NEW YORK - The Columbia men's basketball team will wrap up a four-game road swing at LIU Brooklyn on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 7:00 p.m. The game can seen NECFrontRow.com and heard on gocolumbialions.com. Fans can also listen to the audio stream on their mobile devices by downloading the official Columbia Athletics app.
Columbia split a pair of games at the Hilltop Challenge in San Francisco over the weekend. The Lions dispatched Wayland Baptist, 75-63, before falling to USF, 79-59. First-year Grant Mullins stepped into the starting lineup against the Pioneers on Friday night and has shined for the Lions, scoring 14 points in his last three games.
LIU is coming off a 105-74 loss to defending National Champions Kentucky on Nov. 23 to bring their record to 0-4. A 15-0 run by the Wildcats to close the first half effectively put the game out of reach for the Blackbirds. Seniors Julian Boyd and Jamal Olasewere each scored 22 points in the game. LIU has made back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances after winning the last two NEC Championships.
HISTORY NOTES - LIU BROOKLYN
This will mark the seventh meeting between the Lions and Blackbirds, dating back to 1990. Columbia has won four of the last five meetings between the squads, including a 63-53 win in Levien Gym last year. In that meeting, the Lions held LIU without a field goal for the final 8:59 of the first half to key a 12-1 run to propel Columbia to the win. The Blackbirds shot just 36.7 percent from the field and committed 23 turnovers.
COLUMBIA AGAINST THE NEC
Against teams currently in the Northeast Conference, Columbia boasts a 32-23 all-time record. The Lions most common opponent in the conference is St. Francis (N.Y.), who they have played 17 times and hold a 9-8 mark.
NOT BAD FOR A ROOKIE, EH?
First-year Grant Mullins earned Columbia’s first Ivy League Weekly honor of the year after being named the conference’s Rookie of the Week on Nov. 26. The Burlington, Ontario product scored 14 points in three games, and shot a scorching 11-for-19 (57.8%) from beyond the arc. In the Lions stunning win over Villanova, Mullins showed the poise of a seasoned veteran, knocking down four 3-pointers in the second half en route to scoring 14 points. Each of his treys seemed to come every time the Wildcats tried to make a run.
With 966 points coming into the LIU game, Brian Barbour is poised to become just the 25th player in Columbia history to eclipse 1,000 career points in the next several contests.
TAMING THE WILDCATS
Columbia’s win over Villanova was its first against a BIG EAST team since November 30, 1985, when the Lions topped Seton Hall on the road, 85-65. It also marked just the second victory over Villanova since a 76-64 road triumph on Dec. 29, 1969, at the Spectrum.
With wins at Furman and Villanova, Columbia won its first two road contests of a season for the first time since 2005-06. That season, the Lions started 3-0 away from Levien Gym, knocking off LIU, Stony Brook and Sacred Heart.
CLUTCH FOUL SHOOTING
In the second half of Columbia’s victory over Villanova on Nov. 20, the Lions knocked down their last 21 free-throw attempts, including 18 in the final three-plus minutes to ice the game. Brian Barbour was 12-for-12, while Alex Rosenberg knocked down 11-of-14 in the game.
YOU CAN CALL ME AL
Sophomore Alex Rosenberg poured in a career-high 21 points against Villanova and has been a steady player for Columbia all season. He is averaging 11.7 points and a team-high 5.3 boards per game. The Lions are also 4-0 when Rosenberg scores in double-figures this season.
Another glaring stat against the Wildcats were the Lions’ 12 steals. It marks the second time this season Columba has posted double-figure swipes. The Lions are averaging 9.3 steals per game this season, which ranks second in the Ivy League, and is up from the 6.1 swipes they averaged in 2011-12.
Through six games this season, the Lions’ bigger lineup and 2-3 zone defense has resulted in 3.8 blocks per game after averaging 2.3 in 2011-12. Sophomore Cory Osetkowski, senior Mark Cisco and first-year Zach En’Wezoh have combined for 19 of the team’s 21 rejections.