Updated on Feb. 15 at 10:34 p.m.
After a close first half, the Lions took control in the second to take down Dartmouth and improve to .500 in Ivy play.
“Typical Ivy League back-to-back—tough, hard-fought game—and Dartmouth, they're tough,” Columbia head coach Kyle Smith said. “That was a good game for us.”
Columbia (14-10, 4-4 Ivy) dropped both of its games against the Big Green (9-13, 2-6 Ivy) in 2012-13. But led by sophomore guard Maodo Lo's 22 points and a 19-point effort from junior forward Alex Rosenberg, the Lions came out on top this time around. In addition to leading his team in scoring, Lo also did a good job defensively on Dartmouth guard Alex Mitola, who scored a combined 38 points in the Big Green's two wins last season.
“Mitola's been the Lion killer and we let him get off to a 3-for-3 start,” Smith said. “We didn't hang out heads and go, ‘here we go again,’ we stayed the course—we yelled a little bit, and I broke a clipboard—and then from then on Maodo ... did a really good job on him.”
Lo took responsibility for Mitola's strong start, adding that forcing the Big Green guard off the three-point line was a major point of emphasis.
“All of them were on me, so I was just trying to sit on him and fight through all the screens,” Lo said. “Chase him off the three point line, make him shoot twos—and it worked out in the second half, better than in the first half.”
Despite Mitola's hot shooting from beyond the arc in the early going, neither team led by more than two until a pair of free throws by Dartmouth forward John Golden gave the Big Green a 24-20 advantage with 6:40 to play in the first half.
But the Lions quickly struck back. Lo hit a three on the Lions' next possession, and junior forward Alex Rosenberg knotted it at 24-24, going 1-for-2 at the free throw line. After the Big Green got back ahead, a four-point play by Rosenberg evened the score yet again at 28-28.
First-year Jeff Coby had a chance to tie it at 30 from the charity stripe after another Dartmouth score. He made the first and missed the second, but got his own rebound and laid it in to send Columbia into the break up 31-30.
The Lions came out strong to start the second half, going up by six 4:54 into the half on a jumper by first-year forward Luke Petrasek.
The Lions kept pushing, and went up by 12 with less than 10 minutes to go in the game.
Despite some pressure from Dartmouth, Columbia maintained a comfortable lead the rest of the way.
“I thought we executed well until about the eight minute mark, and they brought another little whammy at us,” Smith said. “We hung in there, and made our free throws, and got the W.”
The 69-59 win gave the Light Blue its fourth Ivy win, matching last season's total.
Columbia will face Brown and Yale at home next weekend.