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Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Mike McLaughlin

Men's Basketball Wraps Up Regular Season at Home Against Penn, Princeton

Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics
          Release: 03/05/2014
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COLUMBIA (18-11, 7-5) VS. PENN (7-18, 4-7)
PRESENTED BY OTIS ELEVATOR
FRIDAY, MARCH 7 • 7 P.M
LEVIEN GYMNASIUM • NEW YORK

 

COLUMBIA VS. PRINCETON (17-8, 5-6)
SATURDAY, MARCH 8 • 7 P.M
LEVIEN GYMNASIUM • NEW YORK

 

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GAME NOTES

COLUMBIA’S STATUS
The Lions split their final road weekend, topping Dartmouth, 84-72, on Friday before running into a buzzsaw at Harvard the next night. Alex Rosenberg set a school and tied an Ivy League record converting on 17-of-17 free throw attempts en route to 31 points against the Big Green to complete the season sweep. The Crimson raced out to a 17-2 lead on Saturday and never looked back as they clinched at least a share of their fourth straight Ancient Eight title.

PENN’S STATUS
The Quakers fell to Brown and Yale last weekend and have lost five of six since their Feb. 8 win against the Lions. Penn dug themselves into an early hole against the Bears, and despite several comeback bids, Brown held on for a 76-67 win. The next night, the Quakers raced out to a quick lead only to see it evaporate after a 9-0 run by the Bulldogs late in the first half. The contest remained close for the rest of the way, but Yale never relinquished the lead and won 70-63 to keep its hopes for a share of the Ivy League crown alive.

PRINCETON’S STATUS
The Tigers knocked off Yale and Brown in their final home weekend and are 5-2 since the last time the team’s met. A 10-0 run for Princeton near the midway point of the second half broke a 36-36 tie to guide them to a 57-46 win over the Elis. The Bears erased a 15-point deficit to take a brief lead, but a T.J. Bray trey quickly put the score back in favor of Princeton and they took a 69-64 win.

ABOUT THE MATCHUPS
The Lions will face the Quakers for the 225th time on Friday night. Penn holds the advantage in the series with a 138-86 record all-time. Columbia will be in search of its first season sweep of Princeton since 1993 on Saturday in the 231st meeting between the clubs.

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’ 18 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 has a four-game Ivy League winning streak for the first time since the 2007-08 season. Two weeks ago with victories over Brown and Yale, Columbia marked its first Ivy League weekend sweep since February 2009 when they topped Dartmouth and Harvard at home. With one win this weekend, the Lions will take aim at securing its first plus-.500 record in conference play since the 1992-93 campaign.

THE LIONS’ DEN
Through 14 games, Levien Gym has been an intimidating place to play for opposing teams. Columbia has posted a 12-2 mark on its home floor and has won those games by an average margin of 16.8 points (nine by double figures) and its two losses have come by a combined five points (70-71 vs. Manhattan - 84-88 vs. Harvard - 2OT). The 12 wins at home matches the most since 1949-50. The Lions have not won 13 home games since 1950-51 when they set the benchmark for most wins in Morningside Heights with 16.

ROSENBERG NEARING MILESTONE
Junior Alex Rosenberg now has 948 points for his career and is 52 shy of becoming the 26th player in program history to join the 1,000-point club.

“THREE-KO” LYLES
Junior Meiko Lyles made his first start of the season count, netting 21 points on 5-of-5 shooting from downtown to help Columbia edge Brown, 70-68, on Feb. 21. Despite shattering his previous season-high of 11 points the outburst should come as no surprise. Lyles had three previous 20-point games coming into the season and ranks as the third best 3-point shooter in program history, converting at a 41.7 percent rate.

THE FANTASTIC FOUR
The quartet of Maodo Lo, Grant Mullins, Alex Rosenberg and Meiko Lyles have accomplished something that has not been done at Columbia since the 1969-70 season. The Lions have now had two 20-point scorers in five games this season. Lo and Rosenberg each hit the 20-point mark against St. Francis, Stony Brook and Harvard, while Lo and Mullins accomplished the feat against Central Penn. Most recently against Brown on Feb. 21, Rosenberg posted 23 points to go with 21 from Lyles, who was making his first start of the season.

BALL DON’T LIE
On the heels of setting a single-season program record for free throw percentage (.745) in 2012-13, Columbia has shot even better from the charity stripe this season. They Lions are currently seventh in the nation and lead the Ancient Eight, converting at a .772 clip.
• Sophomore Grant Mullins leads the squad and the conference, and he checks in at No. 9 in the NCAA, knocking down 89.9 percent of his attempts. Mullins has a two-year percentage of 88.7 (126-142) and ranks fourth on the Ivy League career list.
• Maodo Lo is second in the Ivy League, converting at an 84.3 percent rate, while Alex Rosenberg is shooting 82.1 percent from the charity stripe to check in fourth in the conference.

REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOMEONE
The Lions’ 3-point shooting has been a strength all season long as they have set a new program record with 228 treys, shattering the old mark of 218 set in 1996-97. Columbia is averaging 7.9 triples per game, which puts them 40th in the NCAA in that category.
 
FRANKIE SAYS RELAX
With the loss of Grant Mullins to injury, the Lions had the luxury of turning to veteran guard Steve  Frankoski to step up. Frankoski, who played limited minutes after coming back from an off-season wrist injury, erupted for 17 points in Columbia’s win against Yale on Feb. 23 and added 14 more at Dartmouth on Feb. 28.

JAZZY JEFF
First-year forward Jeff Coby has earned his way into the rotation and provided solid energy off the bench in the last eight games. During that stretch, he has been averaging 4.4 points, 4.3 rebounds in just 14.8 minutes. Coby is coming off a career-high 11-point performance at Harvard on Mar. 1. The Pembroke Pines, Fla., native was also a key factor in the Lions sweep of Brown and Yale on Feb. 21 & 23, holding the Bears Cedric Kuakumensah to 1-of-5 shooting in the second half, to go with a personal-best nine boards, and the Bulldogs Justin Sears to 3-of-8 shooting from the floor.

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