The Mid-Range Jump Shot Around NYC

The death of the mid-range jump shot is one of the most overwrought storylines in college hoops. Purists seem to think that it left us for good at some point and is never coming back. That’s not the case at all. It just turns out that it’s pretty inefficient to take one. Continue reading “The Mid-Range Jump Shot Around NYC”

Preview: Columbia vs. LIU Brooklyn

There is no Q&A for tomorrow night’s game because well, LIU (0-4) and Columbia (4-2) are two teams we see a lot here on the site. The Blackbirds are still looking for their first win of the season and return to the Wellness Recreation and Athletics Center (WRAC) is exactly what the doctor ordered. Unfortunately, the opponent could be a little easier. Columbia has some good wins, and some odd losses, but the Lions certainly have the talent to make this game close. It’s a great local game. Here are some things to watch for.

Continue reading “Preview: Columbia vs. LIU Brooklyn”

Season At A Glance — Columbia

This is the third of what will eventually be capsules for each of the NYC teams when I’m sure their season has concluded.

Team: Columbia

Record: 15-15 (4-10 in the Ivy League)

Season High: Sweeping round-robin at Loyola Marymount

Season Low: Losing at Brown 94-68

Really Good At: Defensive Rebounding — Columbia was strong on the defensive glass all season thanks to the efforts of Mark Cisco, John Daniels and Blaise Staab. They were first in the Ivy League during conference play in defensive rebounding and 20th in the country overall.

Struggled With: The rest of defense — A defense that looked very strong in non-conference play struggled during Ivy League play. The Lions failed to force turnovers or prevent opponents from getting to the line and it resulted in the second worst defense in the league during conference play.

Key Losses:

  • Matt Johnson (defensive stopper that started a few early season games)
  • Blaise Staab (quality rebounder and strong body in the paint)
  • Chris Crockett (three-point specialist and extra ball handler off the bench)
  • Steve Egee (captain and played with a lot of heart, was third on team in DR%)

Key Returnees:

  • Brian Barbour, Jr., G (All-Ivy quality point guard, 15.5 PPG, 4.5 APG)
  • Noruwa Agho, Sr., G (played only two games due to knee injury)
  • Mark Cisco, Jr., C (10 PPG, 7.2 RPG)
  • Meiko Lyles, So., G (10.6 PPG, 43.9% from three)

Key Quotes:

“Meiko being able to play 30-plus minutes a game is important. Barbour going through two years of playing that way it’s important. … We’ve got a little more experience that should help.” — Kyle Smith

“It definitely gives us some confidence. Going into this year we hadn’t really had a taste of being in games and being competitive in a couple games. We have experience now. That always helps.” — Brian Barbour

“We have high expectations going into next year. Not many people would go 4-10 and be excited for next year, but I think with this team it’s going to be a very good year for us.” — Barbour

Outlook: Good. There are reasons for Columbia fans to be excited for 2012-13. First of all most of the talent will return. Better yet it’ll be complemented by some players that are talented in their own right. Adding Steve Frankoski and Noruwa Agho to the base built up this season should give Kyle Smith a deep rotation next season. The question becomes can this team get tougher? Can it win the close games? Some of that is luck, but some of it is finding a way to get the best shot possible under two minutes, making free throws and locking down defensively. Still, it’s possible that Brian Barbour and Mark Cisco could both be All-Ivy performers next season. Meiko Lyles gives Columbia a third option and with a year of experience Alex Rosenberg, Cory Osetowski and Noah Springwater should be able to provide help off the bench. How does Agho integrate back into the rotation? What happens with a healthy Frankoski? Those are good questions for Smith to have to deal with next season.

Columbia finishes out season on high note

It wouldn’t have fit into Columbia’s season if it wasn’t close, so the Lions let Dartmouth hang around for 38 minutes before two big threes from Brian Barbour and Meiko Lyles finished off the Big Green.

“It’s crazy. I thought we played a tough game and we couldn’t get away from them,” said Columbia head coach Kyle Smith. “You look at the box score it just looks like we played an unbelievable game and we barely could get it done.”

Columbia shot 7-15 from three, had 14 assists to eight turnovers and held Dartmouth to 1-11 from distance, but still had to come up with some big shots down the stretch because of some little things. Things like missing the front end of a 1-and-1 and shooting 12-18 from the line overall as a team.

Those are the types of things that make Columbia’s final record of 15-15 and 4-10 in the Ivy League so deceiving. The Lions were in all but two games this season in league play, they just had trouble closing games out. Going all the way back to the first weekend of league play against Penn and Princeton up until Friday night’s overtime loss to Harvard, Columbia found lots of ways to lose nail biters.

That’s also why this group, which loses four seniors from the rotation but no key parts, has so much to look forward to. A year of development for Lyles, Cisco and Barbour and the freshman can only pay dividends moving forward. Noruwa Agho, who wasn’t honored at Senior Night as Columbia hopes his waiver request for another season will be approved, could also rejoin the Lions along with Steve Frankoski. Put it all together and there should be talent and depth throughout the roster.

