Five Thoughts as Princeton Blows Out Columbia

Princeton led by 16 at halftime and never let up, eventually building its lead to 31 points before finishing off a 65-40 victory. It was the perfect game for the Tigers, except for free throw shooting, and a 53-possession demonstration of how they’ll still challenge Harvard for the Ivy League title.

Five thoughts from the game:

1) Brian Barbour isn’t right: The Lions’ 1,000-point scorer didn’t start and played only nine minutes. Head coach Kyle Smith said that Barbour had received multiple IVs the day before, but Barbour said that he could play. Barbour took his only shot from the field with 13:26 remaining and it was blocked by Denton Koon.

“I just think a little bit our heart and soul isn’t right as far as Brian,” Smith said. “He had five IVs pumped into him yesterday… He wasn’t the same. It’s tough to coach it. He means so much to us leadership wise and competitive spirit.”

2) Princeton is taller, but also wanted it more: The Tigers out-rebounded Columbia 32-23. Considering how many more shots the Lions missed that number is a little misleading. Princeton had an offensive rebounding rate of 43 percent, while Columbia’s was 31 percent. For most of the game it didn’t even seem that close. It’s not because the Tigers were taller either. Mitch Henderson’s team had 10 players grab between two and four rebounds in the game. The Tigers played with a hunger of a team that knows it has to win out to have a chance at the Ivy League title.

3) Columbia is becoming passive on offense: The first time these two teams played, the Lions stayed in the game by relentlessly attacking the rim and getting good opportunities to score. For the first 10 minutes it seemed like Columbia might be able to do it again. Maodo Lo was getting to the basket and also getting open looks from three. He scored 10 points in the first 12 minutes, but picked up his second foul of the first half with six minutes remaining. With Lo on the bench no one else on Columbia showed that same ability to fight and get to the basket. Lo’s 15 points led the way for the Lions. No other player scored more than six. Columbia became extremely passive against the Tigers’ aggressively switching defense and the Lions had their worst offensive game of the season.

4) Koon didn’t help Grant Mullins’ slump: Mullins hasn’t scored more than seven points since the victory over Cornell to start Ivy League play. Without Barbour in the lineup he seemed to be pressing even more and had a very difficult night, going 2-10 from the field and scoring four points in 28 minutes. The 6’3″ Canadian was giving up almost five inches to his defender, Koon, most of the night. The height of Princeton’s guards will give any team fits, but the Tigers were able to close out effectively on three-point shooters (Columbia was 3-17) and play solid help defense.

“Every good defensive time I’ve ever seen has a help defender in the right place,” Henderson said. “I thought tonight we were in the right spot.”

5) Where do Lions go from here?: Columbia is now broken and battered. The Lions would have to go undefeated during their final five games of Ivy League play to finish even .500 in the league. Their star player is an unknown from game-to-game and the offense is regressing. The Lions can fight back or they can give up. Penn comes into Levien Gymnasium tonight and it should be another packed house. The Quakers are coming off a big win at Cornell. Can Columbia take advantage of the travel and start their revival? It’s one big question mark.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s