Ivy Hoops Online contributor George “Toothless Tiger” Clark recaps Princeton men’s basketball’s 85-71 over Bucknell at Sojka Pavilion in Lewisburg, Pa. Wednesday night:
Jack Forrest, one of few rays of hope for Columbia during its long slog to a 6-24 record this season (1-13 in Ivy play), is transferring, Verbal Commits reported Saturday.
Forrest averaged 8.9 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in his rookie campaign, including a season-high 23 points in Columbia’s lone conference win in the Ivy opener against Cornell.
Losing Forrest would be a blow to the Lions, marking yet another loss of talent transferring away from the program. Patrick Tapé opted to become a graduate transfer before the 2019-20 season following his junior campaign, a year after Jaron Faulds and Myles Hanson left the program. Mike Smith and Jake Killingsworth have also entered the transfer portal, the Columbia Spectator noted, as both lost seasons due to injury and cannot play as graduate students per Ivy League rules. That means Columbia’s first, third and fourth-leading scorers from this season will be unavailable next season, although last season’s leading scorer Gabe Stefanini lost the 2019-20 season due to injury and is expected to return in 2020-21.
Kobe Bryant’s impact on the game of basketball and the people who have a passion for it has been incalculable, and his sudden death at 41 following a helicopter crash that killed his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others near Los Angeles Sunday put into perspective just how much Bryant mattered to those who have been Ivy League hoopsters.
ITHACA, N.Y. – Cornell limited Columbia guards Jack Forrest and Mike Smith to a combined 7-for-32 shooting night as the Big Red took down the Lions, 62-50, at Newman Arena to pick up their first Ivy League win and first Division I win since Nov. 5.
The Big Red (4-11, 1-1 Ivy) were led by a balanced attack on offense while limiting the Lions (6-11, 1-1) to 32% shooting on defense. That was mainly due to Bryan Knapp’s all-around effort for the Big Red. He was tasked with guarding Mike Smith, who scored just 15 points on 5-for-23 shooting.
“We were just forcing him left, [isolating] him as much as we could, just team defense,” said Knapp. “We knew if we could shut him down, that was it. The last five minutes, the gameplan was ‘Bryan, don’t let him get the ball.'”
Columbia built an early lead and avoided a late-game collapse, as the Lions opened the Ivy schedule with a convincing 75-61 victory over Cornell Saturday at Levien Gym.
The Big Red (3-11, 0-1 Ivy) started out strong, shooting 57% by the first media timeout, to take a quick 12-9 lead. Unfortunately for the visitors, the Lions (6-11 overall, 1-0) limited Cornell to 14% shooting over the next 14-plus minutes. The Columbia offense, meanwhile, was clicking on all cylinders, shooting 67% from two, 50% from three and 71% from the free throw line to take a commanding 48-29 halftime lead.
HAMILTON, N.Y. – The Columbia Lions struggled to piece together stops and allowed the Colgate Raiders to shoot 53% from the field in an 89-71 matinee loss to the reigning Patriot League champs Sunday.
“We mixed and messed up some coverages, [and] they passed the ball really well so they picked on us when we messed up a coverage,” said Columbia head coach Jim Engles.
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.”
No one ever said Columbia’s road trip, down to Virginia and back up to St. John’s, was going to be easy.
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?