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Senior forward Josh Figini rolled off a screen to the top of the key, finding the ball in his hands in a familiar spot on the court. With just enough space to get a shot off, he nailed a three-pointer, his second of the game from the top of the arc. His shot cut Columbia’s lead to one with just under 14 minutes left in the game, but it was not enough momentum to propel the Red to a victory. The Lions went on a 13-2 run after that basket, and though the Red fought back throughout the final minutes, the squad dropped its first conference home game of the season, 67-58.
The Lions took advantage of the Red’s offensive drought in the second half, as Columbia’s senior guard Brian Barbour was consistently able to weave his way into the lane.
“We lost a bit of our defensive intensity there and they were able to capitalize,” said senior forward Eitan Chemerinski. “Brian [Barbour] made a couple tough shots and they got some confidence from that.”
When Barbour was not scoring in the paint, he was able to dish the ball out to Columbia big man Mark Cisco or their perimeter shooters.
“We weren’t communicating, weren’t talking to each other and we were a little bit slow on the defensive end,” said senior guard Johnathan Gray. “Maybe fatigue set in, which hasn’t really been a problem for us.”
Columbia had a solid rotation of guards between Barbour, Steve Grankoski and Grant Mullins who pestered the Red’s normally sound defense the entire game. Barbour had 16 points on 5 of 12 shooting, while Mullins and Frankoski combined for 23 points, including five three pointers.
“Their guards were quick, we just have to keep our toughness and make sure we keep the guards out of the lane and keep them from having easy dribble penetration,” Chemerinski said.
“Our individual defense has to be a lot better,” Gray said. “It sounds easy but it will be tough. They have a lot of quick guards and we have to contain them and try to be disciplined. They did a good job spacing us out and making us work the whole shot clock.
Cisco — who gave the Red trouble in its loss to Columbia last season — had another solid game with 18 points and nine rebounds, but most of his scoring again came off dribble penetration by the guards.
“He had a big game but the way he was scoring we’re not too worried about,” Gray said. “He had a lot of drop off opportunities where he just laid the ball in.”
Offensively, the Red was able to stay with the Lions in the first half, going into the locker room down by three. The Red shot the ball well, with Gray and freshman guard Nolan Cressler getting hot from beyond the arc. Cressler had 11 points in the first half with three triples and a tip in under the basket on a missed three-pointer by junior guard Dominick Scelfo. However, Cressler was held scoreless for the final 27 minutes of the game.
Gray was able to pick up where he left off, scoring ten points on the day. He scored seven of the Red’s eight points to end the first half, keeping the squad within striking distance.
In the second half, though, the Red was unable to get as many good looks. Sophomore forward Shonn Miller led the Red’s scoring with 13 points, ten of which came in the final 20 minutes. The two squads traded baskets for most of the half until the Lions made their mini run from which the Red could never recover.
The loss at home is a tough blow to the Red, who had been on a two-game winning streak coming out of winter break. The squad will have to recover quickly for Saturday, when it travels to the Lions’ home turf in New York City for its second Ivy contest. According to Gray, the Red will be studying film tomorrow, working to fix the defensive lapses that occurred this weekend.
“Going on the road is no easy task,” he said. “We feel like we can expect the same thing out of them but they will see some adjustments from us, we just have to go out there and fix the little things.”
