Columbia 93, Penn 65: Lions Rock The Palestra

Columbia kept its very slim Ivy League title hopes alive with a 93-65 win over Penn at The Palestra on Saturday evening in Philadelphia. Though, considering Princeton and Yale won as well, the Lions’ hopes of playing in the Big Dance are on the brink of impossible.

The win, though, was CU’s 20th of the season. Alex Rosenberg led the way for the Lions with 26 points and Isaac Cohen chipped in eight, his second straight night in which he proved to be a capable scorer.

“It’s the best game we’ve played since I got here,” Columbia head coach Kyle Smith said.

Here are three thoughts from the Columbia win.

Feeling Rosey: Rosenberg started the night on fire for Columbia. He scored an and-one on his first attempt of the night. Then hit a layup and two subsequent threes. Not more than three minutes into the game, the senior had already scored all of CU’s 11 points. He was actually taken out of the game right after, but still finished the half with 19 points on 7-9 shooting.

“You should have seen the look he gave me when I took him out,” Smith said with a chuckle.

He scored the first four points of the second half, and after that, the Lions rolled to, what at one point, became a 31-point lead.

“I was open, the first one was a traditional one. When the transition three went in, I was like, ‘This is nice. This is cool,’” Rosenberg said. “It’s good to get off to an early start. It’s probably my best start of the season.”

Lights out: Last night it was Princeton that flat-out out-shot the Lions en route to an 88-83 win that wasn’t as close as the final score indicates. On Saturday it was Columbia that did the same to the Quakers. The Lions’ offense was smooth all evening, committing just four turnovers and shooting 64.2% from the field.

The only CU regular to not get in on the fun was Luke Petrasek, who didn’t score a point. But while Maodo Lo has seemed to lose his long-range touch of late, he got to the rim with ease several times, including a coast-to-coast play with time running out in the first half. He made a nice dish in transition to Nate Hickman, who was able to dunk it and create a 24-point second-half separation.

Four players finished in double figures, and 15 players got on the court for Columbia.

“They set the tone and showed what a veteran team does on Saturday night late in the season after losing,” Penn head coach Steve Donahue said. “I thought they were locked in.”

It should be noted that players like C.J. Davis, Kyle Castlin and Lukas Meisner, all of whom have seen significant minutes this season, combined to play just 11 minutes.

We Like Ike: Playing from basically the center spot on offense, Isaac Cohen scored 27 points on the weekend, including eight points on Saturday night. Much of his success on Saturday came on one-on-one situations in the low block. It’s where he said that he feels comfortable.

After Columbia beat Wofford in the beginning of the season, Smith said he told Cohen that if Columbia were to do what he thinks they’re still capable of doing, then Cohen would be a big part of that. And he proved that this weekend, even as though he was sick and battled through a postgame press conference with a raspy voice.

He was 4-4 from the field on Saturday night. He dished out five assists and collected five rebounds.

“When we put four guys that can really shoot the ball, and I’m in the middle, I have just have a lot of space,” Cohen said. “I was just a little more aggressive this weekend.”

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