Columbia (12-14) at Harvard (17-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 8, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lavietes Pavilion (2,195) -- Cambridge, Massachusetts. Television: None. Home Record: Columbia 6-7, Harvard 11-1. Away Record: Columbia 5-7, Harvard 6-8. Neutral Record: Columbia 1-0, Harvard 0-0. Conference Record: Columbia 4-8, Harvard 9-3. Series Record: Columbia leads, 94-75.
GAME NOTES: Still in the hunt for the Ivy League title, the Harvard Crimson entertain the Columbia Lions on Friday night at Lavietes Pavilion.
Sporting an impressive record of 11-1 at home this season, the Crimson are still battling Princeton for the best record in the league, the Tigers own a 9-2 mark with three games remaining and Harvard coming in at 9-3 with only two to play. Just last week Harvard was leading the way in the conference thanks to a four-game win streak and eight victories in nine tries overall, but the team then bowed to both Princeton (58-53) and Penn (75-72) on consecutive nights.
As for the Lions, their 4-8 conference mark has them much further down in the standings. Columbia had a brief two-game win streak snapped last Saturday when it bowed to Brown, 61-58, at home.
Columbia leads the all-time series by a count of 94-75 thanks to a 78-63 win in the first meeting of the campaign last month at home, snapping what had been a seven-game slide versus the Crimson for the Lions.
Columbia led by as many as 13 points in the second half against Brown last weekend, but the team then allowed the visiting Bears to connect on a sizzling 63.6 percent from the floor over the final 20 minutes of action. Brian Barbour tried to keep the hosts in front with his game-high 18 points, adding five of the unit's eight steals, followed by Maodo Lo with 14 points as well.
A conservative team in conference play this season, Columbia is averaging just 59.6 ppg, while giving up 60.6 ppg, and Barbour stands as the unit's lone double-digit scorer with his 10.2 ppg. Barbour also paces the group with 33 assists in the 11 league bouts he has participated in, which makes up for Steve Frankoski (8.8 ppg) who, despite having his hands on the ball quite a bit by shooting 48.9 percent behind the 3-point line, has but four assists in league play.
Against Penn last weekend, the Crimson fell behind immediately and never recovered, although they did manage to whittle a 16-point deficit down to just three at the conclusion on the contest. Wesley Saunders led four players in double figures with 20 points, followed by Christian Webster with 16, Laurent Rivard 14 points and Steve Moundou-Missi 10 off the bench before fouling out. Siyani Chambers was held to only five points and offset his five assists with seven turnovers.
Except for the loss at Princeton a week ago, Harvard has scored at least 63 points in every league bout, pushing the squad to an average of 70.6 ppg in the process. Saunders heads the scoring list with 17.5 ppg, shooting almost 60 percent from the floor while also ranking second on the team with 48 assists. Chambers (13.3 ppg) is playing 38.5 minutes per contest so it only makes sense that he paces the program with 67 dishes through 12 games.
With so much riding on these last few games, Harvard cannot afford to let even one slip away so expect to see the Crimson give it all they've got on Friday night.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Harvard 73, Columbia 66
03/08 10:33:12 ET