Men’s basketball fell 69-54 in a road matchup with Navy on Friday.
Navy’s final bucket, a ferocious alley-oop dunk by forward Tom Lacey with just under a minute to play, punctuated a lopsided contest where it led Columbia for all but 30 seconds.
The play capped a second half where the Lions (3-5) never quite challenged the Midshipmen (5-6), shooting just 10-29 from the field in that period. A three-pointer from first-year guard Mike Smith made it 48-41 with 11:05 left, but that was the closest they came to cutting the deficit just before Navy keyed a 17-4 run that all but sealed the deal.
Columbia senior forward Luke Petrasek kicked off the scoring with a sweeping lefty layup, but had to sit out most of the first half after picking up three badly-timed fouls. Navy exploited Petrasek’s absence by working the ball down low to forwards George Kiernan and Lacey, who both heavily contributed to Navy’s 16 point advantage in the paint.
"We just couldn't create much flow," Engles said. "We got in some foul trouble, and it was just hard to keep a group of guys on the floor who could perform consistently."
Engles responded to Petrasek's foul troubles on the defensive end by trying a stretch 2-3 zone, a deviation from the squad’s usual man-to-man approach, but Navy was able to find gaps inside. The home team was able to shoot 61 percent from inside the arc on the night.
The Midshipmen amassed a 28-16 lead with 7:40 left in the first, after their pesky half court press forced three consecutive Light Blue turnovers, and they continued to devastate Columbia with points off turnovers, which accounted for a third of their total offense.
Navy carried a 40-30 lead into the break.
Just 20 seconds into the second half, Petrasek was whistled for his fourth foul, a major blow to Columbia’s hopes for a comeback. The Lions made a few small pushes, but never got closer than seven the rest of the way.
One redeeming highlight for the Light Blue, however, was the play of first-year forward Patrick Tape, who tallied seven points and led all rebounders, grabbing ten in just 13 minutes of run. He had played only four minutes all season prior to this contest.
Navy guard Shawn Anderson led all scorers with 21 points on the night, and Lacey tallied 11.
The guard duo of Smith and junior leading scorer Nate Hickman carried over half of the Light Blue’s offensive output, combining for 31 points on 12-for-26 shooting.
Columbia will next host Division III Manhattanville in Levien on Sunday, with tipoff set for noon.