Brown needed to sweep Cornell and Columbia at home this weekend to shore up its standing for an Ivy League Tournament run.
Although it wasn’t easy, the Bears completed that sweep Saturday against Columbia, holding the Lions to four points over the final 5:04 to erase a four-point deficit at the start of that stretch and walk away with a 72-66 win.
Brown’s defense won the day late, complemented by a characteristically versatile showing from Tamenang Choh, who notched 18 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two blocks.
Well before Choh helped salt the game away at the free throw line, though, Dan Friday hit his only three of the night to tie the game at 62-62. A Jaylan Gainey dunk followed to give the Bears a lead they would not relinquish, and Brown scored its final eight points from the foul line.
The free throw line is where Brown (9-8, 2-2 Ivy) won the game, going 20-for-27 while Columbia (6-14, 1-3) went just 5-for-9. Brandon Anderson and Zach Hunsaker each contributed 14 points for the Bears, hitting two triples each.
Mike Smith led the way for Columbia, scoring 18 of his 20 points in the second half and adding nine assists (six coming in the first stanza), three steals and three rebounds in 40 minutes. Jake Killingsworth also played all 40 minutes for the Lions, chipping in nine points and seven boards.
Columbia is starting to fade from the Ivy League Tournament picture, struggling to come up with enough firepower beyond Smith, although Ike Nweke impressed with 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the field in his first Ivy League start, 12 coming in the second half.
Having taken care of business this weekend, Brown has momentum going into another weekend homestand, this time against Dartmouth and then Harvard. Columbia gets Penn and Princeton at home next weekend.