Columbia reached the Fab Four of the 2009 NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship after a 50-47 victory Saturday over Westminster (Utah) at Municipal Auditorium.

Columbia, which hadn’t won an NAIA Tournament game since 2001, improves to 29-7 overall and will make its first national semifinal appearance on Monday. The Cougars will take on the winner of McKendree (Ill.) and MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) with tipoff scheduled for 8:50 p.m. CDT.

Jason Ellis scored 15 of his team-leading 17 points in the second half to pace Columbia.  Ellis also led the Cougars in rebounding with four.

Columbia, which held a 22-21 halftime lead, began the second half on a 17-5 run to increase their lead to 39-26.  Westminster then went on a 16-0 run to take a 42-39 lead.  The teams battled down to the wire.  After Jason Ellis hit one of two free throws to make it 50-47, Westminster had one last shot with seven seconds to go but was unable to connect.

Westminster’s Danny Stosich led all scorers with 18. Phil Friesen connected for 10 points while Ben Smith registered nine points and a team-high seven rebounds. The Griffins end their season with an overall record of 30-5.