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Junior center Mark Cisco has scored in double figures in five of the last eight games.
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Herold Roy

Columbia Hosts Penn Friday, Princeton Saturday to Open Ivy League Men's Basketball Season

Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics
          Release: 01/12/2012
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NEW YORK - Columbia begins the 14-game tournament at Levien Gymnasium for the second straight season, facing Penn on Friday, January 13 at 7 p.m. before a meeting with Princeton on Saturday, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m, presented by the Harlem Tavern. It is the first time since 2007 that the Lions have faced an opponent other than its travel partner Cornell to begin league play.

Sporting an 11-5 record, the Lions will face a 7-9 Penn team that has played a rigorous non-league schedule. Columbia will take on the defending Ivy League champion Princeton Tigers (9-7) at Levien on Saturday.

Students are admitted free with Columbia or Barnard ID. Tickets to the game are available online or by calling 888-LIONS-11.

Fans can also watch or listen live to the game via SideLION Pass with Jerry Recco (@JerryRecco) and Dalen Cuff (@DCuff21) on the call. WKCR 89.9 FM, Columbia's student radio station, will also call the game. Live stats and game notes are available.

TURN IT TO ELEVEN
Since an 0-4 start, Columbia has won 11 of its last 12 games to push its record to 11-5. The last Lion squad to win 11 of 12 games was the 1976-77 team led by Alton Byrd and Ricky Free.

LIONS AT LEVIEN
The Lions have won their last five games at Levien Gymnasium and are 15-6 over the last two seasons at home.

THE DEFENSE NEVER RESTS
Columbia’s defense has been its calling card early this season. Columbia’s opponents are averaging 58.6 points per game and are shooting 38.9 percent from the field. Columbia’s scoring defense of 58.6 points per game currently ranks 24th in the nation and the field goal percentage defense of 38.9 percent ranks 37th overall.

LIFE BEGINS AT 60
The number 60 has been a significant one during Columbia’s 2011-12 season. The Lions are 9-0 when holding opponents to 60 points or fewer. Columbia also has an 9-0 record when scoring 60 points or more.

THE HISTORY NOTE - PENN
Columbia has won three of the last four games against Penn and four of the last six overall. The Lions have defeated the Quakers four of the last five times at Levien Gym, including last year’s 75-62 win at home.

HOW MAY I ASSIST YOU?
One of the trademarks of Columbia’s offense this season has been the ability to share the ball. In their last nine games, the Lions have posted double figures in assists as a team.

COLUMBIA IN IVY LEAGUE OPENERS
The Lions are 25-30 all-time in Ivy League openers, including last year’s league-opening win over Cornell at home. The last time Columbia did not open the league season vs. Cornell was the 2006-07 Ivy League season. That year, the Lions hosted Princeton and Penn at Levien Gym. Columbia defeated Princeton and lost to Penn that weekend.

BARBOUR RUNNING THE SHOW
Columbia junior Brian Barbour has had an outstanding junior season after receiving All-Ivy League honorable mention as a sophomore last seaosn. During the 2011-12 campaign, averaging 33.9 minutes per game, Barbour leads Columbia in scoring (14.3 ppg), assists (3.4 apg) and steals (1.2 spg). Barbour also shoots 89 percent from the free throw line, one of the top marks in the country.

BALL DON'T LYE
Sophomore guard Meiko Lyles has gone on a scoring binge recently. Over his last four games, Lyles is averaging 17.8 points per game and has scored 20 or more points in two of the last three games. On January 2 vs. Fairleigh Dickinson, Lyles totaled a career-high 25 points in Columbia’s 67-52 win. Two days later at Colgate, Lyles scored 17 of his game-high 21 points in the second half of a 66-59 victory. The Tennessee native scored Columbia’s first nine points of the second half and made eight of thirteen field goals in the game.

YOU’RE ON THE MARK, CISCO
Junior center Mark Cisco scored a career-high 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds in Columbia’s 65-60 win at Elon on January 8. Cisco made nine of his eleven shots from the field in the victory, surpassing his previous career high of 17 points, recorded at Yale last season.

GO, JOHNNY, GO
Junior forward John Daniels has provided a big lift recently in Columbia’s frontcourt. In Columbia’s win vs. Elon on January 8, Daniels produced six points, five rebounds and two assists in the game. He made all four of his foul shots and is now shooting 76 percent from the line after shooting 50 percent from the line in his first two seasons.

THE BLOOM IS ON ROSENBERG
Rookie Alex Rosenberg has had a strong start to his first collegiate campaign. Named Ivy League Rookie of the Week earlier this season, Rosenberg is averaging 8.8 points and 5.3 rebounds over the last four games, all Columbia victories. Last time out at Elon, Rosenberg hauled in a team-high eight rebounds and hit a big three-pointer late in the game that gave the Lions a lead they would not relinquish.

BLAISE OF GLORY
Senior forward Blaise Staab gave Columbia a lift in the 77-67 win vs. Lafayette on December 30. Staab made a number of acrobatic plays for Columbia and finished with seven points and four rebounds in the winning effort.

CROCKETT ROCKS IT
Senior guard Chris Crockett has provided instant offense off the Columbia bench early this season. In the win against North Texas on Dec. 3, Crockett scored a career-high 12 points on four three-pointers. A day later vs. La Sierra, Crockett matched his career best with four assists and added eight points.

NOAH’S ARC
Rookie Noah Springwater has seen increased court time in recent games and stepped up in Columbia’s 66-59 win at Colgate on January 4. In that game, Springwater made a number of terrific defensive plays and hit two big three-pointers in the game. He played a season-high 26 minutes vs. the Raiders.

SCRAMBLED EGEE
Senior Steve Egee has given Columbia a boost off the bench in recent games. Against LIU on December 10, Egee hit a pair of second-half three-pointers that helped Columbia gain separation from the Blackbirds and pull away for the win.

OSETKOWSKI’S BLOCK PARTY
Rookie center Cory Osetkowski leads Columbia with 14 blocked shots this season. In the game at Elon, Osetkowski scored five consecutive points in the second half, helping Columbia tie the game and eventually hold a lead.

LIONS CONTROLLING THE GLASS
In 10 of its first 16 games, Columbia has totaled more rebounds than its opponents. The Lions are 7-3 in those games when they hold the edge on the glass.

CISCO AMONG TOP OFFENSIVE REBOUNDERS
Junior Mark Cisco ranks among the top ten all-time at Columbia in career offensive rebounds. Offensive rebounds were kept as a separate stat beginning in the 1990-91 season.

1.   John Baumann   2004-08   189
2. Chris Wiedemann   1999-03 166
3. Ben Nwachukwu 2004-08 164
4. Jim Tubridy 1992-96 150
5. Boris Piskun 1992-96 145
6. Mark Cisco 2009-pres.    144
  Asenso Ampim 2007-11 144
8. Gary Raimondo 1995-99 143
9. Matt Preston 2001-05 138
10.   Jason Miller 2005-09 112

COLUMBIA AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS
Through January 8, Columbia was ranked among the nation’s top 100 teams in several different categories:

Category   Rank   Actual
Win-Loss Pct   87th 68.8
Scoring Defense    24th 58.6
Scoring Margin 98th +7.1
Field Goal Pct Defense     37th 38.9
Three-Pointers Per Game    48th 7.9
Three-Point FG Pct 58th 37.6
Three-Point FG Pct Defense   99th 32.2
Free Throw Pct 98th 70.9
Turnovers Per Game 69th 12.8
Personal Fouls Per Game 34th 15.9

Category   Player   Rank    Actual
Free Throw Pct    Brian Barbour    24th 89.0

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