NEW YORK – For the last eight years, Levien Gymnasium has been a house of horrors for the University of Pennsylvania. Penn men’s basketball had lost seven of the last eight at Columbia, including five straight. There have been blowouts, ejections and a couple of photo finishes that went the home team’s way.
So when the Lions jumped out to a 17-6 lead, it followed an unsurprising trend.
“We definitely started off slow,” Penn sophomore Devon Goodman said. “They hit us first.”
Unlike previous seasons, the Quakers hit back, in large part thanks to a career night from Goodman, who scored a career-high 23 points with five assists and five boards. Add that to an impressive second half and an 18-0 run down the stretch and the Red and Blue staged a comeback to win 74-62 over the Light Blue on Friday night.
Going Inside Ivy Hoops with Brett Franklin and Jill Glessner this week are Ivy Hoops Online writer Richard Kent, Brown women’s basketball assistant coach Tyler Patch and Columbia men’s head coach Jim Engles.
On the women’s side, Jill and Brett highlight Harvard’s home cooking, Penn winning the Big 5, Ivy back-to-backs creeping up on Dartmouth and the intrigue of contrasting styles with Friday’s Penn at Brown matchup. On the men’s side, they consider how many bitterly close losses Dartmouth can continue to swallow, Penn’s formidable frontcourt and more:
IHO’s Yale beat writer Richard Kent joins Brett and Jill on the expert hotline about when he expects Makai Mason to return for Yale, Trey Phills’s standout season, why the Yale men have a better shot at beating Princeton than Penn this weekend, whether the Yale women can claim an Ivy League Tournament berth this season and how Bella Alarie flew under Duke’s recruiting radar:
Tyler Patch discusses his path to becoming an assistant at Brown, the recruiting and execution that created Brown’s high-octane uptempo offense, lessons learned from the Bears’ back-to-back Ivy nail-biter losses last weekend and more.
Jim Engles reflects on his unique time at NJIT, Columbia starting this season with seven road games and Mike Smith’s relationship with NBA player Jimmy Butler while looking ahead to the Lions hosting Harvard and Dartmouth this weekend:
The women’s and men’s basketball teams for Columbia and Cornell arrived at Levien Gymnasium on Saturday winless in conference play. While the main goal for each team was to secure its first league win, it was almost as important for the individual teams to feel good about their games as they move into the hardest stretch of their seasons.
The Columbia men had, perhaps, their best game of the season as they dismantled Cornell, 88-62. On the women’s side, the Big Red led for 36:49 of the 40-minute contest in route to an important 57-47 road win over the Lions. In dominating their respective games, the Columbia men and Cornell women have strong momentum heading into next Saturday’s rematches in Ithaca. The two losing squads and their staffs, however, were left trying to come to grips with their play and figuring out how to turn things around, for next weekend and the remainder of the year.
Cornell (4-11; 0-2 Ivy) challenged the Tigers (13-3; 3-0 Ivy) in the first half, finishing the second quarter down 36-34. Princeton came out of the break on a 17-0 run in the first five minutes, completed the quarter up 22 and coasted in the fourth stanza for a convincing 21-point victory over the Big Red.
Leslie Robinson had 16 points and Bella Alarie scored 13, while Gabrielle Rush continued her hot hand in league play with 75 percent three point shooting and 11 points. Cornell’s Samantha Widmann, from nearby Lawrenceville, led the Big Red with 17 points and seven rebounds.
Yale (8-6; 1-0 Ivy) opened up its march to Ivy Madness with a double digit victory over Brown (12-2; 0-1 Ivy) in a Friday matinee contest at the John J. Lee Amphitheater. After a poor shooting first quarter from both teams, Yale entered the second frame up 3 and stretched it to six at halftime. The Bears came out hot at the beginning of the third quarter, going on an 8-0 run over the first 1:36 to take a 39-37 lead. From there, the teams stayed close and were tied at 58 with 6:54 left in the fourth quarter. Two Tamara Simpson steals and layups in nine seconds sparked Yale to a 10-0 run that put the game out of reach.
Columbia’s offense focuses primarily around the three-pointer, with the team averaging 29.1 attempts and 10.6 made baskets a game. Their 36.3 percent rate is second in the conference, while their attempts and made triples rank in the top 25 nationally. The Lions attempt 46 percent of their total shots from three, which is in the top 30 nationally, and secure 43 percent of their points from outside the arc, a top 10 amount.
Former Columbia star and Princeton assistant coach Megan Griffith was hired in March 2016 to rebuild the Lions women’s basketball program. In her first season, the team opened up the season with a school record winning percentage in nonconference play (10-3, .769) and a program first-ever victory over a Big East opponent (66-64 in overtime over Providence). Ivy League play, though, was not as kind to the Lions, as they ended up losing eight of their last nine and finished tied for seventh place with a 3-11 conference record. As the new season approaches, Griffith has unveiled an ambitious schedule that seeks to toughen the team for league action.
Following an early conference win against Harvard and a late February victory over Penn, the Columbia men’s basketball team was poised to secure the last spot in the inaugural Ivy Tournament. After two road losses to Brown and Yale on the season’s final weekend, the Lions missed the tournament, ending up in fifth place with a 5-9 conference record (11-16 overall). In Jim Engles’ second season in charge, he will focus on the positives from last season and his first recruiting class to reach this year’s postseason tournament.
After a thrilling Senior Night victory over Penn to keep their Ivy Tournament hopes alive, we sat down with Columbia head coach Jim Engles during his weekly media availability to ask him what he knows about the Ivy’s tiebreakers, Columbia’s road difficulties and more.