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COLUMBIA (12-6, 1-0) AT CORNELL (1-14, 0-1)
SATURDAY, JAN. 25 • NOON
NEWMAN ARENA • ITHACA, N.Y.
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Jerry Recco - Play-by-Play
The Lions remain unbeaten in 2014 after a 71-61 triumph over Cornell on Jan. 18. Columbia used a 16-4 run in the second half to go ahead by 18 points and held off a late Big Red rally to pick up a win in its Ivy League opener for the third consecutive year.
The Big Red are still in search of its first win over a Division I foe after falling to the Lions in Levien Gym last week. Cornell’s defense was stingy, holding Columbia to just 5-of-17 shooting from downtown and created eight first half turnovers, but could not overcome the large second half deficit.
ABOUT THE MATCHUP
Columbia and Cornell will square off for the 222nd time this weekend with the series dating all the way back to the 1902-03 season. The Lions hold a 123-98 record against the Big Red and have won five of the last seven meetings. Last season, the teams traded road victories to earn a split.
• Would move the Lions to 2-0 in Ivy League play for the first time since 2011 and just the second time since 2000.
• Be Columbia’s first Ancient Eight road win since last year’s win at Cornell.
• Improve the Lions to 20-38 in Ivy League road debuts.
COLUMBIA IN IVY LEAGUE OPENERS
The Lions improved to 27-31 all-time in Ivy League openers and are 3-1 under the direction of Kyle Smith. Columbia is also 33-25 in its home conference debuts and 17-10 when starting the 14-game tournament in Levien Gymnasium.
A FAMILIAR FACE
Cornell assistant coach Jon Jaques spent last season on the Columbia sidelines as a graduate manager before accepting his current position at his alma mater over the summer. Jaques was a member of three Ivy League Championship teams with the Big Red and emerged as a starter on the 2009-10 NCAA Tournament squad that made a run to the “Sweet 16.”
REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOMEONE
The Lions’ 3-point shooting has been a strength all season long as they are converting on 40.5 percent of their attempts from long-distance to lead the Ivy League and rank 18th in the nation. Additionally, Columbia is ranked 18th in the NCAA with 157 triples made. If the Lions continue their current pace (8.7 makes per game), the team will have 270 treys, shattering the single-season mark of 218 set in 1996-97.
BALL DON’T LIE
On the heels of setting a single-season program record for free throw percentage (.745) in 2012-13, Columbia has continued to shoot it well from the charity stripe this season. They currently lead the Ancient Eight converting at a .755 clip, putting them in the top-20 nationally.
THE LIONS’ DEN
Through 10 games, Levien Gymnasium has been an intimidating place to play for opposing teams. Columbia has posted a 9-1 mark on its home floor and has won those games by an average margin of 19.2 points (seven by double-figures).
THE DEFENSE NEVER RESTS
In the latest NCAA rankings that came out on Jan. 20, Columbia was ranked 23rd in the nation in scoring defense, limiting opponents to just 61.9. The Lions have also improved their field goal (2013-14 - .413/2012-13 - .435) and 3-point percentage defense (2013-14 - .328/2012-13 - .368) from a year ago.
THIS ONE GOES TO 11
The Lions’ 11 non-conference victories matches the highest total in program history, previously accomplished in 2011-12 when Columbia posted an 11-5 mark before the 14-game tournament also under the direction of Kyle Smith.
Columbia’s 18 made 3-pointers against Central Penn on Jan. 11 set a new single-game record, breaking the old mark of 16 set against Brown on Feb. 10, 2012 and fell just two shy of the Ivy League standard shared by Cornell (2010) and Princeton (2003).