ITHACA, N.Y. -- Columbia senior Mark Cisco and Brian Barbour combined for 34 points and the Lions' offensive execution in the second half propelled the visitors to a 67-58 victory over Cornell on Saturday afternoon at Newman Arena. The Lions improved to 9-6 (1-0), while the Big Red slipped to 8-10 (0-1 Ivy) in the Ivy League opener for both teams. Shonn Miller led the Big Red with 13 points to go along with four rebounds, three steals, a blocked shot and an assist, while Nolan Cressler had 11 points and four rebounds off the bench. Johnathan Gray rounded out Cornell's double figure scorers with 10 points. Senior post players Josh Figini (eight points) and Eitan Chemerinski (seven points, six rebounds) fell just shy of double figures. The Big Red outrebounded Columbia 31-25 despite the loss. Barbour ran the show for the Lions, scoring 16 points, while Cisco scored 18 to go along with nine rebounds, most on dump-off passes in the lane from Barbour or freshmen Grant Mullins or Isaac Cohen. Mullins added 10 points, four rebounds and four assists, while Cohen notched four rebounds and seven assists. The Lions made 11-of-18 shots after halftime (61 percent) to finish at .535 for the game. Columbia assisted on 16 baskets while turning the ball over just 10 times, right in line with their season average. The game featured 13 lead changes and seven ties, but Columbia finally took control of the game with a 13-0 run over 4:30 that featured three dump-off passes to Cisco, two for layups and another for a 10-foot jumper from the corner. Barbour immediately went down and scored after a Shonn Miller basket had put the home team up 43-42 with 12:37 left to help the Lions regain the lead. Cohen then found Cisco for a layup and Mullins hit Steve Frankoski for an open 3-pointer. After a Big Red timeout, Cohen again for Cisco for a layup and Mullins scored inside, followed by the freshman finding Cisco open for another jumper. The closest Cornell would get in the final seven minutes was eight points. The first half was played with great pace on both ends, with Columbia taking a 34-31 edge into the locker room.Cressler scored all 11 of his points in the first half, including knocking down 3-of-5 3-pointers. Gray added seven points for the Big Red, who came out strong early, taking a 9-4 edge into the first media timeout. The Lions quickly settled in, evening the score with a 5-0 spurt and it went back and forth much of the first half. Mullins put Columbia up five (34-29) with under a minute to play in the half, but Gray worked himself into the lane for a basket to cut it to three, and the Big Red got a great defensive stand in the final 20 seconds to go into the break down just three points. The two teams will meet each other again next weekend when the Big Red makes the return trip on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. at Levien Gymnasium.
ITHACA, N.Y. - The Columbia men's basketball team kicked off Ivy League play with a 67-58 victory at Cornell in front of a national televised audience on Saturday afternoon. The Lions (9-6, 1-0) played a strong second half, and used a 13-0 run to propel them to victory.
Columbia had a number of players have big games, led by senior Mark Cisco, who poured in 18 points and nine boards. Senior Brian Barbour seemed to come up with big buckets whenever the team needed it, and finished with 16 points. First-year Isaac Cohen came off the bench and provided a huge lift, dishing out a career-high seven assists and adding four rebounds.
The Big Red (8-10, 0-1) took a 9-4 lead after a triple by Cornell's Nolan Cressler from the left corner with 15:52 on the clock. Sophomore Steve Frankoski started and finished an 8-0 spurt with a pair of treys to give Columbia its first lead of the day, 12-9, with 14:21 remaining in the half.
After trading baskets over the next several minutes, Cohen pulled down a defensive rebound and found Frankoski for a pull-up jumper in transition to give the Lions a 19-17 lead. After another Big Red charge, Barbour took over, scoring five-straight to put Columbia on top, 25-23, at the 6:52 mark.
Senior John Daniels also played a pivotal role in the Lions first half success. The Sioux City, Iowa product, found Mark Cisco under the basket for an easy two. On the next possession, Daniels threw down a two-handed slam to put the Lions ahead by two with 3:23 before the break, and Columbia remained in front at the half, 34-31.
Cornell netted the first four points of the second half to take a one-point lead just over two minutes in, and the teams continued to match each other shot-for-shot over the next several moments. Shonn Miller drilled a short jumper to give the Big Red a 43-42 lead with 12:37 remaining, but that would be the last time Cornell held a lead in the contest.
With the shot clock winding down, Cohen fed Cisco for a reverse layup, then pulled down a defensive rebound which led to another Frankoski three-pointer to kick-start the offensive outburst. A 12-footer from the left corner by Cisco put Columbia on top, 55-43, to give the Lions its largest lead of the ballgame with 7:38 on the clock.
Columbia maintained its poise under the Big Red's pressure defense and maintained its comfortable cushion the rest of the way to walk away with the win.
The Lions shot 53.5 percent from the field and were 6-of-13 (46.2 percent) from downtown. Frankoski scored in double-figures for the sixth consecutive game.
The Lions return to Levien Gymnasium to take on the Big Red on Saturday, January 26. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by clicking here or by calling (888) LIONS-11.
Lions top Cornell to pick up victory in first Ivy contest The Lions overcame a lackluster start on Saturday afternoon, securing a win to open conference play.
ITHACA, N.Y. — The Lions got conference play off to a strong start this afternoon, picking up a 67-58 road win over Cornell.
