NEW YORK - The Columbia men's basketball team will play its final two home games at Levien Gymnasium this weekend. The Lions will host Yale on Friday, March 1 before taking on Brown on Saturday, March 2. Tip-off for both contests are set for 7 p.m.
Prior to the start of the Brown game, Columbia will honor seniors Brian Barbour, Mark Cisco, John Daniels and Dean Kowalski as they take the hardwood for the last time at Morningside Heights.
In addition, Columbia will welcome back numerous former Lions’ men’s basketball greats to Levien Gym for alumni weekend. There will be several events throughout the two days, highlighted by the annual alumni game on Saturday afternoon.
After dropping its third-straight game against Princeton, Columbia bounced back with a strong effort to top Penn, 58-41, last Saturday. The Lions built up a 10-point halftime advantage, but struggled to convert in the second half, hitting just 2-of-20 from the floor. However, the Quakers only posted four field goals in the final frame and Columbia remained aggressive and maintained the lead by sinking 19 free-throws to end its slide. First-year Grant Mullins led the way with 18 points and added three steals.
Yale earned a split last weekend, topping Dartmouth by 11 on Friday before coming up short to Harvard, 72-66, on Saturday. The Bulldogs’ bench played a key role in the win over the Big Green, netting 46 of their 78 points on the night. Against the Crimson, Yale made a second half run to take a five-point lead, but Harvard tied the score midway through and never relinquished it. The Bulldogs have been on fire of late, knocking down 52.2 percent of their field goal tries in their last five contests.
Brown fared the same fate as Yale last weekend, beating Dartmouth and falling to first-place Harvard. The trio of Tucker Halpen, Matt Sullivan and Sean McGonagill combined for 41 of the Bears 59 points, while Rafael Maia grabbed 13 rebounds in their victory over the Big Green. Brown led wire-to-wire and built a 16-point edge in the first half to claim the win.
LIONS OVERCOME POOR SHOOTING NIGHT VS. PENN
The Lions topped Penn on Feb. 23 by 17 points despite not scoring a field goal for the final 15:18 of the contest. Columbia was just 2-for-20 in the second half, but the Quakers shot just 4-for-24 and were unable to make a rally. Penn shot 29.2 percent for the game, marking the first time Columbia held a team to under 30 percent shooting since January of 2009 against NJIT (29.9 percent).
It may not have shown on the stat-sheet, but senior John Daniels hustle and defensive effort paid huge dividends in the Lions’ win over Penn on Feb. 23. In the first half, Daniels dove over a table at press row to keep the ball in bounds, leading to a key three in a tight game at the time. A few minutes later, he came up with a huge rejection to bring the 2,000+ fans in Levien Gym to their feet.
First-year Maodo Lo scored 15 points to lead all Columbia players on Feb. 22 against Princeton. This marked his second strong performance against the Tigers as Lo scored a career-high 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting in Jadwin Gym on Feb. 2. Lo has started the last 15 games for the Lions and scored in double-figures five times during that stretch.
FRANKIE SAYS RELAX
Sophomore Steve Frankoski averaged 21.0 points over three games between Feb. 10-16, converting on 13-of-20 (65 percent) of his 3-point tries. He poured in a career-high 27 points, including 20 in the first half alone, in the Lions convincing win over Harvard on Feb. 10. It was the first time a Columbia player scored 25+ points since Meiko Lyles against Fairleigh Dickinson last season. He comes into this weekend ranked third in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage at a 46.8 percent clip.
GOOD MORNING, GIL
First-year Brad Gilson came off the bench and scored the first 11 points of his collegiate career at Yale on Feb. 16. Gilson knocked down 3-of-5 of his attempts from 3-point range and pulled down a pair of rebounds while logging a career-high 13 minutes.
On Feb. 10, Columbia snapped a seven-game losing streak to Harvard, dating back to Feb. 14, 2009, after a 78-63 romp of the first-place Crimson. It was also the Lions largest margin of victory over Harvard since Feb. 2, 2007, when Columbia claimed a 90-70 win on the road.
HANDLE WITH CARE
Columbia has done a tremendous job taking care of the ball this season, averaging 11.0 turnovers per game, which is the 18th fewest in the nation. Additionally, Brian Barbour ranks eighth in the NCAA, holding a 3.03:1 ratio.