Columbia (10-11) at Yale (9-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 16, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: John J. Lee Amphitheater (2,532) -- New York, New York. Television: ESPN. Home Record: Columbia 4-5, Yale 4-3. Away Record: Columbia 5-6, Yale 4-10. Neutral Record: Columbia 0-1, Yale 1-2. Conference Record: Columbia 2-5, Yale 3-4. Series Record: Columbia leads, 122-99.
GAMES NOTES: On Saturday night the Columbia Lions will play the second half of a short road trip against the Yale Bulldogs in an Ivy League battle at John J. Lee Amphitheater.
The first contest of the two-game trip for Columbia ended in heartbreaking fashion as the Lions crumbled in a 58-55 loss to Brown. The setback, which was the fifth in the last four games for the Lions, dropped them back below .500 overall (10-11) and to 2-5 in Ivy League action. Columbia begins a season-long four-game homestand next time out against Princeton.
After having won back-to-back games for the first time this season, Yale kicked off its own four-game homestand with a 68-61 disappointment against Cornell on Friday night. The Bulldogs are now 9-15 overall on the campaign while posting a 3-4 mark in conference play. Yale is a mediocre 4-3 at home this season where it continues against Dartmouth and Harvard in its next two bouts.
As with many of the rivalries in the Ivy League, these teams have quite a history. They have met a total of 221 times previously with Columbia owning the edge in the all-time series (122-99). However Yale has won seven straight against the Lions, including a series sweep last season.
Heading into the break against Brown, Columbia looked to be in control as it led 31-20. The tables turned after the break as the Columbia allowed the Bears to shoot 61.1 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes. Columbia did not give up the lead until there were just 10 seconds remaining when Matt Sullivan nailed a 3-pointer. John Daniels then missed a layup that would have put the Lions back on top in the waning seconds.
The Lions were without lead scorer Brian Barbour (13.0 ppg, 4.8 apg) and Grant Mullins (9.9 ppg) in the loss to Brown. Barbour was a late scratch and his status remains up in the air for Saturday's contest, while Mullins is still listed as questionable with a sprained ankle. Without Barbour, Steve Frankoski (10.3 ppg) is the top scoring option, a responsibility he has taken on with great success after having scored at least 20 points in back-to-back games. Alex Rosenberg (10.0 ppg) is another player that has double-figure scoring ability but by shooting just 37.5 percent from the floor hasn't been consistent enough.
Yale's loss to Cornell was a bit more cut and dry. The Bulldogs shot a superior 46.7 percent from the floor in comparison to the Big Red (.451) but they had two fewer field goals, turned the ball over 16 times and hit just 12- of-26 shots from the free-throw line.
Justin Sears (10.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg) made yet another push for the starting lineup, where he has been in 15 games this season, by scoring a team-high 13 points against Cornell. The 6-foot-8 forward is also the leading rebounder on a team that features just two players bringing in more than four boards a contest. Furthermore Sears has scored in double figures in three of his last four games. Austin Morgan (11.5 ppg) is the leading scorer on the roster but is a rather one-dimensional player as he relies heavily on his shot from 3- point range. Morgan has scored in double figures in only three of the last 11 games. Javier Duren (7.2 ppg) is the only other player on the team putting in more than seven points on a nightly basis.
If Barbour and Mullins are out, Columbia is a severely weakened team. If Sears can grab a few more minutes and Morgan can improve on his shooting, the Bulldogs will be able to win on Saturday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Yale 63, Columbia 60
02/16 10:31:33 ET