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Men’s Basketball Battles Princeton but Comes Up Short on Saturday

Columbia men’s basketball went toe-to-toe with Princeton in front of 2,307 fans inside Schiller Court at Levien Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon, but fell to the first-place Tigers, 70-62.

The Lions (9-7, 0-3) clawed back to tie the game 47-47 with 11:16 to go but Princeton (15-1, 3-0) exploded on an 8-0 run to re-take momentum. Columbia was able to get the margin back within reach when a Blair Thompson lay-up trimmed Princeton’s lead to 64-60 with 3:39 to go. The Tigers closed out the victory with three baskets in the paint in the final two minutes.

Geronimo Rubio De La Rosa returned to action after missing the previous two games with an injury and tied his season-high with a team-best 19 points. The junior guard finished 8-of-14 from the field in 32 minutes of action. Avery Brown added 11 points while Thompson chipped in 10. 

The Tigers shot 50 percent from the field (26-of-52) but were held to just 70 points, 8.7 less than their season average. Columbia shot 13-of-31 in each half and finished with a 41.9 percent mark shooting.

Columbia and Princeton traded layups to start the game before the Tigers jumped out to a five-point lead at the 18:21 mark of the first half. Columbia was able to stay within a few points until Princeton built up a nine-point advantage at the 12:15 mark for their largest lead of the half.

The Lions chipped away at the Princeton lead throughout the rest of the first half. Trailing by eight with 2:11 remaining in the half, Rubio De La Rosa used back-to-back layups to trim Princeton’s lead in half. Nicolo Romanelli followed that up with a jumper that pulled the Lions within two with 1:11 remaining. Princeton finished off the first half with a three pointer to take a 37-32 lead into the break.

Rubio De La Rosa led the Lions’ scoring effort in the first half with eight points. He also pulled in three boards and was credited with three assists. Zavian McLean and Thompson each scored five in the first half.

Columbia came out shooting in the second half as Thompson and Rubio De La Rosa used two three-pointers to pull back within two points at the 15:56 mark. Rubio De La Rosa made a layup to tie the game at 44 with 12:50 to play.

Princeton used an 8-0 run to steal the momentum back midway through the second half and led by nine with 6:38 to play. Columbia would cut the lead to four with five straight points scored by McLean and De La Rosa.

Columbia welcomes Penn to New York City next Saturday at 2 p.m.