Lions Disembowel Quakers
Written by Bwog Staff
Like a phoenix, Columbia rises from the ashes of defeat. CML reports.
On Friday evening, thousands of faithful Columbia students poured into Levien gymnasium to watch the Lions take on conference powerhouse Penn. Despite losing the best player in recent Ivy League basketball history, Ibrahim Jaaber, to graduation, Penn came into the game with a 2-0 conference record, which recalled their three consecutive league titles, as well as the brief lead they held in the second half against Texas A&M in the tournament last year. A raucous rooting section, consisting of a squadron of cheerleaders, a smidgeon of a marching band, and a few regular Penn students were also in attendance. The Quakers had entered enemy territory.
For the first ten and the last thirty minutes, Columbia dominated the game. Penn’s once-respected perimeter D proved to be about as effective as the Maginot Line as K.J. Matsui and Niko Scott jacked up three after three. Meanwhile, the Quaker offense was fittingly pacifistic, missing almost all of its long-ranged shots and meeting with little more success as it closed in towards the basket. The Lions led by as many as 15 in the first half, and by halftime, it was 38-29.
Try as they might, Penn’s best offensive and defensive efforts couldn’t close the gap. It was reminiscent of the game against Cornell a couple weeks ago, except now Columbia was the team relentlessly maintaining and adding to the deficit. Stifling perimeter D and bad shooting limited the Quakers to a miserable 2-11 behind the arc, and a series of good possessions erased the dent made in the Lions’ lead by turnovers before halftime. A few quick interior passes to John Baumann led to a few glorious dunks, and soon enough the Quakers – who never led – were down by 20.
A hard foul against Baumann prompted cries of “This is not West Philly, Penn – this is basketball. There are rules!” A makeshift display of skill from the coterie of Penn cheerleaders drew the mantra of “FALL! FALL! FALL!” from the student section. A defiant feminine voice in the Penn section cheered a Quaker lay-up, then someone yelled, “The only reason you’re at an Ivy League school is because of your father’s money!” After several more minutes and several technical difficulties involving the clock, the game ended with the decisive score of 74-58, and all was good in the universe.
Everything except the results around the league: regrettably, Cornell eked out an 11-point victory over Princeton, leaving the Lions three games behind in the conference with nine contests left. The gory details can be found here.