Mike Smith carries Lions as they adjust to new normal

Mike Smith put Columbia on his 5-foot-11 frame and carried it to a much needed 68-64 victory over Lehigh Saturday afternoon at Levien Gym. The senior leader had 30 points, six assists (with only two turnovers), and drew 10 Lehigh fouls, five in each half.

“I just kind of mixed it up, I shot the three, got to the rim, hit a couple of pull-ups,” Smith said. “I just tried to change up the game, if I can score at all three levels, it’s kind of hard to stop it.”

Read moreMike Smith carries Lions as they adjust to new normal

Columbia nabs first win of season versus Binghamton, continuing its competitive start

Columbia sits 1-2 after its first three games, notching its first win of the season in the home opener against Binghamton. A tumultuous preseason saw the team lose Gabe Stefanini (foot) for several months and Patrick Tapé (intention to graduate transfer) for the season. At Wake Forest, Columbia saw a late four-point lead dissipate and disappear for the team’s second consecutive 65-63 loss. In the home opener, however, the Lions comfortably topped Binghamton 75-63 for their first tally of the season in the win column.

What’s been driving Columbia’s competitive start to the season?

Read moreColumbia nabs first win of season versus Binghamton, continuing its competitive start

The rundown on Columbia men’s basketball

A respectable .500 winning percentage in the Ivy League, buoyed overall by solid nonconference wins. A close game at Harvard in early March, in the thick of the title race. Yale, conference champions, with Harvard the runner-up and Columbia not far behind. Sound plausible?

It was more than plausible in 1901-02, the Ivy League’s first basketball season, which began shortly after Harvard topped Yale for the year’s football title (a “fitting climax to a season of surprizes,” as the Daily Princetonian put it). Only 10 years after James Naismith cast a ball into the first stationary peach basket, Columbia began its varsity intercollegiate basketball competition. The Lions are still going strong even after the addition of three “new” teams to the conference since its inception.

Going into year 119, here’s everything you need to know about the Columbia Lions men’s basketball team heading into the season.

Read moreThe rundown on Columbia men’s basketball

No treats for Columbia as Patrick Tape leaves the program on Halloween

Fans of Columbia basketball may have been concerned by the omission of Patrick Tape, a 2019 honorable mention All-Ivy power forward, from Tuesday’s Road to Ivy Madness season preview.  By Thursday afternoon, they would have their suspicions increased when Stadium’s Jeff Goodman tweeted that a source informed him that Tape would leave the program, graduate this spring and seek a graduate transfer next year.

Despite being in the team photograph, Tape’s name had been removed from the 2019-20 roster.

Read moreNo treats for Columbia as Patrick Tape leaves the program on Halloween

Ivy League men’s basketball preseason power rankings

Ivy Hoops Online’s writing staff voted on where all eight Ivy men’s and women’s basketball teams would end up for the 2019-20 season. Our projected order of finish for the men (and the women’s rankings here):

Read moreIvy League men’s basketball preseason power rankings

Columbia junior guard Gabe Stefanini out indefinitely due to foot injury

Columbia junior guard Gabe Stefanini is out indefinitely due to injury. (Columbia Athletics)

Ivy Hoops Online reported Monday that Dartmouth guard Brendan Barry would miss the 2019-20 season due to injury. The Ancient Eight suffered its second major hit of the week Thursday when news broke that Columbia’s Gabe Stefanini injured his left foot and would be having surgery on Friday. Columbia Athletics confirmed the news to IHO later in the day.

Unlike with Barry’s injury, it is unclear how much time Stefanini will miss.

There is no official timetable for Stefanini’s return, but Basketball NCAA editor Riccardo De Angelis, places it at three to five months. If the timetable is correct and the junior guard’s recovery goes optimally well, he could return in time for the end of the Lions’ nonconference schedule against Maine on January 2 and Mount St. Vincent on the 9th to get ready for the Ivy opener at home against Cornell on the 18th.

Read moreColumbia junior guard Gabe Stefanini out indefinitely due to foot injury

Columbia men’s basketball releases 2019-20 schedule

Columbia men’s basketball head coach Jim Engles announced his team’s nonconference schedule on July 31, but it would be over a month before Columbia Athletics released the remaining 14 Ivy contests.  With the schedule now complete, the Lions will look to use its 16 nonconference games as a springboard to the program’s first ever spot in the Ivy Tournament.

The highlight of the first half of the Lions schedule is an early season four-game tournament which includes a match against the defending national champions and a battle for New York supremacy.

Read moreColumbia men’s basketball releases 2019-20 schedule

Ivy hoops roundup – June 6, 2019

  • Following a 11-plus week paid suspension, Auburn University reinstated former Penn assistant coach Ira Bowman to his similar position on Saturday afternoon.  The 1996 Ivy League Player of the Year was suspended by Auburn just before the SEC Tournament, after former Penn coach Jerome Allen testified that Bowman was involved in a scheme resulting in bribes by Florida businessman Philip Esformes to get his son, Morris Esformes, on the basketball roster for the fall of 2015.
    Sam Blum of AL.com wrote that an Auburn athletics spokesman confirmed the news but did not have the results of the school’s investigation or information regarding the reasoning for Bowman’s reinstatement.  AL.com has filed an open records request to obtain this information.  Bowman returned to his reported $250,000 a year job, just in time to help with one of the biggest recruiting weekends in program history.
    Kevin Bonner, Penn’s senior associate athletic director, governance and administration, did not respond to an email from IHO regarding the reinstatement, the Auburn investigation or any Penn investigation of Bowman.

Read moreIvy hoops roundup – June 6, 2019

Ancient Eight thoughts – Ivy Saturday men’s edition

Eight thoughts on the Ivy men’s basketball, which, per KenPom, gave us the highest percentage of games decided by three or fewer points or in overtime in all of Division I for the second straight season:

Crimson are No. 1 for a reason 

Harvard conquered its house of horrors, Levien Gym, 83-81, after an obligatory overtime period to claim its seventh Ivy League championship under Tommy Amaker and the No. 1 seed in the Ivy League Tournament. But is Harvard a vulnerable No. 1 seed?

Read moreAncient Eight thoughts – Ivy Saturday men’s edition

A historic performance by Matt Morgan leads Cornell past Towson in nonconference finale

Matt Morgan had 38 points, Josh Warren had 18, and Jimmy Boeheim had 14 as Cornell raced past Towson, 86-74, at SECU Arena Wednesday night. Cornell had trailed in the first half by as many as eight points but got hot after Morgan hit four threes in as many minutes, seizing a 22-point lead in the second half. Cornell finishes nonconference play at 8-8, after winning three of their last four games with Columbia now looming in the distance.

Read moreA historic performance by Matt Morgan leads Cornell past Towson in nonconference finale