Sports | Men's Basketball

Men’s basketball defeats Cornell on the road

  • Kiera Wood / Senior Staff Photographer
    Driving force | Junior center Cory Osetkowski scored a career high 19 points and pulled down nine rebounds in the Light Blue's victory over Cornell.

The men’s basketball team (13-6, 2-0 Ivy) won its sixth straight game on Saturday, 74-58 over Cornell (1-15, 0-2 Ivy).

The final scoreline belied the game’s competitiveness—the first 37 minutes were played within six points. Columbia finally managed to pull ahead by eight on a layup from junior forward Alex Rosenberg.

“We really had to compete and fight hard,” sophomore guard Maodo Lo said, adding that he thought the Big Red team members played with “a chip on their shoulder” after Columbia’s home win over the Big Red a week ago.

After the layup put Columbia ahead 61-53, Cornell began fouling. But the Lions, as they have for the last three seasons, knocked down their free throws to keep the Big Red from climbing back into the game.

Rosenberg scored at least 17 points for the sixth straight game, while Lo led the Light Blue with 20 points. Junior center Cory Osetkowski scored a career-high 19 to complement his nine rebounds, leading Columbia to a 38-25 advantage in points in the paint against a smaller Cornell lineup.

“We know he’s a big force down low, and he showed that today,” Lo said. “We made sure that we were feeding him the ball. He played with a lot of confidence.”

Before Osetkowski caught fire, the Lions had some difficulty dealing with Cornell’s full-court press, which had given them some trouble in the last few minutes of last week’s win as well. But the Light Blue made some adjustments and ended up taking advantage of the pressure for some easy baskets.

“We kept it simple in our press break,” head coach Kyle Smith said. “We didn’t have as much clutter and confusion.”

Smith added that when the Lions broke Cornell’s press for some easy layups, he thought it forced the Big Red to back off a little.

Columbia will next be in action Friday at Yale.

Eli Schultz and Myles Simmons contributed reporting.

muneeb.alam@columbiaspectator.com | @CUSpecSports

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Columbia's win over Cornell was its fifth in a row. It was its sixth. Spectator regrets the error.

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Anonymous posted on

Great game. Congratulations!

The Lions are looking great.

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CU True Blue posted on

We looked good today, especially in the last eight minutes or so.
Cory had a great game, and we seemed better prepared for the press. As a long suffering CU fan, it was nice to watch the opposition (for once) fold down the stretch.

I've seen about 10 games thus far (either online or on TV), and believe you me, this team is different. Several different weapons, poise in close games, great chemistry, and good defensive rebounding -- a legit contender for the Ivy crown this year. Harvard and Princeton are both beatable, and I imagine we'll win 2-3 games just from red-hot three-point shooting.

Now that we have our first road win, the question is whether we can take two next weekend at Yale and Brown. On paper, there's no reason we can't, but as we all know, the game isn't played on paper. If we start off 4-0, given that we've played phenomenal basketball at home and that we typically match up very well with Harvard, an NCAA tournament berth could be on the cards.

Before you say I'm deranged, please watch a few of the team's highlights to date. But so as not to horse-cart things, we obviously need to focus on Friday's game at Yale. In my opinion, the Bulldogs are the better of the two teams we'll be facing next weekend, and I believe it's to our advantage to face them on the first night of the b2b.

We've had our share of difficulties against Yale in recent years, especially on the road, so a win on Friday would speak volumes about the team. Regardless of Friday's result, we obviously should not take Brown lightly, but I like our chances against the Bears if we beat Yale. As the old sports cliche goes, we need to take things "one game at a time," but I do like our chances. Under no circumstances can we afford to lose both games.

Coach Smith is building something great here, and I, for one, am very excited about this season and beyond.

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Larry posted on

This team continues to show its resourcefulness, adaptability, discipline. And, they still don't have all of the players healthy.
And, the coach and his staff seem to know the strengths of individuals, making astute substitutions.
Even the marginally-interested students will find the games worth attending.

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