Columbia got its first Ivy League victory over the season over Cornell and Hofstra defeated James Madison on the road to score its first CAA victory as New York area teams had a solid day of games on a busy Saturday. Besides the two NEC games on the slate, five other teams were in action and four of them came away victorious.
Hofstra 71, James Madison 69 — In a delicious piece of irony, considering JMU started the Pride’s conference season off with a close loss, Mo Cassara’s team got its first victory thanks to Stevie Mejia’s three-point play. Nathaniel Lester scored 23 points, including 17 in the second half, and David Imes added 14. Mejia, who is slowly working his way back from injury, played 20 minutes and scored eight points. Hofstra outscored James Madison by one point in each half. Hofstra had lost its first seven games of CAA conference play. The Pride get to go for a two-game win streak on Monday when they play at VCU.
Columbia 61, Cornell 56 — After falling to Penn and Princeton in the opening weekend of Ivy play the Lions really needed this win at Levien Gymnasium against their travel partner. Mark Cisco made sure Columbia got it by scoring 18 points and grabbing 20 rebounds in 36 minutes. (Yes, 20.) That helped Columbia out rebound Cornell 41-26 for the game and 11-8 on the offensive boards. Brian Barbour scored 14 points, but it took him 15 shots to get there. He also had six boards and five assists. Columbia now goes on the road to Cornell next weekend and then the Dartmouth/Harvard swing in early February. The potential still exists now to come out of the early season sitting at 3-3.
Stony Brook 58, Maine 52 — The Seawolves went on the road and got a key victory over a sliding Maine team to move to 6-1 in America East play. SBU was led by Dallis Joyner, who scored 10 points. In fact, Joyner was the only player on the Seawolves as they got an amazingly balanced scoring output. Tommy Brenton scored nine points, but he also grabbed 15 rebounds. Some how star freshman Justin Edwards scored just 14 points (on only seven shots), but he also grabbed nine rebounds and dished out seven assists. The one blemish in his line? Seven turnovers. Maine committed 22 turnovers and shot 18-50 (36%) from the field. Stony Brook now gets three straight conference home games. The big one is on January 27 against Boston University.
NJIT 58, Texas-Pan American — Jim Engles has his team back at .500 and a perfect 2-0 in the Great West after this narrow victory. Chris Flores’ double-pump reverse layup with four seconds remaining was the difference in this game. Flores was NJIT’s leading scorer with 17 points in 39 minutes of action. Isaiah Wilkerson added 13 and Ryan Woods 12. Aaron Urbanus scored 17 points for UTPA and coach Ryan Marks in the loss. The next two games – at North Dakota and at Utah Valley – will go a long way towards determining if the Highlanders can actually be competitive in conference.
St. Bonaventure 95, Fordham 51 — Bryan Smith scored 13 points, but this is one that Fordham would rather forget. The Rams were held to 16-55 (29.1%) shooting from the field and committed 15 turnovers. Chris Gaston missed the game because of the flagrant two he picked up in Fordham’s last game. The Rams are now 1-7 on the road and 7-2 at Rose Hill. That screams young team.