VILLANOVA, Pa. — After the first half, the Lions lead Villanova, 26-22. Columbia has capitalized on a number of Wildcat turnovers to put itself in a good position after 20 minutes of play.
Sophomore Alex Rosenburg and senior guard Brian Barbour have both been at the forefront of the Light Blue defensive effort. Rosenburg has done a good job of using his length to seal off passing lines, while Barbour's relentless defense has also made things difficult for the Wildcats.
The biggest blemish on the Lions' otherwise strong performance has been shooting. Columbia is shooting well below 50 percent from the field, a number that will need to improve for the Lions to hang on to their four-point halftime advantage.
The men’s basketball team will face the Villanova Wildcats tonight in the Lions' fourth game of the season. Columbia (2-1) is coming off a disappointing loss to Marist on Saturday night, in which the Red Foxes came out on top in a close battle. Villanova (3-1) also heads into tonight's game following its first loss, which came Friday night against Alabama.
The Light Blue's performance against Villanova will show whether or not the Lions can bounce back after a close loss, something they were unable to do last season. You can see our three keys after the jump and follow the action on Twitter @CUSpecSports.
1. Grab the boards
Despite the superior size of their frontcourt, the Lions were outrebounded by Marist on Saturday. Against Villanova's fast, small lineup, the Light Blue must assert its dominance under the basket if it hopes to win.
2. Keep up the pace
Villanova is known to play a faster offense, focusing on quick plays and fast break points. Against Marist's speed, the Lions performed decently well, and stopping their opponents in transition must once again be an emphasis tonight against Villanova.
3. Barbour's groove
Against the Crimson Tide, the Wildcats struggled to contain Alabama's junior guard Trevor Releford, who tallied 25 points and shot 5-5 from beyond the arc. Although the Lions' frontcourt must perform well tonight against Villanova, it will also be important for senior guard Brian Barbour to get into a groove. Barbour's drives to the basket and outside shooting will have a big influence in whether or not the Light Blue is successful tonight.