Harvard (18-4) at Columbia (14-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, February 14, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Levien Gymnasium (3,408) -- New York, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Harvard 9-1, Columbia 9-1. Away Record: Harvard 5-3, Columbia 3-7. Neutral Record: Harvard 4-0, Columbia 2-1. Conference Record: Harvard 5-1, Columbia 3-3. Series Record: Columbia leads, 94-76.
GAME NOTES: Fresh off their first league loss of the season, the Harvard Crimson will attempt to get back on track on Friday night when they pay a visit to Levien Gymnasium for an Ivy League showdown with the Columbia Lions.
Harvard had won five straight to open Ivy League play prior to its 74-67 setback at home to Yale last Saturday night, which caused it to slip into a tie with the Bulldogs for first place at 5-1. The Crimson's season as a whole has been outstanding at 18-4, which includes a 5-3 mark on the road.
Columbia dropped a 68-60 decision at Penn last Saturday, as it closed out a five-game road trip 2-3 and fell to 3-3 in league action. The Lions are a solid 14-9 overall this season, which includes an outstanding 9-1 ledger on their home floor.
In the all-time series between these long-time rivals, Columbia holds a 94-76 advantage. The teams split the 2012-13 season series, with each side winning at home.
The Crimson fell behind Yale by four points at the half of their most recent contest and could never take the lead in the second stanza on their way to their first league loss. They were outshot from the field, 51.2 percent to 39 percent, and also shot themselves in the foot with a poor 14-of-25 showing from the free-throw line. Wesley Saunders scored a team-high 16 points but was just 6-of-18 from the field. Brandyn Curry netted 12 points off the bench and Siyani Chambers chipped in 10 points.
On the season, Harvard has excelled on both ends of the floor, shooting 45.3 percent from the field for 72.4 ppg while allowing just 60.5 ppg (16th in the nation) on 40.9 percent shooting. The team runs through Saunders, who's a well-rounded playmaker with 14.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.8 apg, 2.0 spg and 0.9 bpg, all while shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 76.9 percent at the free- throw line. Chambers brings 10.7 ppg and 4.5 apg to the table, while Kyle Casey (10.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg), Laurent Rivard (9.7 ppg), Steve Moundou-Missi (9.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Curry (8.9 ppg) round out a balanced club.
While the Lions were able to cut a 16-point deficit with under seven minutes to play in their latest game to just six points with two minutes to go, they would get no closer as Penn held on. They shot just 40.8 percent from the field and were outrebounded by a 37-26 margin. Alex Rosenberg paced the losing effort with 17 points, Maodo Lo added 16 points and Meiko Lyles came off the bench to score 11.
Columbia has successfully outpaced its opponents this season by shooting 44.6 percent from the field for 68.0 ppg while allowing just 62.0 ppg on 41.7 percent shooting. It's also aided by a +3.1 rebounding margin a .753 free- throw percentage that ranks in the top-20 nationally. Rosenberg puts up a team-best 14.4 ppg, followed by Lo's 13.8 ppg on 50-of-104 from 3-point range (.481). Grant Mullins rounds out the double-digit scorers with 12.5 ppg and has drained 80-of-89 from the free-throw line (.899).
Harvard showed in its latest outing that it is indeed vulnerable against Ivy League competition, and it'll have a hard time overcoming a Columbia squad that has been nearly flawless at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Columbia 67, Harvard 65
02/14 10:40:59 ET