Columbia (13-7) at Brown (10-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 1, 6 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pizzitola Sports Center (2,800) -- Providence, Rhode Island. Television: None. Home Record: Columbia 9-1, Brown 6-2. Away Record: Columbia 2-5, Brown 4-5. Neutral Record: Columbia 2-1, Brown 0-0. Conference Record: Columbia 2-1, Brown 2-1. Series Record: Columbia leads, 67-64.
GAME NOTES: The Brown Bears will wrap up a three-game homestand at the Pizzitola Sports Center on Saturday evening when they take on the Columbia Lions in an Ivy League showdown.
Columbia opened up Ivy league play by sweeping a two-game home-and-home series with Cornell, but it ventured to Yale on Friday night and dropped a 69-59 bout to snap a six-game winning streak. The Lions, who are in the midst of a five- game road trip, are a stellar 13-7 overall this season but are just 2-5 away from home.
Brown is also off to a 2-1 start in league play, but it endured a better fate than Columbia on Friday night, as it bested Cornell, 78-66, to improve to 10-7 overall. The Bears have enjoyed the confines of their home floor, winning six of eight in Providence this season.
These two rivals have played tight over the years, with Columbia holding to a 67-64 all-time series lead over Brown, although the Bears have closed the gap with three straight wins.
The Lions trailed for the entire second half of their most recent contest, and while they were down just four in the final two minutes, they saw Yale put the game away by draining 10-of-10 at the foul line over the final 1:11. They shot a meager 35.9 percent from the field in the setback, including 4-of-17 from 3- point range, and were paced by a 17-point effort from Alex Rosenberg. Maodo Lo and Grant Mullins were also factors with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
On the season, Columbia boasts simply a modest offense, shooting 45.2 percent from the field for 69.7 ppg, but that has been more than enough considering its outstanding scoring defense (62.0 ppg). It also boasts an impressive +4.3 rebounding margin and helps itself in close games with a .767 free-throw percentage. Rosenberg (14.2 ppg) shoots greater than 46 percent from the field and leads the team in free-throw attempts and makes (106-of-134, .791). Lo (14.1 ppg) has been deadly from 3-point distance, draining 46 long-range buckets at a 51.1 percent clip. Mullins rounds out the double-digit scorers with 13.1 ppg.
Brown suffered a scare in the first half against a one-win Cornell squad, as it trailed by three at intermission, but it quickly grabbed control of the game with a 25-7 run early in the second stanza and ultimately cruised to the 12-point win. They shot 54.5 percent from the field while holding the Big Red to under 38 percent shooting, and they were led by a pair of 18-point performances from Steven Spieth and Norman Hobbie. Spieth shot 5-of-5 from the floor and 8-of-9 at the line, while Hobbie drained 6-of-9 from 3-point range. Sean McGonagill was also active with 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
Much like Columbia, the Bears possess a well-rounded squad, shooting 45.1 percent from the field for 72.9 ppg while allowing 66.8 ppg on just 38.1 percent shooting. McGonagill is one of the league's best multi-facets players, as he tallies 19.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.6 apg and 1.4 spg while sporting stellar percentages from the field (.462), 3-point range (.431) and the foul line (.714). Few Ivy League teams can matchup with the Bears inside with Rafael Maia (9.9 ppg, 8.3 rpg) and Cedric Kuakumensah (6.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3.0 bpg). For Hobbie (7.7 ppg), 36 of his 39 field goals have come from beyond the arc.
While Columbia has been the more impressive team overall this season, it has had trouble on the road, and it'll be hard pressed to outlast a solid Bears squad in this one, especially considering the mismatch down low in Brown's favor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Brown 67, Columbia 63
02/01 11:56:19 ET