ITHACA, N.Y. – A stingy defensive effort in the second half lifted the Columbia men’s basketball team to its sixth straight win, a 74-58 triumph at Cornell on Saturday. The Lions (13-6, 2-0) held the Big Red (1-15, 0-2) to 29.6 percent shooting (8-of-27) and forced eight turnovers in the final 20 minutes to erase a three-point halftime deficit.
Cory Osetkowski had a monster game, setting career-highs with 19 points (on 8-of-11 shooting from the floor) and five blocks and narrowly missed a double-double with a team-high nine rebounds. Maodo Lo scored a game-high 20 points, converting on 8-of-12 attempts from the floor.
The Big Red’s pressure forced a myriad of turnovers which led to a 10-4 run, giving Cornell a 15-10 lead with 12:03 left in the first half. Strong shooting kept the Big Red in front, 24-18, at the 7:49 marker before Columbia made its move.
Alex Rosenberg keyed a 7-0 spurt with five points (and an assist) to put Columbia on top briefly with 5:12 left, but Ned Tomic answered with a trey on the next possession to put Cornell back in control and the Big Red took a 35-32 edge into the break.
Columbia started the second half with a 9-2 run to jump ahead, 41-37, capped by a Lo triple with 15:50 to go. Just as it looked like the Lions would put the Big Red away, Cornell strung together eight in a row to regain the lead, 51-49, after a Dwight Tarwater 3-pointer from the top of the key at the midway point of the half.
Lo tied the game with a backdoor layup just over a minute later to spark an 8-0 spurt, helping the Lions leap frog Cornell for the final time. After a Nolan Cressler jumper with 6:10 on the clock, Columbia’s held the Big Red without a basket for the next 5:10 to put the game out of reach.
The Lions shot 50 percent from the game, but were limited to 2-of-9 from beyond the arc. However, Columbia got to the line 30 times, and converted at an 86.7 percent rate.
Rosenberg finished with 17 points, knocking down 11-of-12 from the charity stripe and dished out five assists. Isaac Cohen held Cressler, Cornell’s leading scorer, to just six points and 3-of-11 shooting while contributing six rebounds and three assists.
The Lions will remain on the road next weekend to square off against Yale on Friday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. and Brown on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. Both games can been viewed on the Ivy League Digital Network.