|Points||Mike Smith (21)||Steven Cook (19)|
|Rebounds||Mike Smith (6)||Steven Cook (8)|
|Assists||Quinton Adlesh (4)||Spencer Weisz (4)|
|Steals||Quinton Adlesh (4)||Six players (1)|
|Blocks||Luke Petrasek (1)||Will Gladson (2)|
PRINCETON, N.J. – Columbia battled all the way back from a 20-point second half deficit and had a chance to claim a win at first-place and undefeated Princeton, but the Tigers held on for a 61-59 men’s basketball win Saturday night at Jadwin Gym.
Trailing by 20 points (46-26) with 18 minutes to go, Columbia slowly whittled away at the Tigers’ lead. A 7-0 run capped by a Jeff Coby layup cut the deficit to 10 points (49-39) with 12 minutes to play. Columbia found itself down 13 points with 5:25 to go, but an 8-0 run sparked by back-to-back 3-pointers from Mike Smith and Quinton Adlesh and followed by Jake Killingsworth’s jumper in the lane, cut the deficit to five points (59-54) with 2:33 to go.
After Princeton’s Amir Bell hit a jumper, Luke Petrasek swished a 3-pointer and Smith hit a jumper to cut the margin to two points (61-59) with 1:20 to go. Both teams had opportunities in the final minute as Princeton missed a jumper and Columbia missed two shots, the last a long-range 3-pointer with one second to play.
“I’m proud of them,” Columbia head coach Jim Engles said. “We talked about it halftime. We have a big challenge in front of us. Six of our last eight games are on the road. We start 4-2 and now we have to go on the road and finish out what we’ve started. We have lots of different challenges ahead of us that we haven’t faced early on this year. Yesterday we didn’t play well in the first half and put ourselves in position to win. Today, we did the same thing and had a chance at the end.”
First-year Smith led the Lions with 21 points, his fifth 20-point contest of the season. Smith hit seven of 16 shots and 4-5 3-pointers and also led the Lions with six rebounds. Quinton Adlesh hit three 3-pointers for nine points and also tied a career-high with four steals, and Luke Petrasek finished with seven points.
Princeton (15-6, 8-0 Ivy League) placed three players in double figure scoring led by Steven Cook’s 19 points (5-7 3-point shooting), Myles Stephens’ 15 and Devin Cannady’s 11. The Tigers hit 11 of 26 3-pointers and finished the game shooting 46 percent (23-50).
Columbia played much better in the second half than in the first as the Lions outscored the Tigers 33-20. The Lions hit seven of 12 3-pointers and forced seven key Princeton turnovers. But the key statistic was holding Princeton under 30 percent shooting (8-27) in the game’s final 20 minutes.
“We switched up our defenses a bit more in the second half,” Engles said. “We played with more focus and energy. When a team shoots almost 70 percent, eventually they’re going to slow up. Statistically, you average out. Offensively, we played with more intensity in the second half.”
Princeton built a 41-26 halftime lead with hot shooting. The Tigers converted 65 percent (15-23) of their field goals and 7-10 3-pointers in the first half alone. After Columbia took a 13-9 lead on a Smith 3-pointer at the 12:15 mark, Princeton went on an 8-0 run and never looked back. The Tigers led 19-13, then used another 8-0 run fueled by back-to-back 3-pointers from Myles Stephens and Devin Cannady to go up by 17 points (39-22) at the 1:56 mark.
Princeton immediately went up by 20 points (46-26) with a 5-0 run to start the second half, but Columbia began its run.
Columbia (10-11, 4-4 Ivy League) is back in action next Friday night at Harvard. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. ET. Tickets are still available for Columbia’s home games and can be purchased by visiting GoColumbiaLions.com/Tickets or by calling 888-LIONS-11. Two home games remain: vs. Princeton (Feb. 24) and vs. Penn (Feb. 25).