NEW YORK The Penn men’s basketball team fell into a pattern that it could not get out of Friday night, allowing Columbia to hit threes while it scored traditional two-pointers. As a result, the Quakers fell too far behind to catch up in the second half and took a 74-58 loss to the Lions at Levien Gym.
On two separate occasions the Quakers were able to get within single digits in the second half, but both times the Lions were able to respond with lengthy runs that proved too much for the young Penn squad to overcome.
Columbia hit 11 three-pointers on the night (on just 19 attempts), compared to just two by Penn. The Lions were particularly red-hot beyond the arc in the first half, knocking down seven three-pointers in taking as much as a 13-point lead in the stanza. By the break, the Quakers had gotten it back to single digits but were still down 38-29.
The Lions were led by K.J. Matsui, who had three treys in the opening half, and Niko Scott and Joe Bova who had two apiece in the first 20 minutes.
By contrast, meanwhile, Penn used 11 different players in the first half and eight of them scored.
In the second half, the Quakers were able to draw within six points, at 40-34, and after Scott hit another three for Columbia Cameron Lewis was able to knock down a jumper in the lane while being fouled.
Lewis missed the free throw, however, and Columbia instead rolled up the next seven points to take a 50-36 lead. Penn scored seven in a row, briefly getting back within single digits of the Lions, but the hosts reeled off nine straight points that made the score 59-43 and essentially put this one away.
Penn played the contest without its leading scorer, freshman Tyler Bernardini, who stayed back in Philadelphia after suffering a concussion in practice Monday. Brian Grandieri was the only Penn player to score in double figures, with 13 points; he also had a team-high six rebounds.Three other players -- Jack Eggleston, Harrison Gaines and Remy Cofield -- had eight points apiece.
For Columbia, Scott finished with 19 points, John Baumann had 18 and Matsui scored 17.
The Quakers are back in action Saturday night, traveling to Ithaca, N.Y. to take on Ivy frontrunner Cornell. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. at the Big Red’s Newman Arena.