According to an Associated Press report on Columbia’s 82-73 loss at Boston College Wednesday night, Lions coach Jim Engles announced that star point guard Mike Smith has a torn meniscus and will miss the remainder of the 2018-2019 season. Smith’s injury occurred in the first half of last Friday’s game against Bryant. The junior point guard ends his season as one of the Ivy League’s top performers with 15.8 points, 5.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game.
As the great Renaissance humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam said: “Damn, Columbia just can’t buy a win.”
Columbia fell 87-86 in double overtime to Delaware Sunday at Levien Gym, leaving the Lions a frustrating 1-5 and the only team in the Ivy League under .500 and still searching for answers. The talent is there. The wins are not.
After an exceedingly comfortable win over St. Joseph’s (Brooklyn) of Division III, the Lions fought back multiple times against the 7-2 Blue Hens. Mike Smith scored five points late in regulation to force overtime. Gabe Stefanini hit a huge three to force a second overtime. Columbia earned the chance to win the game by getting a tie-up with 1.9 seconds to play. But the inbounds set remained unchanged despite a Delaware timeout; a lob to Patrick Tape, not corralled, and an off-balance Stefanini jumper, not converted, closed the books on a good start to December. Conference play, obviously, is the key, but Columbia is yet to prove a formula that might prove effective therein.
Can Columbia buy a win?
More importantly, can Columbia buy a stop?
In the first 10 games of last season, Columbia allowed just three teams — not even Villanova among them — to score 80-plus points. This year’s squad has thrice conceded opponent totals of at least four score and seven years ago. Seems about right for the last time the Lions won a game.
The team dropped three consecutive games at the Johnny Bach Classic at Fordham over the weekend. Kendale Hampton scored a career-best 32 points to lead Youngstown State to a 94-83 win in Columbia’s opener. FIU rode several double-doubles to an easy 98-87 win over Columbia on Saturday despite Gabe Stefanini’s 33 points. The denouement came Sunday, when Columbia snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in a 70-69 heartbreaker against host Fordham.
The Columbia Lions men’s basketball team started the season with more of a whimper than a roar, dropping their opening game 82-76 to Marist Saturday night in Poughkeepsie.
To take a page out of Jason Lloyd of The Athletic’s book, here are seven thoughts for Mike Smith’s seven field goals, as well as a bonus two looking ahead to Columbia’s participation in the 2018 Johnny Bach Classic …
The New York Knicks announced Sunday night that they have signed former Columbia forward Jeff Coby, making Coby’s Knick status official.
Ian Begley of ESPN reported Sunday that Coby and the Knicks had reached a verbal agreement prior to training camp.
Coby averaged 5.1 points and 3.9 rebounds in 14.9 minutes per game during his four seasons as a Lion, providing strong rebounding for Columbia’s 2015-16 CIT champion squad.
In case you missed it, the Columbia Spectator on Friday broke the news that first-year players Jaron Faulds and Myles Hanson have left the men’s basketball team and will pursue other opportunities. Ryan James of PrepHoops tweeted that Hanson will be looking to transfer for next fall.
Faulds played in 26 games this past season, averaging 4.5 points on 59.6 percent shooting, 3.2 rebounds and 14.2 minutes per contest. The 6’10” forward from Holt, Mich. was a four-star recruit at ESPN. Hanson, a two-star 6’6” small forward from Chaska, Minn., saw action in 19 games, averaging 3.1 points, 2.3 rebounds and 10.5 minutes per game. Both were members of coach Jim Engles’s first recruiting class at Columbia.
Looks like Xavier will get an Ivy grad transfer after all.
A week after former Dartmouth standout Evan Boudreaux committed to Purdue following a decommitment from Xavier, Jeff Goodman of ESPN reported Sunday that Columbia guard Kyle Castlin is headed for Xavier.
Castlin will play for new Xavier coach Travis Steele, who was hired Mar. 29 following the departure of Chris Mack, who left for Louisville (thereby prompting Boudreaux to reopen his recruitment).
In the latest episode of Inside Ivy Hoops, Brett Franklin and Jill Glessner recap a wild and crazy 2017-18 reflect back on this season’s Ivy League Tournament and look ahead to next season’s tourney, with Columbia Athletic Director Peter Pilling and Ivy League Associate Executive Director for Strategic Communications and External Relations Matt Panto.
Jill recounts her Ivy League Tournament experience, and she and Brett weigh in on where the tournament should and could be held in the future, also recapping the highlights of the men’s and women’s league tourneys and why the Penn men still won even while losing as a No. 16 seed to No. 1 Kansas. Jill also explains why she thinks the Princeton women have the edge in their NCAA Tournament matchup with Maryland, the keys to the Tigers toppling the Terrapins, and whether she thinks the Ivy tourney will be back at the Palestra next season:
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: