It had all the makings of a perfect storm.
The almost five-hour drive from Cornell to Columbia at 10 p.m. The double overtime expenditure of energy in Newman Arena that preceded it. Yale was ripe for the taking.
Until it wasn’t.
The Elis handled the Lions, 83-65, before a crowd of 2,065 at Levien Gym. The score did not nearly reflect the level of Yale domination.
Yale opened up a 7-0 lead. Columbia roared back to tie the game and then Yale went on a 17-0 run.
Columbia closed out the half shooting a woeful 2-for-18 from the field, largely as a result of the tenacious Yale trademark defense. Yale took a 44-28 lead into the locker room.
Paul Atkinson scored his 1000th point as an Eli less than a minute into the game and gave credit to his teammates for the feat.
“It’s special,” Atkinson said. “I knew about it coming into the game.”
Columbia would get no closer than 15 points in the second half.
Sharpshooter Azar Swain scored 29 points and Atkinson had 20 on 9-for-14 shooting from the field.
Sophomore sensation Matthue Cotton contributed nine points and eight rebounds in 20 minutes.
Columbia was led once again by Mike Smith, the nation’s 13th-leading scorer, with 37 points.
Yale outrebounded the Lions 44-25. Ten different Elis scored in the game.
Yale improved to 20-6 and 8-2 in the Ivy, still holding sole possession of first place. Columbia dropped to 6-20 and 1-9 in Ivy play.
At halftime, Columbia officially dedicated its basketball court in honor of 1969 basketball grad Jonathan Schiller. In attendance were famed New York lawyer David Boies and former Columbia star Roger Walaszek, both members of the Ivy-winning 1967-68 Columbia squad.