This time around, the biggest source of drama in Columbia’s rematch with Cornell was the open question of how the Lions would be able to safely return to Manhattan following a 79-68 victory. The three-point shooting of Columbia (13-6, 2-0 Ivy) kept Cornell (7-9, 0-2) safely at arm’s length throughout the second half.
Turning point: This game was close at halftime, as Columbia only held a 36-33 lead heading into the break. In the second half, though, the Lions took advantage of their biggest strength to open up a big lead they wouldn’t give up.
Luke Petrasek, Maodo Lo and Alex Rosenberg all hit three-pointers in the first 3:27 of the second half, pushing the Lions’ lead to 11 points. Cornell never seriously threatened after that burst.
Impact for Columbia: The Lions’ strong showing from beyond the arc — they shot 54.2 percent from three-point land — compensated for a relatively sloppy performance otherwise. Columbia committed 14 turnovers and really struggled to penetrate Cornell’s defense at times. That won’t cut it against stronger Ivy opponents going forward.
Impact for Cornell: With Robert Hatter out again with an ankle injury, Matt Morgan was once again called upon to shoulder most of the offensive load. He scored 26 points, but wasn’t particularly efficient in doing so, reaching that mark on 23 shots. Morgan is a very good player, but he’ll be better off once Hatter comes back. David Onuorah had a much better game this time around, avoiding any foul trouble and causing serious problems when he left the paint to trap. He was a big reason why Cornell was able to force as many turnovers as it did.
Performance of note for Columbia: Luke Petrasek had a solid game on both ends of the floor. He hit four of the six three-pointers he attempted and led the Lions in defensive rebounds, grabbing seven. He’s made the most progress out of anyone on Columbia’s roster this year.
Performance of note for Cornell: Onuorah deserves credit for his effort on the offensive end as well. He grabbed three offensive boards and made five of his seven shots from the field. The Big Red sorely need him in the lineup, as he is their only real source of anything resembling a post-up game.
Up next: Columbia travels to Dartmouth before facing Harvard in a huge Saturday evening game.
Cornell will visit Lavietes first before heading to Hanover to take on the Big Green a day later.