Men’s Basketball Drops Another Close Game

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All hail Patrick Tapé!

Wondering how the Lions did last night? Staff writer Abby Rubel went to the game so you could do your homework instead. 

The Lions (1-7) dropped another close game Monday, losing to Quinnipiac (3-6) 89-87 in the final four seconds. This is their sixth loss in a row and the fifth by 10 or fewer points.

The team quickly jumped out in front of Quinnipiac, leading by nine five minutes into the first (their largest lead of the game), and in fact were ahead for most of the half. But the Bobcats never got too far behind and snatched the lead with 6:18 left before halftime. Junior Quinton Adlesh quickly responded with a three-pointer, and with a little over four minutes to go, the Lions seemed like they were pulling ahead. Junior Lukas Meisner and sophomore Mike Smith both contributed layups to put the Lions up by five, but, thanks to two three-pointers from Quinnipiac first-year Jacob Rigoni, the Lions went into the locker room with a two-point lead.

The second half featured a fierce struggle over the lead, which changed 13 times. Columbia first-year Jaron Faulds was especially impactful, making 5-6 of his field goal attempts despite only playing for six minutes. With a little over three minutes to go in the game, senior Nate Hickman hit a jumper to put the Lions up three, 87-84. They maintained that lead until, with 1:27 left on the clock, Quinnipiac first-year Rich Kelly hit a three pointer of his own to tie it up at 87. As the game’s final seconds wound down, Kelly put the ball up again to give the Bobcats a two-point lead despite a last-second three-point attempt from Smith.

There were some bright spots in what was generally a frustrating game for the Lions. All five of the Lions’ starters contributed double-digit points. Mike Smith played for all 40 minutes and scored 20 points, 15 of which came in the first half. The Lions were also able to score 10 points off of fast breaks, while the Bobcats did not score any.

But the Lions failed dismally in one key area: protecting the perimeter. While Columbia has allowed its opponents to make only 38% of their three-pointers so far this season, the Bobcats made exactly 50% of their shots from behind the arc–about 15% better than their season average. Kelly was a particular threat, scoring 18 of his 22 total points from downtown. The Lions, on the other hand, performed to their average three-point success rate of 37%.

The Lions take the court on Thursday against Stony Brook, a team they beat last year by seven points. We can only hope that they’ll put these last two weeks of tough losses behind them. Otherwise, this could be a frustrating season for both the fans and the team.

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