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Arpi Youssoufian for Spectator

Junior forward Alex Rosenberg led all scorers with 22 points in a decisive Columbia victory.

Updated on March 8 at 4:40 p.m.

The men's basketball team trounced the Quakers at home on Friday, 74-55, securing a winning record in Ivy play.

Columbia (19-11, 8-5 Ivy) avenged last month's loss to Penn (8-18, 4-8), guaranteeing the best finish in league play for the Lions since the 1992-93 season. The Light Blue built up a sizeable lead in the first 20 minutes before pulling away in the second half and turning the game into a blowout.

“I think our guys, they stayed with the game plan,” Columbia head coach Kyle Smith said. “We had some silly turnovers that cost us some points—[junior forward Alex] Rosenberg had two in the backcourt—but we settled down after that.” 

The sloppy first half featured a number of airballs, 13 turnovers, 25 fouls, and even a missed dunk by Quaker forward Dylan Jones.

Despite untidy play in the early going, Columbia was ahead comfortably for most of the first 20 minutes—leading by as many as 14—though Penn guard Tony Hicks hit a three as time expired to make it 40-30 Lions going into the break.

A three-pointer by junior center Cory Osetkowski put the Light Blue back up by 14 early in the second half as the Lions started to hit a groove. Osetkowski, who had just 24 three-point attempts in 29 games going into the contest, made two-of-five from downtown against Penn.

“They were sucking in on defense, and left me wide open on the outside,” Osetkowski said. “So if the opportunity presents itself, I'll take it.”

Another trey, this time from junior guard Steve Frankoski, gave Columbia a 58-35 lead at the 13:47 mark and capped off a 10-0 Light Blue run.

But the ugliness of the first half reared its head again in the second with 7:53 to play. 

As he was getting back on defense, Hicks punched Columbia junior guard Meiko Lyles, and after a lengthy video review the Penn guard was ejected for the jab to Lyles' face. Hicks was ejected at Levien last year as well after picking up a pair of technicals.

“I didn't actually see it, [associate head coach] Carlin Hartman saw it,” Smith said, adding that he was incredulous at first despite the fact that Hartman backed up Lyles' account of the incident. “Meiko was like, ‘he punched me in the face,' or something, and I said, ‘no he didn't,'—I was kind of rude.”

But Smith decided to burn a timeout and check, and the officials ultimately gave Hicks the hook.

Though Lyles briefly lost his cool, the Lions quickly refocused and Columbia stayed ahead comfortably the rest of the way, closing out the 74-55 win.

The Lions will be back in action at 7 p.m. on Saturday against Princeton.

eli.schultz@columbiaspectator.com | @CUSpecSports

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