After Five-Game Road Stretch, Columbia Back at Levien Gymnasium for Princeton, Penn
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Gene Boyars

NEW YORK – After five road games over the last three weekends, Columbia is back at Levien Gymnasium this weekend to square off with first-place Princeton on Friday, February 11 at 7 p.m.  The Lions will then face Penn, which enters the weekend at 3-2 in the Ivy League.

Columbia stands at 3-3 in the Ivy League after playing five of its first six league games on the road.  The Lions will play six of their next eight games at Levien Gymnasium, where they sport a 7-1 record this season and have won 10 of their last 13 games overall.

Princeton is atop the Ivy League with a 5-0 record after plowing through a grueling schedule of three games in five days against Harvard, Dartmouth and Penn, all at home.  The Tigers defeated the Quakers 62-59 in overtime on Tuesday to remain atop the Ivy standings.

Meanwhile, Penn had won its first three league games before dropping a pair of games that needed overtime to decide.  Penn lost a double-overtime thriller at the Palestra to Harvard, 83-82, then fell to the Tigers in New Jersey on Tuesday night.  Still, the Quakers are 3-2 in Ivy play entering the weekend, a half game ahead of Columbia at 3-3.

Tickets for the game are available online, by calling 888-LIONS-11 or at the Dodge Fitness Center ticket office on game day. All Columbia undergraduate and graduate students are admitted free to Levien Gymnasium with Columbia ID.

Fans who can't make it to Levien Gym can catch all the action live on with Jerry Recco and Dalen Cuff '06 providing the call.  Friday's game can also be heard live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio Channel 130.  Fans can follow Dalen on Twitter @DCuff21 throughout the games and during the weekend.

Live stats and game notes are also available.

Columbia has scored 70 or more points 12 times this season, averaging 73.2 points per game, tops in the Ivy League. In those games that Columbia has scored 70 points or more, the Lions are 9-3. When Columbia allows fewer than 70 points, the Lions are 5-0.
Columbia has won seven of its first eight home games this season and 10 of its last 13 at Levien Gymnasium. Columbia sports a record of 210-188 all-time at Levien Gymnasium and has posted winning records at home in each of the last seven seasons, including the 2010-11 campaign. The Lions will play their next four games at Levien Gym.

In the latest NCAA rankings, Columbia is represented several times among the top 100 in the nation, out of the 336 Division I teams ranked. Stats are through Feb. 6.

Category Rank    Actual
Scoring Offense   80th   73.3
Free Throw Percentage   74th 72.5
Rebound Margin 43rd +5.0

Category   Player   Rank   Actual
Free Throw Percentage    Brian Barbour    8th 91.5
Assists Per Game Noruwa Agho 82nd 4.5

Friday’s contest is the 224th game between Columbia and Princeton, marking the Lions’ most-played series with any opponent. Princeton swept the season series with Columbia in 2009-10, but over the previous four seasons, the teams had split the season series with each team winning on its home court. Columbia last defeated Princeton at Levien Gym on March 6, 2009 by a score of 58-44.

Columbia has won three of the last four against Penn in a series that has seen a number of exciting finishes over the last two years. Last season, the Lions pulled out a 56-55 victory at Levien Gym while a blizzard blanketed New York City outside. In the previous game at Levien Gym, Penn came away with a 51-50 victory on a buzzer-beating three-pointer in Columbia’s 2008-09 season finale.

This weekend marks the annual alumni weekend for the Columbia men’s basketball program. Many alumni and friends are expected to be in attendance this weekend. Aside from the games vs. Princeton and Penn, the highlight of the weekend is typically the annual alumni game. Last year, the Oldies beat the Aged, 60-51.

Columbia junior guard Noruwa Agho enters this weekend as the Ivy League’s leading scorer at 15.8 points per game, is fifth in assists at 4.5 per game and 11th in rebounding at 5.1 per game. Agho recently topped the 1,000 point mark for his career and currently ranks 20th on Columbia’s all-time scoring list with 1,024 career points. He has been named Ivy League Player of the Week three times already this season after earning the award three times during the 2009-10 season.

Sophomore guard Brian Barbour has emerged as one of the Ivy League’s top point guards in his first full season as a starter for the Lions. In Columbia’s six Ivy League games, Barbour is averaging 17.3 points per game, which is tied for third in the league along with Harvard’s Keith Wright. Barbour also has made 95 percent from the free throw line during Ivy League play.

Columbia holds a +5.0 margin in rebounding, averaging 37.0 rebounds per game to 32.0 rebounds per game for its opponents. Columbia has outrebounded its opponent 14 times in 20 games this season and outrebounded Yale 33-30 in its last time out on February 5.

Sophomore center Mark Cisco has come on strong recently after he was inserted into the starting lineup prior to Columbia’s game at Maine. Cisco is shooting 63.2 percent from the field, which is tops in the Ivy League. The 6-9 big man recently scored a career-high 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds on Feb. 5 at Yale, primarily playing against Yale’s stellar junior center Greg Mangano. Cisco also added three blocked shots in that game and ranks among the Ivy League’s top 10 in blocks.

Columbia rookie guard Steve Frankoski has scored in double figures nine times this season and leads the team with 39 three-point field goals. In the win at Dartmouth on January 29, Frankoski had a strong game with 13 points on three three-pointers and a number of moves to the basket. He also added four rebounds, a blocked shot and two steals in a strong all-around game.

Senior forward Asenso Ampim had a strong weekend on the road at Brown and Yale, averaging 17.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in the two games. Ampim finished with a career-best 19 points in the Feb. 4 game at Brown and followed that up with his first double-double of the season and third of his career – 16 points and 10 rebounds – at Yale on Feb. 5.

Sophomore forward John Daniels has also come on strong in recent weeks. In Columbia’s 66-45 win at Dartmouth, Daniels had one of his best games of the season with seven points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Against Brown on Feb. 4, Daniels notched a season high with nine points in just 18 minutes.

First-year guard Meiko Lyles stepped into action at Cornell on January 22 in just his second collegiate game and played a huge role in the win, scoring 10 points in 16 minutes off the bench. Lyles followed that by scoring 14 points, a season high for the rookie, at Brown on Feb. 4.

Columbia will be featured four times on the 14-game Ivy League Game of the Week schedule that will run each weekend through March. All games will air on SIRIUS Channel 130. Columbia’s game against Princeton on Friday and the Lions’ Feb. 19 home game vs. Harvard are part of the SIRIUS package.

When Columbia has held opponents to fewer than 69 points, the Lions have a 5-0 record.

When opponents score 31 or fewer points in the first half, Columbia holds a 10-1 record. The Lions have led 12 times at halftime this season.