NEW YORK CITY - The University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team struggled all night shooting the ball at Columbia’s Levien Gym. Columbia did not. As a result, the Lions strolled to a 74-55 victory that, in truth, probably wasn’t that close.
Penn shot just 37 percent from the field, and was just 2-of-13 on three-point shots. Columbia, by contrast, was a sizzling 12-of-25 beyond the arc (surpassing the Lions’ 9-of-22 effort inside the arc).
If it wasn’t for Fran Dougherty, this game would have been over well before halftime. The senior was 5-of-9 and dropped 14 points in the opening period; the rest of the team went 3-of-16, with many of the misses well off the mark.
At the other end, Columbia -- built for the long ball -- went 7-of-12 beyond the arc and 12-of-24 overall from the field in the first half. As a result, the Lions quickly built up a double-digit lead and threatened a number of times to blow the Quakers out of the building.
That said, Penn sprung to life late in the half, scoring five points in the final few seconds including a three-pointer from Tony Hicks -- the Quakers’ first trey of the night -- at the buzzer. Somehow, the Red and Blue was down just 10 as the teams went to the locker room, 40-30.
Hicks then scored and was fouled to open the second-half scoring, and Penn had a chance to get within seven. However, he missed the free throw, and it was all Columbia after that. The Lions’ Meiko Lyles hit a three-pointer that was answered by Darien Nelson-Henry, but then Columbia scored 15 of the game’s next 16 points, knocking down three more treys in the run.
The low point came with just under eight minutes left when Hicks (6 points on the night) was ejected after throwing a punch at Lyles. Originally, both players were called for technical fouls, the punch was not revealed until a review of the play. Because of the nature of Hicks' ejection, by NCAA rule he must sit out Penn's next game (which is tomorrow at Cornell).
Columbia's lead was 26 on more than one occasion in the second half, and it was only because Penn's subs outscored the Lions' subs 11-4 down the stretch that the margin ended up below 20.
Dougherty finished the night with 16 points and also led the Quakers with seven rebounds, while fellow senior Miles Jackson-Cartwright had 10. For Columbia, Alex Rosenberg led the way with 22 points, while Cory Osetkowski had 14 (along with nine boards) and both Maodo Lo and Steve Frankoski had 12.
Penn returns to action on Saturday night at Cornell. The Quakers and the Big Red will tip off at 7 p.m.