Men's College Basketball
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Manhattan (3-7) at Columbia (5-5)

The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 29, 4 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Levien Gymnasium (2,700) -- New York, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Manhattan 2-0, Columbia 1-3. Away Record: Manhattan 1-5, Columbia 3-2. Neutral Record: Manhattan 0-2, Columbia 1-0. Conference Record: Manhattan 0-0, Columbia 0-0. Series Record: Columbia leads, 13-9.

GAME NOTES: The Manhattan Jaspers take the short trip to Levien Gymnasium to take on local rival, the Columbia Lions, in a non-conference tilt on Saturday afternoon.

Manhattan has dropped four of its last five outings, including a tough 63-57 defeat to South Carolina on Dec. 22 in the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational at the brand new Barclays Center. Trailing by 11 points with less than five minutes remaining, the Jaspers put together a 10-2 run to make it a three- point game at 60-57 with one minute on the clock, but back-to-back turnovers doomed the Jaspers' comeback bid as the Gamecocks held on for the victory.

Manhattan has been playing most of the season without its best player, George Beamon, due to an ankle injury. In the four games this year he has been able to play, Beamon is averaging a team-high 16.8 points and 6.3 rebounds. Michael Alvarado is the leading scorer in Beamon's absence, averaging 10.1 points per game. Rhamel Brown is tied for the team lead with Beamon in rebounding at 6.3 boards per game. The Jaspers are shooting just 39.1 percent from the field and are allowing opponents to shoot 43.9 percent against them. Manhattan is also being outscored by 8.1 points per game (57.9 to 66).

This is the 23rd meeting between these two programs, a rivalry which began during the 1917-18 season. Columbia won the last contest, 59-42, at Manhattan on Nov. 26, 2011, getting 22 points from Brian Barbour.

Columbia is coming off a last-second 70-69 loss to Elon. Jack Isenbarger knocked down a 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left on the clock to lift the Phoenix to victory. Both teams shot the ball well, with Elon converting 50.8 percent of their attempts and the Lions at 47.5 percent clip. Steve Frankoski led the Lions with 20 points on 6-of-7 shooting from beyond the three-point line. Brian Barbour dished out a career-high 12 assists.

The Lions are shooting 42.3 percent from the field for the season, including 34.8 percent from 3-point range. In addition, Columbia is converting at a 74.8 percent rate from the free-throw line to lead the Ivy League. They have also become one of nation's best in terms of taking care of the basketball, forcing 10.6 turnovers per game, which is good for 10th fewest in Division I. Barbour leads the team in scoring with 13.6 points per game, while Grant Mullins (11.9) and Alex Rosenberg (10.3) round out the Lions that are averaging double figures. Mark Cisco pulls down 5.9 rebounds per game to lead the team.

Both squads are coming off of tough defeats, but only one can come away with a needed victory. Expect the Lions' ball-handling prowess and free-throw shooting to make the difference in a close contest, as the home team prevails.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Columbia 67, Manhattan 62

12/29 10:32:22 ET

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