NEW YORK — Penn basketball was live from New York City on Saturday night, yet the evening was anything but funny.
Columbia obliterated the Red and Blue, 83-56, at Levien Gymnasium, using 10 first-half three-pointers and a dominant offensive performance to run Penn out of the gym. The blowout defeat for the Quakers came on the heels of an impressive 71-69 comeback win over Cornell on Friday and dropped Penn below .500 in conference once again.
The Red and Blue (7-12, 2-3 Ivy) scored off the opening tip, but few, if any, highlights remained in a tumultuous first half. The Quakers shot 7-for-22 from the field, turning the ball over five times while only freshman forward Sam Jones scored more than three points before the break.
Jones was the sole bright spot of the night for the Quakers. The freshman was the only player to find any consistency against the Columbia defense, a unit that came into the game ranked second in points against in the Ivy League. The rookie forward added five three-pointers after halftime for a total of seven, scoring a career-high 23 points one night after he hit a go-ahead trey in the final minute against Cornell (11-11, 3-3).
Jones’ performance was even more impressive after coach Jerome Allen revealed after the game that the freshman has been playing with torn ligaments in his elbow.
“I think it’s documented what he brings to the table in terms of being a legitimate threat on the perimeter,” Allen said. “I wasn’t shocked how he shot the ball.”
Jones joked that the torn ligaments were helping his shooting, saying that the injury wasn’t a big deal.
While Jones excelled from beyond the arc, Columbia (11-9, 3-3) played like a team full of three-point shooters, draining jumpers left and right. After Penn’s momentary 2-0 lead, the Light Blue led for the rest of the game after a three-pointer from freshman guard Kyle Castlin.
While Columbia was led by its star guard Maodo Lo, who scored 10 points in the opening frame on his way to 16 total, the Lions’ attack was well-balanced, featuring six players with at least nine points.
“I’ll give them some credit for making some shots but I’ll also put some of the onus on us,” Allen said of Penn’s three-point defense. “The gameplan is what it’s been pretty much since the start of the season.
“We just didn’t execute it very well tonight.”
Columbia carried a 46-19 lead into halftime, thanks to 17-for-30 shooting in the first half as well as a 19-9 rebounding advantage. Unfortunately for the Red and Blue, things got worse in the second half.
The Quakers began the half with five missed layups in the first two minutes, unable to make an even small dent in the sizable deficit. Columbia extended its lead to 33 points early in the half and led by 24 points or more for the entire second half.
Penn broke a streak of 78 straight games with at least 10 turnovers as Columbia seemed to ease off defensively down the stretch. The Red and Blue had also turned the ball over at least 10 times in 34 straight Ivy League games, both streaks dating back to March 2012.
But Penn simply had more missed shots to supplement fewer turnovers, shooting just 31.5 percent from the field. Columbia has had the opposite results in Ivy weekends of Penn this season, losing both Friday games while coming back with blowout wins on Saturday.
Penn will have the chance to regroup next weekend at home, facing Yale and Brown, two squads which are at the top and bottom of the Ivy League standings, respectively. Allen hopes that the team’s blowout loss will lead to a better drive in the future.
“I thank God for the nights I was beat up because it allowed me to say, ‘What do I need to do in order to prevent this from happening in the future,’” he said. “I’m confident our guys will look at it from the same way.”Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.