Game #8-795: Princeton Tigers at Columbia LionsJanuary 14, 2012 7:00 pm
Columbia came into the opening Ivy League weekend full of promise. The Lions looked like a strong defensive team as they worked their way to a solid 11-5 record in non-conference play. Kyle Smith's team also had a nice advantage too, a home set to start the 14-game tournament against two teams they'd have to be competitive with in order to move into the middle tier of the league, Penn and Princeton.
Friday night came and the gym was packed for the Quakers' appearance. The Lions battled hard, but Zack Rosen's play making down the stretch proved to be too much for the Lions to handle. The Penn senior made the key plays in the final moments and the Quakers pulled out a 66-64 victory.
Luckily Columbia had another chance just 24 hours later. Princeton would be in town. This was a big game. The Tigers also lost in their opener the night before, to Cornell. Then Princeton had to get on a bus and drive the four hours down I-81 and I-80 to New York City. It's the longest back-to-back swing in the league. Both teams were going to have some tired legs.
"We're going to stay right here and review them," said Lions' point guard Brian Barbour on Friday night. "There's no rest for the weary. You just have to get right back at it."
It played out that way too. The shooters didn't seem to be affected, but it was a slow-down drag out type of game. But with 11 minutes remaining the Lions pulled out to their largest lead of the game, 41-35 on a three by Barbour (who was on his way to his second 25-point performance in as many nights). Then at that moment Columbia seemed to hit a wall. The Lions went the next 10 minutes without scoring from the field.
By the time Columbia had recovered, the Lions were down 54-46 with 1:24 to play. They'd been here before. The night before against Penn a frantic rally had fallen just short. Maybe this time the Lions could use the lessons they'd learned?
It started out looking good. Columbia drew within two points multiple times down the stretch, but once again they couldn't get over the hump. Princeton knocked down its free throws and finished off the win.
It was a golden opportunity missed. There were multiple moments down the stretch where the Lions could've made the play that would've changed the outcome of the game. It would go on to be a theme throughout the Ivy season for Columbia. The Lions ended up being just a play short in seven of their 10 Ivy League losses, which came by five points or fewer or in overtime. Columbia took the Ivy's best teams to the wire, but never could get over the hump.
Part of it was that Barbour can't do everything. Princeton did a good job taking him away during parts of the second half, especially during the big drought.
"They tried to ice me out a bit," Barbour said after the game. "I thought they did a good job with it. I've got a lot of confidence in Meiko [Lyles] and [Alex] Rosenberg to take that responsibility and make some plays on drives and stuff."
Lyles struggled in both games, but he'd turn things around by the end of the season. Also, Mark Cisco emerged as a consistent force in the paint. All the knocks Columbia suffered this season should only make them stronger. Smith's team is going to be picked in the top half of the league next season, and deservedly so. They just can't let close ones, like those first two Ivy nights at Levien, get away.
|PRINCETON 62, at COLUMBIA 58|
PRINCETON 10-8 (1-1) -- T. Bray 3-5 4-5 12; D. Davis 3-7 3-6 10; I. Hummer 3-10 5-6 11; P. Saunders 2-3 1-2 7; M. Darrow 3-5 2-2 10; J. Sherburne 2-4 2-2 6; B. Hazel 1-3 0-0 2; B. Connolly 1-4 2-2 4; D. Koon 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 18-43 19-25 62.
COLUMBIA 11-7 (0-2) -- B. Barbour 7-11 9-11 25; M. Cisco 4-6 4-4 12; M. Lyles 1-9 2-4 4; A. Rosenberg 4-7 1-1 10; S. Egee 1-6 3-3 5; B. Staab 0-2 0-0 0; J. Daniels 1-5 0-0 2; C. Osetkowski 0-0 0-0 0; N. Springwater 0-0 0-0 0; C. Crockett 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-46 19-23 58.
Three-point goals: PRIN 7-14 (P. Saunders 2-2; D. Davis 1-2; J. Sherburne 0-2; I. Hummer 0-2; M. Darrow 2-3; T. Bray 2-2; B. Hazel 0-1), COLU 3-11 (S. Egee 0-3; B. Barbour 2-4; M. Lyles 0-2; A. Rosenberg 1-2); Rebounds: PRIN 21 (I. Hummer 6), COLU 35 (M. Cisco 10); Assists: PRIN 10 (T. Bray 5), COLU 7 (A. Rosenberg 2); Total Fouls -- PRIN 20, COLU 21; Fouled Out: PRIN-None; COLU-A. Rosenberg.
© 2004-2014 The Mid-Majority. All content is the property of its authors.