Saturday, January 25, 2014

Ithaca Journal Previews Columbia at Cornell

ITHACA — Evening the score will be on the minds of both Cornell basketball teams in a men’s-women’s doubleheader with Ivy League foe Columbia on Saturday at Newman Arena.

The action tips off at noon with the men’s game between the Lions (12-6, 1-0) and the Big Red (1-14, 0-1). The women’s game is slated for 2:30 p.m., with Columbia coming in at 4-11, 1-0, and Cornell at 8-7, 0-1.

The games will complete the home-and-home series between the Ivy League travel partners that began last Saturday with the Lions’ doubleheader sweep at Levien Gym. It began with the 71-64 Columbia women’s victory, and was capped by the Lions’ 71-61 men’s victory,

In last week’s Ivy opener, Coach Bill Courtney’s Cornell men cut a 16-point deficit midway through the second half to six with less than a minute to play, but Columbia hit 4 of 6 free throws in the final 42 seconds. Junior guard Devin Cherry had 16 points to lead the Red, while freshman Darryl Smith added 12 points and five rebounds, earning Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors.

Sophomore Nolan Cressler chipped in 11 points; he still leads the team in scoring at an average of 16.1 points per game, followed by Cherry (10.9) and freshman guard Robert Hatter (10.0 ppg.).

Columbia, which has won seven of its past eight, is led by 6-7 junior Alex Rosenberg (13.9 ppg.), who scored 20 in last weekend’s victory over Cornell. The Lions’ balanced attack also features sophomore guards Maodo Lo (13.8 ppg.) and Grant Mullins (13.3 ppg.), while 6-4 sophomore guard Isaac Cohen leads the squad in rebounds (5.9 rpg.) and assists (2.8 apg.).

Saturday’s game will be the 222nd in the all-time series between CU and Columbia, which started 111 years ago. The Lions hold a 123-98 advantage and have won five of the past seven meetings.

On the women’s side, Cornell rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit a week ago at Columbia to take the lead before falling by seven. Despite the loss, Cornell senior forward Allyson DiMagno earned Ivy League Co-Player of the Week honors for her 21-point effort. She also grabbed four rebounds and had two assists and two steals; DiMagno shared the award with Yale’s Janna Graf.

DiMagno ranks sixth in the league in scoring (14.1 ppg.) and is second in rebounding (7.7 rpg.), while freshman frontcourt mate Nia Marshall is 10th in scoring (12.3 ppg.) and ninth in rebounding (6.0 rpg.). Senior guard Stephanie Long is seventh in the league in assists (2.9 apg.).

Columbia’s balanced attack is led by Carolyn Binder (10.4 ppg.) and Miwa Tachibana (10.2 ppg.), while two players are just below double-figures. Taylor Ward (9.7 ppg.) leads the team in assists at 3.5 per game. Binder scored 16 points in the win over Cornell, including 4-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc.

Cornell leads the all-time series with Columbia, 42-24, and has won five of the past six meetings.

The Big Red men and women both begin the traditional two-game league weekends next Friday and Saturday. The men hit the road to Brown and Yale, while the women will host the Bears and Bulldogs.

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