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Courtesy: Rey Del Rio

Men's Basketball Squares Off at Valparaiso to Open CIT Tuesday

Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics
          Release: 03/17/2014
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COMPLETE GAME NOTES (.pdf)

COLUMBIA (19-12) AT VALPARAISO (18-15)
TUESDAY, MARCH 18 • 8 P.M
THE ARC • VALPARAISO, IND.

GAME VITALS

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Lance Medow - Play-by-Play
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GAME NOTES

COLUMBIA’S STATUS
The Lions will make their first postseason appearance since 1968 and the program’s first non-NCAA tournament bid. Columbia split its final regular season weekend, topping Penn, 74-55, on Mar. 7 before falling to Princeton, 74-64, on Mar. 8. The Lions led nearly wire-to-wire in their win over the Quakers, using 44 percent shooting from downtown and a 38-27 edge on the boards to secure a winning Ivy League season. The next night, the Tigers broke away from Columbia with a 9-0 run midway through the first half and had an answer each time the Lions tried to rally, giving the Lions just their third home loss of the season.

VALPARAISO’S STATUS
The Crusaders last played on Mar. 7, losing to Green Bay, 74-57, in the second round of the Horizon League Tournament. Valparaiso starts three first-years, but has plenty of experience with senior leading scorer LaVonte Dority and two fifth-year seniors in the frontcourt, Bobby Capobianco and Moussa Gueye. Former Valpo standout Bryce Drew goes deep into his bench with 10 players averaging 12-plus minutes per night. The Crusaders have lost four of their last six games, but are 12-5 at home this season. Valpo is making its fourth consecutive postseason appearance (2011 - CIT, 2012 - NIT, 2013 - NCAA).

ABOUT THE CIT
This is the sixth year of existence for the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, which started in 2009. The tournament features a 32-team field, oriented towards mid-major institutions. The tournament does not feature a traditional bracket, instead determining future matchups by the results of previous rounds. All games are held on campus sites. Five different teams have won the first five CITs, including East Carolina in 2013.

ABOUT THE MATCHUP
The Lions will face the Crusaders for just the third time in program history. Columbia won the first meeting, 66-64, in Morningside Heights during the 1957-58 season and fell 71-55 on Dec. 21, 2001 in Laie, Hawaii for the Yahoo! Sports Invitational.

LIONS VS. THE HORIZON LEAGUE
Against teams currently in the Horizon League, Columbia is 2-3. The Lions hold 1-1 records against both Valparaiso and Detroit and are 0-1 vs. Youngstown State. The Lions’ meeting with the Crusaders in 2001 was the last time they faced a team from the conference.

EXTENDING THE SEASON
Columbia is making its fourth postseason appearance and its first since 1968. This is the first non-NCAA Tournament the Lions are participating in. Columbia has gone to the “Big Dance” three times (1948, 1951, 1968).

ALL-IVY LEAGUE HONOREES
Alex Rosenberg and Maodo Lo became just the third Columbia duo to earn All-ivy League honors in the same season since the turn of the century after the conference announced its regular season awards on March 12. Rosenberg was named to the first team, becoming just the fifth Lion since 2000 to achieve that honor. Lo appeared on the Ancient Eight second team.

“MARCH” TO 1,000
Alex Rosenberg has put together one of the finest offensive seasons in school history and is now just 16 points shy of becoming the 26th player to reach the 1,000 point club. The All-Ivy League first teamer has scored in double-figures in 26 consecutive games, which matches Creighton’s All-American standout Doug McDermott streak.

THE GIVING TREE
Cory Osetkowski (affectionately known as “Tree” to teammates and coaches) finished the regular season with a pair of tremendous games. The co-captain scored 14 points, grabbed nine rebounds in a win over Penn on Mar. 7 and followed that performance by tying a career-high 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting against Princeton on Mar. 8. He ranks sixth on the career block list with 68 blocks, trailing former teammate Mark Cisco ‘13CC by four rejections for fifth. Osetkowski played arguably his finest game in blue and white at Cornell on Jan. 25, recording 19 points, nine boards and five blocks. The five rejections were the most for a Lion since Noruwa Agho turned away five shots against Lafayette in 2011.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING
This year’s Columbia team continues to leave its mark on the record book, accomplishing things the program has not done in years. This Lions’ 19 wins are the most for the school since the 1969-70 team went 20-5. With its win over Dartmouth on Feb. 28, the Lions had a four-game Ivy League winning streak for the first time since the 2007-08 season. With victories over Brown and Yale on Feb. 21 and 23, Columbia marked its first Ivy League weekend sweep since February 2009 when they topped Dartmouth and Harvard at home. After their win over Penn on Mar. 7, the Lions secured its first plus-.500 record in conference play since the 1992-93 campaign.

THE LIONS’ DEN
Through 16 games, Levien Gym has been an intimidating place to play for opposing teams. Columbia has posted a 13-3 mark on its home floor and has won those games by an average margin of 16.9 points (10 by double figures) and its three losses have come by a combined 15 points. The 13 wins are the most in the history of Levien Gymnasium, which opened its doors in 1974, The number aslo is the most home victories since 1950-51 when the Lions set the benchmark for most wins in Morningside Heights with 16.

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