Columbia (9-6, 1-0 Ivy) started out sluggishly, as the Cornell (8-10, 0-1 Ivy) press proved to be effective in the game's first minutes. The Big Red held a five-point lead with 15:52 to play in the first half.
“We just had a couple miscommunications, and to be a great team we can't have the and we gotta adjust a little more,” senior point guard Brian Barbour said of the Lions' slow start. “I'm sure we'll work on it this week knowing it's coming again right back at us.”
Columbia clawed its way back, buoyed by the three-point shooting of sophomore guard Steve Frankoski and the hustle of senior forward John Daniels. A Frankoski three gave Columbia its first lead, and Daniels provided a spark defensively and on the glass.
“John brings a huge presence on the boards,” senior center Mark Cisco said of Daniels. “He's a high energy player, gets everyone excited, and it's really vital to the team.”
As a unit, the Lions had trouble on the boards in the first half, getting outrebounded, 16-11. But despite allowing six second-chance points in the first half, the Light Blue held a 34-31 halftime lead.
The first ten minutes of the second half were tightly contested. Cornell closed the gap, and briefly recaptured the lead. Neither team was able to secure a convincing lead until a Frankoski three gave Columbia a six-point advantage with 9:47 to play in the game.
Back-to-back field goals by Cisco and freshman guard Grant Mullins gave Columbia a 53-43 advantage with just under 8:30 remaining, and Cisco added another bucket to put the visitors up by 12 and cap off a 13-0 run.
A second-chance score by forward Shonn Miller halted Columbia's run, and a Miller three on the next possession cut the Columbia lead to eight.
After a couple back-and-forth possessions, a pair of Barber free throws put the Columbia lead back at 12 with just over three minutes remaining.
Cornell was unable to gets back on its feet, as Columbia closed out the win to improve to 9-6 on the season and start off conference play with a win.
It’s always good to win on the road in the Ivy League. The Lions took advantage of good offensive spacing and made some key hustle plays in the second half to pull away for a 67-58 victory in Ithaca.
Props to Mark Cisco, who improved his play in the second half, to help Columbia pull away. Cisco matched his career high of 18 points (set in NYC against Cornell last year). Major props also to Brian Barbour, who scored deftly around the hoop against bigger players, and Isaac Cohen, who handled the ball very well, dishing seven assists, mainly to Cisco underneath. Grant Mullins, another frosh, also played under control and hit some big shots.
It should be another tight game next weekend in NYC. Hope the Lions’ faithful and students show up in droves to provide the home court advantage. Some notes from yesterday:
- It was great to see NBC Sports’ efforts in producing the game nationwide. There were some minor blips (Randy Moss called Skylar Scrivano Cory Osetkowski, for one) but it was a pretty solid broadcast. Dalen Cuff ’06 did his best to be objective and gave good tidbits from both teams’ practices and shootarounds.
- While Osetkowski is still limited by his left elbow, John Daniels did yeoman’s work to pick up the slack on the front line. Daniels started for Alex Rosenberg, who is still dealing with minor injuries issues himself, and was strong around the basket. His highlight of the day came on a free-wheeling moving to the basket from the three-point line for a two-handed jam in the first half.
- Steve Frankoski continues to shoot well off the bench. Similar to “The Microwave” Vinnie Johnson and Jimmer Fredette, Frankoski shoots with purpose when he appears on the court. He also has added some mid-range aspects to his game, necessary to keep defenders honest.
- Alex Rosenberg was quieted offensively, as he was called for a pair of 50-50 charges early. It’s good to see him being aggressive and taking the ball to the hoop. A simple jump stop or different way of drawing contact will turn those into three-point plays down the line.
- NBC Sports’ Donny Marshall said Columbia was his pick to win the Ivy League during halftime of the broadcast. A former UConn standout, Marshall was complimentary toward Cisco and Barbour after the game.
- Barbour did what he did often last year, take the ball to the basket and score on unconventional layups. He made a few long-range shots early, then closed the game out with some nice moves against larger defenders like Shonn Miller to keep the Big Red at bay down the stretch.
Next week’s game will be just as hard fought. Kyle Smith likens these games to “football weeks” where a team prepares endlessly and endlessly for an opponent. Cornell will be extra hungry after a subpar second half in front of its home crowd. Columbia should have a strong home crowd behind it next Saturday night at Levien. Should be a fun one!