• After an 18-day hiatus due to final exams and the Christmas holiday, Columbia will close out 2017 against Maine Saturday.
• The Lions are coming off an 81-66 loss at Boston College on December 12. Columbia led by as many as 11 points in the first half before the Eagles ripped off a 24-5 run and never trailed the rest of the way.
• Maine has been off since a Dec. 22 defeat at Massachusetts, 73-64. The Bears have lost three straight overall and six in a row to Division I programs.
• Columbia and Maine will close the calendar year the same way they started it after meeting on January 2 last season. The Lions improved to 3-2 against the Bears with a 98-73 triumph in Orono in that matchup.
The Bears' last two victories came against D-III opponents UMPI on Dec. 5 and Maine Machias on Dec. 10. Aaron Calixte is averaging 14.5 points and is shooting 92-percent from the foul line to lead the squad.
COLUMBIA VS. AMERICA EAST
The Lions are 16-21 against teams currently in the America East Conference. Columbia’s most common foe is Stony Brook who they met for the 20th time. The Lions have already fallen to UAlbany and Stony Brook this season.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Columbia has had 10 different players record double-figures in points this season. Only eight teams in the country have more than the Lions (11: Boston University, Citadel, North Carolina Central, Liberty, Portland State, Texas State - 12: Texas San-Antonio - 13: Savannah State).
Columbia has posted 20 blocks in its last three contests. The Lions' 10 blocks against Stony Brook on Dec. 7 was the most for the program since Nov. 13, 2015, against Kean (10). It was the most against a Division I opponent since the Lions recorded 10 against Brown on Feb. 15, 2002. Jaron Faulds has recorded eight blocks during this stretch and is second in the Ivy League, averaging 1.4 per contest.
The Lions have also been more active in creating turnovers in the past three games, averaging 8.0 steals.
After a summer training with NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler, sophomore point guard Mike Smith has started off 2017-18 strong, averaging 19.5 points - good for second in the Ivy League - leads the Ancient Eight in assists (4.7) and is second in steals (1.6). Smith has recorded 20 points in back-to-back games and five or more assists in his last four. The Burr Ridge, Illinois, set a career-high for the second time this season with 28 points against Navy Sunday. Smith scored 368 points, a Columbia record for a first-year in 2016-17.
The Lions lead the Ivy League in 3-point makes (10.5) and are second in 3-point field goal percentage (.373). The Lions' made trifectas per game also put them in the 25th nationally. Columbia has knocked down nine or more treys in each of the last eight games. Earlier this season, the Lions tied a school record with 16 made 3-pointers in their win over Longwood on Nov. 14. Columbia previously accomplished the feat against Brown (Feb. 10, 2012) and Kean (Nov. 13, 2015).