Men's Basketball Welcomes Eastern Michigan For Second Round CIT Action Saturday
COMPLETE GAME NOTES (.pdf)
COLUMBIA (20-12) VS. EASTERN MICHIGAN (22-14)
SATURDAY, MARCH 22 • 7 P.M
LEVIEN GYMNASIUM • NEW YORK
Jerry Recco - Play-by-Play
** MTA ALERT **
1-Trains will not be running between 96th Street and 242nd Street on Saturday. For alternate mass transit options, please visit the MTA's advisory page.
The Lions are riding high after their 58-56 win at Valparaiso in the opening round of the CIT on Tuesday night. Maodo Lo drilled a step-back jumper from the foul line to lift Columbia to its first postseason win since 1968. The game was close the entire way with neither team leading by more than seven points at any juncture. Columbia’s defense was stingy throughout, holding Valpo to 38.9 percent from the floor and the Crusaders’ top scorer LaVonte Dority to seven points on 3-of-16 shooting.
EASTERN MICHIGAN’S STATUS
The Eagles held off Norfolk State on Tuesday, 58-54, in a game similar to the one the Lions played at Valpo. Neither team led by more than three possessions in the contest and Eastern Michigan used strong 3-point shooting (7-of-17 - 41 percent) to advance to the second round. EMU has won seven of their last nine and reached the semifinals of the MAC Tournament. The Eagles are making their sixth total postseason appearance (four NCAA, one NIT) and first since 1998 when they went to the “Big Dance.”
ABOUT THE CIT
This is the sixth year of existence for the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, which started in 2009. The tournament features a 32-team field, oriented towards mid-major institutions. The tournament does not feature a traditional bracket, instead determining future matchups by the results of previous rounds. All games are held on campus sites. Five different teams have won the first five CITs, including East Carolina in 2013.
ABOUT THE MATCHUP
This will be the first meeting between Columbia and EMU.
LIONS VS. THE MAC
Columbia has only faced three teams currently in the Mid-American Conference and are 0-3 in those games. The Lions have taken on Central Michigan in the 1996-97 season, Kent State during the 1972-73 campaign and Toledo in 1980-81.
EXTENDING THE SEASON
Columbia is making its fourth postseason appearance and its first since 1968. This is the first non-NCAA Tournament the Lions are participating in. Columbia has gone to the “Big Dance” three times (1948, 1951, 1968). Columbia improved to 3-4 in postseason games after its win at Valpo on March 18. Saturday night will also be the first time Columbia will host a postaseason contest.
“MARCH” TO 1,000
Alex Rosenberg has put together one of the finest offensive seasons in school history and is now just nine points shy of becoming the 26th player to reach the 1,000 point club.
With Mariano Rivera retired, New York has a new closer that goes by the name of Maodo Lo. In the second half of games this year, he has scored 10 or more points 13 times. Lo hit the biggest shot of his career as time expired at Valparaiso on Mardch 18 to lift Columbia to a 58-56 win in the opening round of the CIT. On the season, he has gone 60-of-70 from the foul line in second halves, compared to 13-of-19 in the opening stanzas. Lo’s 15-point outburst in the second half helped spark a big run to seal a win over Dartmouth on Feb. 15. Earlier this season against Stony Brook, Lo scored 21 of his 29 points in the second half to help the Lions hold off the Seawolves, 68-63.
THE GIVING TREE
Cory Osetkowski (affectionately known as “Tree” to teammates and coaches) has strung together three outstanding games in a row to close the regular season and open the CIT.
• Averaging 18 points and is shooting 70 percent from the floor and 6-of-8 from downtown during this current stretch.
• Poured in career-high 21 points at Valparaiso on Mar. 18, going 8-of-11 from the field and 3-of-3 from 3-point land.
• Scored 14 points, grabbed nine rebounds in a win over Penn on Mar. 7.
• Followed that performance by tying a then career-high with 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting against Princeton on Mar. 8.
• He ranks sixth on the career block list with 69 blocks, trailing former teammate Mark Cisco ‘13CC by three rejections for fifth.
• Osetkowski played arguably his finest game in blue and white at Cornell on Jan. 25, recording 19 points, nine boards and five blocks. The five rejections were the most for a Lion since Noruwa Agho turned away five shots against Lafayette in 2011.
IT’S ALL HAPPENING
This year’s Columbia team continues to leave its mark on the record book, accomplishing things the program has not done in years.
• This Lions’ 20 victories marks just the seventh time they have reached the 20-win plateau and the first since 1969-70.
• Columbia has not won more than 20 games since 1967-68 when they went 23-5 and won the Ivy League Championship.
• With its win over Dartmouth on Feb. 28, the Lions had a four-game Ivy League winning streak for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
• With victories over Brown and Yale on Feb. 21 and 23, Columbia marked its first Ivy League weekend sweep since February 2009 when they topped Dartmouth and Harvard at home.
• After their win over Penn on Mar. 7, the Lions secured its first plus-.500 record in conference play since the 1992-93 campaign.
With the Lions win at Valpo on Tuesday, they set a program record with 12 non-conference victories in a season. Kyle Smith’s 2011-12 squad held the previous mark, going 11-5 mark before the 14-game tournament.