Sports | Men's Basketball

Lions defeat American in final game before Thanksgiving

  • Kiera Wood / Senior Staff Photographer
    Petr patter | First-year forward Luke Petrasek scored 13 points in the first half.

Updated 11/27 at 2:33 p.m.

Even a 14-point Columbia win wasn’t without its tense moments.

After letting American (1-4) back into the game in the second half, the Lions (4-3) managed to make some timely shots and hung on for a 61-47 win. 

Neither team generated much offensively in the early going, more than content to play a slow, halfcourt game. But after hitting just one of their first six field goal attempts, the Lions started knocking them down, making 12 of 20 over the rest of the half, including four of nine from beyond the arc. A dunk and layup on back-to-back possessions by first-year forward Luke Petrasek pushed the Lions’ lead to a game-high 18, and they led 33-20 at halftime. 

“It looks like so far, when we’ve stayed with our offense, we’ve played well,” junior forward Alex Rosenberg, who scored 11 points in the first half, said. “Everyone gets easy shots.”

But, as has become the norm with the Light Blue, the big lead didn’t last. 

American knocked down five of its first six shots after the break—three from guard Darius Gardner, who led the Eagles with 15 points and three steals—cutting its deficit to just six points. Back-to-back treys from Petrasek and junior guard Meiko Lyles pushed Columbia’s lead back to 13, but the Lions began missing shots again. A steal and layup from center Tony Wroblicky cut the Eagles’ deficit back to six with 7:19 to play, as American hung within striking distance.

Lions head coach Kyle Smith credited Columbia’s defense for keeping it in front during the second half, during which the team made just six field goals.

He also pointed to a “hustle play” by Rosenberg with a little under nine minutes to go and Columbia up by nine as a momentum changer. Rosenberg reacted quickly to grab the rebound of a missed three-pointer by Petrasek and was pushed out of bounds, drawing a foul.

“We’re starting to play that way,” Smith said. “Where you’re playing with aggression. Where you’re not afraid to fail.”

Coming out of a timeout, the Lions again got a couple of key back-to-back swishes. Sophomore guard Maodo Lo made a layup, and followed it up with a three to put the Light Blue up by 13 with under 2:30 to play. The Americans were forced to take quick threes and foul, and the Lions managed to hang on for the win.

“It’s a sign of our maturity,” Smith said.

Petrasek led the Light Blue with a career-high 19 points and four boards, while Rosenberg pitched in with 11 and Lo with 13.

The Lions are next in action Sunday at Elon.

muneeb.alam@columbiaspectator.com | @muneebalamcu

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Anonymous posted on

"Hung on" for a 14-pt. win!

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Anonymous posted on

Good game lions! On to Elon

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Mighty Duck posted on

Which shows not everything is wrong with Athletics at Columbia!
Congratulations!

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CU True Blue posted on

Watched this one last night.

Good victory for the Lions. A balanced attack, good defense, nice job on the boards, and a lot of patience and maturity shown in the second half.

I'm excited about the season!

Just one question -- where is Steve Frankoski? I didn't see him last night, and he was one of our best shooters last season. Does anyone know?

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Anonymous posted on

It was a great game. I hate to say it, but I think this is a game we would have lost during the recent seasons. There is definitely a change in attitude and will to win. It is enjoyable watching this team and program grow.

In re to Frankoski, he had surgery this fall to correct a broken bone in his wrist. He is rehabbing it and should be back relatively soon. He's continuing to perform his role as team captain and was very involved as a leader from the bench last night. I look forward to him being able to play again sometime after winter break. He is a tremendous shooter.

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CU True Blue posted on

Watched this one last night.

Good victory for the Lions. A balanced attack, good defense, nice job on the boards, and a lot of patience and maturity shown in the second half.

I'm excited about the season!

Just one question -- where is Steve Frankoski? I didn't see him last night, and he was one of our best shooters last season. Does anyone know?

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Anonymous posted on

True Blue: since you asked again, Mr. Frankoski will be playing for the Ivy portion of our season. He was injured and is rehabbing.

This looks like a good team - let's hope we can keep it together after some other Columbia teams have failed to impress, shall we say.

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Anonymous posted on

See here is a clear example of why our athletic community at CU has problems. We compete strongly against #1 ranked Michigan St, and lose then we turn around against American U at home and struggle. Our coaches have gotta put a system in place offensively and defensively that breeds consistency in order to contend for an IVY title. If we don't our athletic program will never get over the hump. Im sorry I was at the game AU was small, weak and several NYC HS top 5 teams could have beaten them. We should have maintained a 20 pt lead and rested our starters and given the bench some work.

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