The home opener of the Ivy League season ended in disappointment for the men’s basketball team, as Columbia’s Dragutin Kravic drained a 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds left on the clock to give the Lions a 58-57 victory in Newman Arena Saturday afternoon.
Senior Lenny Collins finished with 18 points for the Red (6-11, 1-2 Ivy), while freshman Adam Gore added 17 points, sinking 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. Junior Graham Dow had eight assists and seven points for Cornell.
Kravic finished the game with 10 points and eight rebounds for the Lions (8-8, 1-2 Ivy). Three other players hit double figures for Columbia, as John Baumann had a game-high 19 points to go with seven boards, Brett Loscalzo added 12 points, and K.J. Matsui contributed 10 points. Columbia also finished with an edge on the glass, out-rebounding the Red by a 36-26 margin.
“I just felt like we made toughness plays in the middle of the second half. That was the biggest reason we were able to win the game,” said Columbia head coach Joe Jones. “I thought we made a lot of effort plays on the defensive end that gave us an opportunity to win the game and when we got down 11 points, we didn’t quit.”
The Cornell defense forced the Lions into 12 first half turnovers, but neither team could get much started on the offensive end. Loscalzo scored the first Columbia points on a fast break lay-up at 15:25 to make the score 5-2, and the two teams traded baskets for the rest of the half, with the Red holding a 20-19 lead at the break.
It was a different story at the start of the second half, as Cornell put together a 12-3 run to open up a 10-point lead with a little more than 15 minutes left to play. Dow provided the spark for the Red, scoring all seven of his points over this stretch on a lay-up off of a steal, two free throws, and a 3-pointer. The Red held onto the lead, stretching its advantage to 11 points when Gore hit his fifth 3-pointer with 10:54 remaining.
However, the momentum swung the other way from that point on, as Gore went scoreless for the rest of the game and the Lions started to win loose balls and rebounds.