0-2. Totals 21-10-55.
Columbia 14 10 8 16 — 48
Parma 14 14 9 18 — 55
Three-point goals: Columbia 4 (Severo 2, Stopper 2), Parma 3 (Schmook, Rantanes 2); Field goals: Columbia 19-66 (28.8 percent), Parma 21-56 (37.5 percent); Free throws: Columbia 6-9 (66.7 percent), Parma 10-16 (62.5 percent); Rebounds: Columbia 41 (Banyasz 8), Parma 42 (Smalley 14); Turnovers: Columbia 10, Parma 15; Total fouls: Columbia 16, Parma 13; Fouled out: Banyasz. Junior varsity: Columbia, 65-63.
Contact Joel Hammond at 329-7135 or email@example.com.