OBERLIN — Simon Says.
It’s one of the oldest playground games you’ll find but Friday it took on a whole new meaning as Columbia pretty much ran away with the Patriot Athletic Conference Stripes Division with a convincing 63-54 win over the Oberlin.
It was Columbia’s Jacob Simon coming alive in the second half to pace the Raiders to their 12th league win without defeat and 16th win in 17 games overall. Oberlin’s five-game win streak came to an end and so likely did its hopes to catch the Raiders for the Division crown. The Phoenix (12-6, 9-3 PAC) fell three games behind with just four to play.
But back to Simon: Simon says shoot the ball. Simon says rebound the ball. Simon says win the game.
Simon did all that in scoring 21 points — 13 in the third quarter. He hit three huge 3-pointers, hauled in a dozen rebounds in an otherwise dreadful night for the Raiders on the glass and hit four of his five free throws.
Shooting was the key to Columbia’s win as the Raiders outscored Oberlin 27-3 from behind the 3-point line and 16-11 from the foul line.
“I was feeling it,” Simon said of his big night. “I had the mentality that every ball was mine. All of us can shoot the three. It was a big win.”
“The last couple games we’ve been pretty good at it,” Columbia coach Larry Babics said when asked about his team’s sharpshooting. “All five of our guys are not afraid with the ball in their hands. They can all shoot it.”
Oberlin cleaned up on the glass — particularly the first half when it had a 25-9 advantage. Jason Moore (11 rebounds), Charles Lewis (10) DaShaun Horton (nine) and Marcus Bailey (eight) crashed the boards with a passion, but the Pheonix struggled from the field (32 percent).
Still, the game was nip-and-tuck until early in the fourth quarter.
“Jacob really helped on the boards,” Babics said. “He’s so long, but sometimes in our zone we have him up top, which doesn’t help our rebounding. They were getting a lot of second-shot opportunities.”
“We took the lead,” Oberlin coach Kurt Russell said. “It was 46-45 when that kid (Brandon Severo) hit that three. That hurt us a little bit. We thought if maybe we could get the lead, maybe with our defensive pressure we could get some turnovers, but Columbia is an excellent ball club. They’re 16-1 for a reason.”
The Severo 3-pointer Russell mentioned finished a 6-0 run and put the Raiders up 51-46 with 6:24 to play. But Oberlin answered, cutting the lead to 52-50 before Zach Stopper nailed a 3-pointer to give the Raiders some breathing room.
“You have to have a short memory,” said Stopper, who, though he scored 16 points, had missed all four of his 3-point attempts in the third quarter before his big make. “When you miss, you have to keep shooting. You have to make the big shots.”
Oberlin never recovered and the Raiders iced it from the foul line.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Columbia 63, Oberlin 54
COLUMBIA (63): Brandon Severo 2-3-9, Jay Banyasz 4-6-15, Jacob Simon 7-4-21, Kevin Simon 0-0-0, Zach Stopper 5-3-16, Michael Boey 0-0-0, Tyler Edmisten 0-0-0, David Delahunty 1-0-2. Totals 19-16-63.
OBERLIN (54): Jason Moore 5-4-14, Charles Lewis 3-1-8, Marcus Bailey 5-1-11, Noland Isom 6-2-14, DaShaun Horton 1-2-4, Demonte Taborn 1-1-3, Marvin Jackson 0-0-0. Totals 21-11-54.
Columbia 11 18 15 19 — 63
Oberlin 10 17 15 12 — 54
Three-point goals: Columbia 9-25 (J. Simon 3, Stopper 3, Severo 2, Banyasz), Oberlin 1-11 (Lewis). Field goals: Columbia 19-46 (41 percent), Oberlin 21-65 (32 percent). Free throws: Columbia 16-21 (76 percent), Oberlin 11-18 (61 percent). Rebounds: Columbia 28 (J.Simon 12), Oberlin 50 (Moore 11). Turnovers: Columbia 8, Oberlin 11. Total fouls: Columbia 13, Oberlin 16. Fouled out: Moore.
Junior varsity: Columbia, 55-30