Mullins scored 12 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half as the Lions (5-4) extended a 20-16 halftime lead to 42-27.
The Eagles (4-6) got within six, 44-38, on John Schoof's 3-pointer with 3:55 left, but Barbour scored nine points down the stretch.
Barbour became the 25th Columbia player to reach 1,000 career points and now has 1,016.
Stephen Lumpkins scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for American.
Both teams made just six field goals in the first half and the Lions shot just 20.7 percent (6 of 29), but nine American turnovers helped Columbia erase an early 9-1 deficit.
Columbia improved to 55.0 percent (11 of 20) in the second half. American shot 31 percent (13 of 42) overall.
Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski, who missed most of last season with a back injury, says he is returning for another year.
Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes has withdrawn from the NBA draft and will return to the Badgers for his senior season.
Recruiting reporter Jeff Borzello has gotten grilled for his selections of underachieving and overachieving college basketball programs. He joins Phil Murphy to explain his rankings.