NEW YORK - The Columbia men's basketball team returns to action after a two-week hiatus to take on Elon on Saturday, Dec. 22, at 4:00 p.m. at Levien Gymnasium.
The Lions snapped a three-game skid at American on Dec. 9 with a 54-42 victory on the road. Columbia overcame an 0-for-15 shooting start, and used a 10-0 run late in the first half to take the lead for good. Grant Mullins and Brian Barbour combined for 39 points to pace the offense, while the defense limited the Eagles to 31 percent shooting for the game.
Elon has lost two-straight, including a 76-54 loss at No. 1 Duke on Thursday night. The Phoneix hung around most of the way, but a 10-2 run to close the first half gave the Blue Devils a lead they would never relinquish. Sebastian Koch went 4-of-5 from downtown and finished the game with a team-high 14 points and nine rebounds. Like the Lions, Elon has done a good job taking care of the ball this season, averaging just 11.5 turnovers per contest.
HISTORY NOTES - ELON
This will be the third straight year the Lions and Phoenix will face each other. Each team has won on the road in the previous two contests, including Columbia’s 65-60 win last year. The Lions used big performances by Brian Barbour (20 pts.) and Mark Cisco (18 pts., 8 reb.) to erase a six-point halftime deficit and claim a win to close out the non-conference portion of the schedule.
COLUMBIA AGAINST THE SOUTHERN CONFERENCE
Columbia is 4-8 all-time against teams currently in the SoCon. This will be the second meeting with a team in the league for the Lions after facing Furman in their season opener on Nov. 10.
ONE TO “WATCH”
The honors continue to pour in for Brian Barbour, who was selected as one of 80 players on the 2013 Bob Cousy Award watch list on Dec. 20. The Cousy Award goes to the nation’s top point guard. The list will be trimmed to 20 candidates in early January.
Senior Brian Barbour became just the 25th player in Columbia history to eclipse 1,000 career points in the first half of the Lions’ win at American on Dec. 9. He is the first player to join the prestigious club since Noruwa Agho accomplished the feat during the 2010-11 season.
NOT BAD FOR A ROOKIE, EH?
First-year Grant Mullins earned Ivy League Rookie of the Week for the second time this season after his career-high 20-point effort at American on Dec. 10. Mullins first accolade came on Nov. 26 after averaging 14 points in three games and shooting a scorching 11-for-19 (57.8%) from beyond the arc.
LAW OF AVERAGES
The Lions started their game at American 0-for-15 from the field and did not get their first bucket until 10:42 remaining in the first half. Stout defense kept Columbia in the game, and eventually shots began to fall. The Lions knocked down 17 of their last 34 attempts to earn the comeback win.
HANDLE WITH CARE
Columbia has become one of nation’s best in taking care of the ball. The Lions 10.4 turnovers per game is the 10th fewest in the NCAA.
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARDS
Senior Mark Cisco became Columbia’s all-time leader in offensive rebounds after grabbing four against Bucknell on Dec. 1. Cisco, who now has 195 offensive boards, passed the mark of 189 previously held by John Baumann (‘08CC).
BALL DON’T LIE
Columbia went a perfect 15-for-15 from the free-throw line against Bucknell on Dec. 1. It was the first time a Lions team has gone perfect from the line while shooting 10 or more foul shots in a game since Columbia was 13-for-13 against Princeton on Feb. 5, 1994. In addition, Columbia is converting at a .751 rate from the line this season to lead the Ivy League.
ON THE MARK
Against some formidable competition, senior Mark Cisco has posted his best two games of the season against LIU and Bucknell. Against the reigning NEC Player of the Year Julian Boyd, Cisco poured in 18 points, tying a career-high, with 13 rebounds for Columbia’s first double-double of the season and the sixth of his career. Cisco racked up 10 points and seven boards against the Bison’s standout big-man Mike Muscala.