Men's Basketball Set for Showdown at No. 2 Michigan State Friday In Coaches vs. Cancer Classic
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COLUMBIA (1-1) AT NO. 2 MICHIGAN STATE (2-0)
FRIDAY, NOV. 15 • 9 P.M.
BRESLIN CENTER • EAST LANSING, MICH.
COACHES VS. CANCER CLASSIC
TV: Big Ten Network & BTN2Go (Josh Lewin - Play-by-Play & Greg Kelser - Color)
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Radio: WKCR (89.9 FM)
ABOUT THE MATCHUP
Columbia and No. 2 Michigan State will face off for the first time ever when the Lions pay a visit to the Breslin Center on Friday. Columbia will be facing a ranked opponent for the first time since opening the 2011-12 season at No. 11 Connecticut, who was the defending National Champion at the time.
The Lions were edged 71-70 by Manhattan on Tuesday in a game that featured a wild finish. A Grant Mullins three gave Columbia a 69-68 lead with 50 seconds remaining and later hit two free-throws to extend the margin to three. The Jaspers’ Michael Alvarado was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer with four ticks on the clock, missed 2-of-3 from the line, but George Beamon converted on a third-effort putback. In addition, Beamon was fouled and sank the free throw to help Manhattan escape with the win.
MICHIGAN STATE’S STATUS
The Spartans are riding high after their 78-74 triumph over No. 1 Kentucky on Tuesday. Michigan State held a 12-point halftime lead, but had to hold off a Wildcat rally in the second. Keith Appling had a strong all-around game with 22 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and four steals.
LIONS AGAINST THE BIG TEN
• Columbia holds a 10-15 record against teams currently in the Big Ten.
• Penn State is the Lions’ most common foe in the conference, with the teams splitting eight meetings evenly, 4-4.
• Columbia has not faced a Big Ten squad since they took on the Nittany Lions on Dec. 11, 1993.
• The last time the Lions knocked off a Big Ten squad was during the 1970-71 campaign after a 71-63 triumph over Penn State.
COLUMBIA AND THE AP TOP-25
• The Lions are 6-41 all-time against teams ranked in the AP Top-25.
• Columbia has never faced a team ranked No. 2 in the country.
• The Lions have not defeated a ranked opponent since sine Dec. 28, 1994, a game Columbia lost to Cal, but was later awarded a victory after the Bears used an ineligible player.
• Columbia’s last true win against a ranked team was an 85-75 win at No. 19 Rutgers on Dec. 2, 1976.
• The last time the Lions were ranked in the AP Top-25 was Feb. 24, 1970 when they checked in at No. 18.
Sophomore Grant Mullins went off for a career-best 23 points (21 coming in the second half) in Columbia’s Nov. 12 contest against Manhattan. Mullins has been extremely efficient in the Lions’ first two games, shooting 68.8% from the floor, 5-of-9 (55.6%) from downtown, has knocked down 9-of-9 from the charity stripe and has a 4-1 assist/turnover ratio.
THE GIVING TREE
Center Cory Osetkowski (affectionately known as “Tree” to teammates and coaches) has gotten off to a strong start in his junior campaign, averaging 12.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 blocks in two games. Osetkowski, a former pitcher on Columbia’s baseball team, had a breakout game against UMES on Nov. 9, recording the first double-double of his career with 14 points and 10 rebounds. He also set his third personal-best with five assists in 28 minutes.
JASPERS CATCH FIRE
Manhattan’s 10-of-12 performance from beyond the arc on Nov. 12 was the best 3-point shooting performance allowed by a Columbia team since Dec. 9, 2002 when Lehigh drilled 7-of-10 from long-range.
HANDLE WITH CARE
Columbia has maintained its trend of taking care of the basketball in its two games this season, averaging just 11.5 turnovers per game after posting a mark of 10.9 in 2012-13, which was the 17th fewest in the nation.
WE LIKE IKE
After showing glimpses of promise in his first year, sophomore Isaac Cohen stepped into the starting lineup against UMES and posted a career-high of 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting, to go with seven rebounds, in 36 minutes.
IN THE ZONE
Holding a five-point halftime cushion against UMES, Columbia came out scorching hot, burying its first 10 field goal attempts, which included seven 3’s to open up a 25-point margin in a 73-54 win over the Hawks.