Hopefully another year of experience will help with all the close games.

“I don’t know how to coach that out of us, but we’re going to get that out,” said Smith about Columbia’s tendency to let opponents get back into games. “I don’t know what it is, just have to be a little tougher probably, a little grittier.”

But on Saturday night it was all about the current group of seniors. Smith started the four seniors that were honored at Levien and they held down the fort along with Barbour for the first four minutes of the game. The set up led to Columbia getting 44 points of the bench.

“I was excited to start the seniors because it could also shorten the game,” Smith said. “I could get them four, five minutes instead of trying to fit them in. I thought it would give some of the other guys a little blow.”

Fan favorite Steve Egee played 17 minutes, scored four points and grabbed four rebounds.

“It’s great to go out on a win like that,” Egee said. “We’ve had some tough losses in league. To get a win to end the season and especially the four seniors’ careers, it’s really something special. I thought everybody played tough tonight.”

Lyles finished with 23 points and Mark Cisco had 15 points and nine boards. Barbour finished his junior campaign with nine points, five assists and one turnover in 36 minutes.

“I’m glad we go it done for [the seniors] to send them out on a good note. They work harder than anybody,” Lyles said.

Jvonte Brooks led Dartmouth with 17 points, including 9-10 shooting from the free throw line. His physical play down low forced both Cisco and Corey Osetkowski into foul trouble. Osetkowski committed four fouls in 13 minutes. Cisco fouled out after 30 minutes.

First half fireworks lead Columbia past Brown

Even before the game started it was going to be an uphill battle for Brown at Levien Gymnasium. Leading scorer and the team heartbeat Sean McGonagill was unable to play due to injury and the Bears have no way to replace him.

Overmatched Brown tried to pack it in against Mark Cisco, play slowly and hope the Lions missed their shots – and boy did that backfire. The Lions shot 11-18 from three in the first half and put on a dominating performance on the way to an 86-60 victory on Saturday night.

“We played really well,” said Columbia head coach Kyle Smith. “When that happens it’s fun for a coach.”

Columbia (14-9, 3-4) played its best offense of the season in the first half on the way to 47 points in 29 possessions (1.62 points per possession). Not until 16 minutes into the game did  the Lions committed their first turnover of the half, on a travel by John Daniels after a rebound, and they’d already collected 11 of their 16 first half assists.

It was the shooting of Brian Barbour (2-3), Meiko Lyles (5-7) and Chris Crockett (3-5) from three that drove the offense forward in the first half. Barbour found ways to be a creative playmaker. Recognizing that Brown didn’t have a player who could stay in front of him Barbour drove and kicked to teammates on the perimeter and finished with eight assists in the first 20 minutes. Barbour finished with a career-high nine assists in the game and 16 points in just 25 minutes.

“He’s been really developing as a point guard,” Smith said about Barbour. “We had to add some ways to score. Sometimes it takes time. We added it six weeks, hopefully we’re seeing the result of it and gave ourselves a little more chance.”

Crockett scored a career-high 18 points on 6-10 three-point shooting for the game and Lyles added 17. Cisco played only 18 minutes, but he scored 10 points and grabbed five boards.

“Shots went in,” Crockett said. “My guys found me. We pretty much played within the offense and it was perfect. There wasn’t a lot of one-on-one. There was a lot of ball movement and we knocked shots down.”

Coming into the game Columbia had struggled shooting the three both in Ivy League play at home, the Lions bucked both of those trends in one game, tying a season-high with 16 threes.

“It was frustrating,” Crockett said. “We knew that these shots would fall eventually. Unfortunately we had to get a couple losses, but now that they are falling it does feel great and hopefully that can carry over to the next three home games.”

Brown (7-17, 1-6) head coach Jesse Agel tried to stem the tide, but with a depleted roster that includes just nine healthy players there wasn’t much he could do. Even when his team made a smart play, such as fouling late in the final Columbia possession before half, it backfired. Barbour’s acrobatic layup gave the Lions a 23-point lead at the break.

The Lions didn’t let up during the second half either. The threes kept coming and Columbia got the lead out to as many as 33 points before Brown was able to stem the tide. The Bears did shoot well from three, hitting 10-19, but they also shot 14-43 inside the arc. Matt Sullivan led Brown with 17 points on 6-11 shooting, including 4-6 from three.

SGOTW: Columbia vs. Cornell

Most of the Ivy League likes to get their home-and-home series between travel partners done early in the season. Thus on Saturday Cornell and Columbia will meet for the second time in as many games. This time the game is in Ithica, New York. The Big Red already beat Princeton at home, so they’re obviously dangerous and they’ll be looking to get revenge for the Lions’ 61-56 victory exactly a week ago. I asked The Cornell Basketball Blog to answer some questions about the team before the game to prepare for the epic rematch.

Continue reading “SGOTW: Columbia vs. Cornell”