Sports | Men's Basketball

Men’s basketball falls to Princeton at home to close season

  • Kiera Wood / Senior Staff Photographer
    Big Man on Campus | Junior center Cory Osetkowksi logged one of his best performances of the season, putting up 19 points in the Lions’ loss.

Updated on March 8 at 11:46 p.m.

Columbia ended one of its best seasons in recent memory on a sour note, falling to Princeton at home, 74-64.

The Lions’ (19-12, 8-6 Ivy) loss was one of the more lopsided defeats of their conference season, as the Tigers (19-8, 7-6 Ivy) were in control pretty much cover-to-cover, aside from a brief Columbia run in the middle of the first half. Columbia had trouble getting things going on both sides of the ball. The Lions were 0-for-9 from three in the first half, and gave Princeton a lot of open looks, particularly in the open floor.

“Defense in transition was very poor tonight,” Columbia head coach Kyle Smith said. “That was disappointing, because that’s not getting beat, that’s beating yourself.”

Princeton jumped ahead early behind guard T.J. Bray, who finished with 25 to lead all scorers, and led by double digits, 21-11, with 9:11 left in the half.

But the Lions rallied and after a dunk and an easy two in the paint from junior center Cory Osetkowski cut the Tigers lead to 23-20. Sophomore guard Isaac Cohen then made it 23-22 with a reverse layup.

The Tigers had a scary moment on their next possession. Princeton forward Hans Brase faked Osetkowski into the air, and the 6-foot-11 Light Blue center landed on top of him as Brase crumpled to the floor. Brase would eventually walk off under his own power, and was back on the court to start the second half. 

Princeton played well without Brase, and entered the break up by eight, 32-24, after a late first-half push.

Osetkowski cut the Tigers lead to six with the first basket of the second, and though Columbia got within five shortly thereafter, Princeton dug in and didn’t let the Light Blue get any closer than that.

Osetkowksi, who finished with 19 points, was one of Columbia’s bright spots as Princeton made things difficult for the Lions. 

“We both run similar offenses, so we know how to guard their stuff, they know how to guard our stuff,” Osetkowski said. “They did a good job of denying and making us drive, and they were very sticky on the defensive end—sound defensively.”

With the Lions struggling to get into a groove, the Tigers led by double digits for much of the second half. Columbia kept competing until the final buzzer—Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson even said that “the last three minutes was different from the rest of the game”—but it was too little, too late as Princeton comfortably closed out the win. 

eli.schultz@columbiaspectator.com | @CUSpecSports

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Anonymous posted on

We were schooled last night. After Fridays great win most of the season ticket holders that surround my seats agreed (at a pre-game dinner in the Lou Gehrig Lounge) that we were going to win 20 games.
I love watching Princeton play. It is the way basketball should be played. Move without the ball, cut to the basket and wait for the pass and basket. I stopped counting the number of times we lost our man and the result was an easy basket.
You live by the 3, you die with the 3. I thought we were out-coached, and I love Coach Smith.The staff did a great recruiting job and everyone is back. That is the good news. The bad news is we need athletes, not just basketball players. The terrible loss at Harvard showed that. We win when we run, not having 35 second violations called. If they keep statistics I bet we lead the Ivy in shot clock violations.
It is encouraging that Cory had another strong game. Please recruit a mobile, strong power forward.

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Robert Pelletreau posted on

What I don't get is why the Columbia community isn't all effusive in it's praise of Coach Smith.... What he has done in his relatively short stint is establish a legitimate Ivy WINNING program! Doesn't anyone remember Armand Hill and Joe Jones and all the other losers? Can he coach football too?

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CC'11 posted on

Agree, Coach Smith is a great addition to Columbia athletics. The Lions are a very competitive team and they are a lot of fun to watch.
It was a great season! We should all be very happy.

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70's Alum posted on

It was a good season, and here's hoping for an even better one next year.

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Old Lion posted on

When our three point shots aren't falling we tend to tighten up and force things. But all in all, a very nice season with no seniors on the squad and everybody back. Missing Grant Mullins at PG for the last half of the Ivy season hurt. He doesn't get enough credit but sees the court well, runs the play clock and has a very good three point shot. Can't wait for next season. Kyle Smith is the real deal.

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Anonymous posted on

Great season, men! You made the Lions proud.

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Politico Lion posted on

Apparently the governor of NJ - Chris Christie threatened to shut down the GW Bridge unless the Tigers won.

But seriously, agreed that the Lions can only get better next year - I think all Columbia Lions fans can be very proud of our accomplishments this year. Kudos to the team, Coach Smith and maybe even Roar-ee the Lion Mascot.

I will mention that any year where we beat Princeton in NJ - and Penn at home by a great margin - that is a great year!

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