The Columbia men's basketball team will look for its third win in a row when they head to West Point, N.Y. to take on Army on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 3:00 p.m.
Columbia held off a pesky Colgate squad, 66-59, on Wednesday night to kick off 2013. The Lions used a 15-4 run to open up an 11-point advantage midway through the first half, but the Raiders picked up the intensity to pull within three at the break. Colgate continued to surge in the second half, leading by as many as six points. However, timely shooting and strong defensive play helped Columbia bounce back and earn the win.
BLACK KNIGHTS’ STATUS
Army is coming off a 1-1 Texas road-trip where they fell to Texas A&M, 61-55, before knocking off Houston Baptist, 95-86 on New Year’s Eve. After a modest first half offensively, the Black Knights and HBU combined for 110 points in the second. Army trailed by as many as 12 points, but Ella Ellis’ 26 points carried his team to victory. The Black Knights shot 61.5 percent in the second half and held a 41-30 edge on the glass.
HISTORY NOTES - ARMY
This will mark the 56th meeting all-time between the two schools and the first since the 2004-05 season. Columbia has faced Army more than any other school currently in the Patriot League. The last time the teams met, the Lions had four players in double-figures, led by 13 from Gerard Barrett, in a convincing win at Christl Arena. Columbia forced 12 first half turnovers to take a 34-30 lead into the locker room and shot 55.6 percent from the field in the second half to cruise to the victory.
COLUMBIA AGAINST THE PATRIOT LEAGUE
Columbia has a rich history of playing Patriot League teams. Against teams currently in the conference, Columbia boasts a 106-92 overall record. The Lions have already faced Bucknell, American and Colgate, and will finish up non-conference play with another road contest at Holy Cross.
FIRST THREE SEASONS OF THE SMITH ERA
Over the last two-plus seasons with Kyle Smith as the Lions’ head coach, Columbia has won 37 games. That is the largest total since Lou Rossini (1950-58) won 56 games in his first three seasons on the bench.
FRANKIE SAYS RELAX
Steve Frankoski has found the range, scoring in double-figures in each of the last three games. He has knocked down 15-of-25 (60 percent) of his attempts from downtown during that span.
TIS THE SEASON
Senior Brian Barbour has been in the holiday spirit in his last three games. On Dec. 22 vs. Elon, Barbour handed out a career-high 12 assists, and has back-to-back games of six assists. The Alamo, Calif., product is second in the league, averaging 5.3 dimes per game. He now has 301 career assists, to tie him for sixth on the all-time list and is the first Columbia player to record 1,000 career points and 300 assists.
Sophomore Noah Springwater has come off the bench in the second half of the last two games, and provided a defensive lift in key spots. His strong on-ball defense has helped weather late runs by opponents. In addition, he is a perfect 3-for-3 from three-point range during the stretch.
SKY IS THE LIMIT
Sophomore forward Skylar Scrivano made his collegiate debut against Manhattan on Dec. 29 after missing all of last year and the first 10 games this season due to injuries. Scrivano provided strong defense in his 13 minutes of action and a ferocious dunk.
YOU CAN CALL ME AL
Sophomore Alex Rosenberg continued his steady play after posting 12 points, nine rebounds and a career-high four steals against Manhattan on Dec. 29. He is averaging 10.5 points and 4.8 boards per game. The Lions are also 5-1 when Rosenberg scores in double-figures this season.
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.