Princeton Hangs On to Top Men's Basketball, 72-66
PRINCETON, N.J. - The Columbia men's basketball team dropped another heartbreaker, 72-66, at Princeton on Saturday. First-year Maodo Lo scored a career-high 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting to lead the Lions (9-9, 1-3).
Columbia's front-court of Mark Cisco and Cory Osetkowski had solid games. Cisco dropped in 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting and Osetkowski scored seven points and pulled down five boards in 18 minutes of action.
The Tigers (10-7, 3-0) shot lights out to start the game, burying their first six shots from downtown to jump out to a 27-13 lead with 9:28 remaining in the first half. Columbia began to chip away, scoring five-straight to pull within five off a nice drive by Isaac Cohen at the 6:01 mark.
A triple by Mullins brought the Lions within one with 2:54 to go before Brase Hans canned another trey, to make them 7-for-7 in the frame, on the other end of the floor to extend the margin back up to four points. However, Columbia refused to go away quietly.
Lo gave the Lions their first lead of the evening, 36-35, with a 3-pointer from the left wing as the shot clock expired and with 40 seconds on the clock. Denton Koon finished the period with a Princeton patented back-door layup to give Princeton the slim cushion back at the half.
Columbia drew even twice within the first three minutes of the second half, but the Tigers had an answer each time.
Ian Hummer came up with a block and found a streaking Denton Koon for a fast-break dunk to bring Princeton's lead to 46-41 with 14:37 to go in regulation. Koon pushed the margin to six just under two minutes later before six unanswered points from Lo, all off of dribble penetration, made it 50-all with 9:35 left.
After trading buckets the next two trips down the floor, Brendan Connolly converted a reverse layup to put the Tigers on top, 54-42. The Lions' deficit grew to five before an Alex Rosenberg jumper brought them within 61-59, but T.J. Bray drilled a dagger three on the ensuing possession with 2:55 on the clock.
Columbia trimmed the Princeton advantage to three once more with nine seconds, but the Tigers sank four free-throws to close out the game.
Hummer finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Bray was 3-for-3 from beyond the arc and posted 17 points for the game.
Princeton shot 51.1 percent from the field, and went 8-for-11 from 3-point range. The Lions shot at a 46.4 percent rate and committed a season-low three turnovers.
The Lions return to Levien Gymnasium next weekend to host Dartmouth on Friday, Feb. 8 and Harvard on Saturday, Feb. 9. Both games are slated to begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by clicking here or calling the Lions' ticket office at (888) LIONS-11.