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Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Mike McLaughlin

Men's Basketball Returns to the Court Saturday Against Fairleigh Dickinson

Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics
          Release: 12/20/2013
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GAME NOTES (.pdf)

COLUMBIA (6-5) VS. FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON (3-9)
SATURDAY, DEC. 21 • 4 P.M.
LEVIEN GYMNASIUM • NEW YORK
GAME VITALS

Jerry Recco - Play-by-Play
Sal Licata - Analyst

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GAME NOTES

COLUMBIA’S STATUS
After an 11-day hiatus, the Lions will look to continue their home dominance against FDU on Saturday. Columbia is coming off a 78-39 win over UMass-Lowell on Dec. 9. After a back-and-forth opening 10 minutes, the Lions took the lead for good after a 12-2 run and shot 66.7 percent in the second half to cruise to the victory.

FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON’S STATUS
The Knights have had the same layoff as Columbia, last playing on Dec. 9 at No. 22/23 Iowa with the Hawkeyes claiming a 92-59 victory. FDU has played a strong non-conference schedule in addition to the visit to Iowa City, taking on No. 5 Arizona in the NIT Tipoff and picked up big back-to-back road wins at Rutgers (Nov. 26) and Seton Hall (Dec. 1). Sidney Sanders Jr. leads the squad, averaging 18.7 points and 4.9 assists per game.

ABOUT THE MATCHUP
Although the two campuses are separated by a mere 11 miles, Columbia and Fairleigh Dickinson will meet for just the second time in each program’s history on Saturday. The Lions won the previous matchup, 67-52, on Jan. 2, 2012 in Levien Gymnasium.

LIONS AGAINST THE NEC
Columbia is 31-22 all-time against schools currently in the Northeast Conference. The Lions’ most common foe is St. Francis Brooklyn, who they are 9-8 against and will face on Jan. 4.

THE LIONS’ DEN
Through five games, Levien Gymnasium has been an intimidating place to play for opposing teams. Columbia has posted a 4-1 mark and has won each game by double-figures and by an average margin of 22.3 points.

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
Columbia’s 78-39 victory over UMass-Lowell on Dec. 9 was the largest margin of victory for the Lions since a 104-42 victory over Swarthmore on Nov. 28, 2011. It also marked several other benchmarks for the program.
• Largest margin of victory over a Division I program since a 103-62 win against Georgetown on Jan. 14, 1969.
• First time holding an opponent under 40 points since Jan. 6, 2007 against Marywood (87-38).
• First time holding a Division I opponent under 40 points since Jan. 7, 2001 against Binghamton (62-37).

DEPTH PERCEPTION
The Lions’ bench had their strongest output of the season against UMass-Lowell on Dec. 9, posting 40 of the team’s 78 points. Alex Rosenberg led the reserves with 13 points, Meiko Lyles chipped in 11 points and tied a career-best with eight rebounds, while first-year Kendall Jackson supplied a career-best nine points on a trio of 3-pointers.

THE DEFENSE NEVER RESTS
In the latest NCAA rankings that came out on Dec. 16, Columbia is now 12th in the nation in scoring defense, limiting opponents to just 59.7 points per game. The Lions have also improved their field goal (2013-14 - .417/2012-13 - .435) and 3-point percentage defense (2013-14 - .342/2012-13 - .368) from a year ago.

MIRROR IMAGES
Columbia and Bucknell came into their Dec. 7 contest nearly identical in most statistical categories, and the game played out exactly the same way. There were just two fast break points scored as the squads concentrated on running their half-court sets on offense. The Bison shot 39.5 percent, just 0.4 above the Lions, while Columbia held a 31-29 edge on the boards. Both teams posted 10 assists and turnovers were 10-9.

COMING UP ROSES
Junior Alex Rosenberg is finding his stride as the Lions’ sixth man, reaching double-figures in scoring in his last six games, averaging 14.4 points on 50-percent shooting during that span. Rosenberg netted 17 points in a win over Idaho on Nov. 23 and scored 19 at Elon on Dec. 1, including a game-tying 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left to force overtime.

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