The Cornell Big Red had a 20-point lead with 18:06 left in the game but choked it away as the NJIT Highlanders left Ithaca with a 59-58 win despite leading for just 46 seconds.
The Highlanders scored just 16 points in the first half off of 21% shooting. It was a combination of both great defense and awful offense. The Big Red (1-2) shot a decent 46% in the first half and held an 18-point lead at the break.
IHO’s Sam Tydings caught up with first-year Columbia head coach Jim Engles, who took over the Lions’ program in April after eight years as head coach at NJIT, ironically after Columbia defeated NJIT en route to the 2016 CIT title. Engles discussed 2016-17 team leaders, what pace he wants the Lions to play at and why he’s not talking about winning with his players at the moment:
Jim Engles was announced as Columbia’s new head coach Sunday by Columbia Athletics, succeeding Kyle Smith in the position. Engles previously served as an assistant coach from 2003-08 under then-head coach Joe Jones and compiled a 100-88 record in eight seasons as head coach at NJIT, which had only competed for two years in Division I prior to Engles’ taking over.
Engles led the Highlanders to the CIT semifinals each of the past two seasons, including an 80-65 loss to Columbia in the semifinals at Levien Gym in his final game as NJIT’s coach as the Lions went on to win the CIT championship.
Engles is a 1990 graduate of Dickinson College. As Columbia Athletics notes, his uncle John was a high school All-American who went on to play at Penn under Chuck Daly from 1973-76. Engles served as an assistant at Rider from 1997-2003 and at Wagner from 1990-97.