Updated on Jan. 31 at 11:05 p.m.
Columbia dropped its first Ivy game of the season on Friday, as its six-game winning streak came to an end with a 69-59 loss to Yale.
Yale (8-9, 2-1 Ivy) forward Justin Sears led all scorers with 22 points, while junior forward Alex Rosenberg led the way for Columbia (13-7, 2-1 Ivy) with 17 in the rough-and-tumble affair. There was a combined total of 58 fouls called, as both teams scored close to half of their points at the free-throw line.
“It was just a really physical game,” Lion head coach Kyle Smith said. “We had our chances, and we didn’t take care of the ball well enough or shoot the ball well enough.”
Even the refs got involved in the fracas.
With Yale holding a double-digit lead and 14:14 to play in the game, a bizarre sequence took place as Columbia was getting the ball out in transition.
Rosenberg ran into an official and fell to the ground while attempting to catch a pass, and Bulldog guard Javier Duren aggressively followed him to the floor. Duren fouled Rosenberg hard as the ball came loose, and words were exchanged after a minor scuffle.
The sequence led to a long delay, as the referees consulted the video replay. They ultimately decided to call a pair of technicals on both teams.
Smith voiced his displeasure at the delay and the entire sequence after the game, though he added that he did not have a clear look.
At that point the Lions were behind by double digits, but the Light Blue came out of the gate strong—jumping out to a quick 8-2 lead.
Yale quickly got back into it.
The Bulldogs evened it at 8-8 with 12:14 on the clock after a mini-run of their own, and began to pull away after a back-and-forth stretch. A Sears free throw gave the Elis their largest lead of the half, 22-16, but Columbia cut into its deficit to make it 23-20 at halftime.
Yale took control after the intermission, extending its lead and eventually jumping ahead by double digits early in the second half.
The Lions slowly clawed their way back, getting a boost when Sears’ fourth personal sent him to the bench with 10:17 to go.
“Obviously he played great,” Smith said of the Bulldog star forward, who is averaging 15.2 points per game. “He’s a very effective player.”
Though Columbia got to within three while Sears was out of the game, the visitors were never able to close the gap.
Yale put it away in the final minutes, coming away with a double-digit win.