Cornell 90, Columbia 66

In the season opener for both teams, Cornell (6-7, 1-0 Ivy) proved itself a force to be reckoned with in the Ancient Eight, and Columbia (4-10, 0-1) showed that the Jones family coaching panacea is a time-release formula.

With four players scoring in the double-digits, Big Red took down the visiting Lions 90-66 at the Newman Arena in Ithaca, N.Y.

Cornell guard Ka’Ron Barnes scored a game-high 19 points, while forward Cody Toppert tallied 17 points. Cornell’s Canadian duo Graham Dow and David Lisle, both guards, combined to add 23 more points to the scoreboard.

The Big Red outplayed the Lions in nearly every statistical category. Cornell shot a season-high 53.8 percent from the floor, while the Lions shot only 43.6 percent. The home team also out-rebounded their visitors 40-28.

Another big difference-maker was foul shooting. While the Big Red converted 26 of its 33 chances from the line, Columbia did not even manage to break the 60 percent mark.

Barnes scored 10 of Cornell’s first 13 points to help the Big Red to an early 13-7 lead at the start of the game, but an earlier inbound pass from Lion’s forward Matt Preston, who scored a team-high 13 points on the day and had nine rebounds, to center Matt Land triggered a 14-6 run and gave Columbia its first lead of the game 18-16 with eight minutes left in the half. Cornell followed with an 11-2 run capped by two lay-ups from freshman Dow. Lisle’s second 3-pointer of the game allowed the Big Red to take a 35-23 lead with three minutes left in the half. By the time the two teams headed into the locker rooms for half time, Cornell had taken a commanding 40-29 lead.

Entering the second half, the Big Red allowed the Lions to get within eight points on a 3-pointer by guard Boswell on the Lions’ first possession.

This was the closest Columbia would ever get as the Big Red dominated the remainder of the game.

Cornell responded to the Lions’ challenge with a 15-5 run to get take an 18-point lead 55-37. In the final nine minutes of the game Columbia would not get within 20 points of Cornell. Toppert scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half, while Columbia’s sophomore forward Dragutin Kravic finished with 10 points and as the only other Lion to score in the double-digits.

The Lions suffered greatly from having 20 turnovers on the day, but the Big Red did not do much better, ending the game with 19 turnovers of its own. There are no doubts that Columbia will be looking for revenge when it plays Cornell again next Saturday at the Levien Gymnasium in New York City.