The Columbia Lions basketball squad concluded non-conference play last Thursday night, with a 30-point routing [86-56] of the Mount Saint Vincent Dolphins at the Levien Gym. The victory over the Division III school located in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, allowed the struggling Lions to up their ledger to 5-11.
Four Lions finished the contest in double figures.
Freshman guard Jack Forrest scored a career-high 20 points. Senior guard Mike Smith dropped 14 points and had five dimes [assists] to boot. Senior guard Jake Killingsworth chipped in with 13 points and junior guard Tai Bibbs completed the quadrumvirate with 10 points.
On the defensive end, 6’11 junior center Joseph Smoyer of the Lions, blocked four of the nine total team blocks. Secondly, 6’7 junior forward Randy Brumant worked the glass, grabbing 11 boards [rebounds] in the process.
Considering the disparity in competition what can the Lions take away from a victory such as this?
“Obviously, we have been hobbled with some injuries. So, it was good to see Jack Forrest come out there and get some confidence,” said Lions Head Coach Jim Engles. “I think it’s a big deal for him and the team. Obviously, we have missed him. Like Joe Smoyer, I thought played really well within the concepts of what we were doing. So, I thought we gained some confidence in some of the stuff offensively. I thought we were able to make some adjustments going forward.”
Smith gave the Lions an early 7-0 lead after draining a pair of free throws. The Lions, who led wire-to-wire, went on an 11-0 run in the first half to take a 17-point lead. The Lions closed out the first bisection of the mismatch by a score of 41-20.
“You still gotta play hard, you know what I mean?” said Smith, who leads the Ivy League in scoring with 21.4 points per game. “Cause you have those games, but they help you and they help your team work harder and execute the things that you need to do, especially going into the Ivys. We have a tough schedule; we lost a lot of close ones down the line. So, it’s all a part of execution, so it was good just to get out there and play with everybody versus a different team, instead of practicing versus each other. So, it was good to just get a win on your resume.”
Forrest made two of his five total 3-pointers during the early portion of the second half to give the Lions a commanding 22-point lead. All the players on the Lions roster got minutes on the court.
Raiquis Harris  and Kelvin Turner-Harris  combined for 25 points for the Dolphins. Lastly, Dorian Robinson was two boards shy of a double-double. Robinson had 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Lions begin Ivy League play this Saturday, [January 18] against the Cornell Big Red Men
at 7 p.m. in Ithaca, New York.
What can the Lions take away from this win and apply against Cornell?
“Just team concepts, talking about trying to create a better identity defensively and offensively,” Coach Engles would say. “Again, I thought we had some good contributions, Mike [Smith] has had to carry a lot of our load as we have gone into this [season]. In order for us, I really believe for us to take the next step to continue to develop like he needs to, he needs some help from some of the other guys. I thought today was a good way to gain some confidence for some of those guys.”