Columbia fell on the road 94-78 at Brown Saturday night, as the Bears celebrated their Senior Night with a dominating win behind a strong three-point shooting performance and 28 points from sophomore point guard Sean McGonagill.
One year after setting a Pizzitola Sports Center record with 39 points against the Lions, McGonagill was a thorn in Columbia’s side all night long. He shot 8-of-11 from the floor, including 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. As a team, Brown shot 63.6 percent from downtown.
“They’re a good shooting team,” freshman forward Alex Rosenberg said. “We knew that coming in, and there’s no way you can give them open threes. That’s the main part of their game.”
Both Rosenberg, who finished with 13 points and five rebounds, and head coach Kyle Smith pointed to a lackluster team effort in the loss.
“I think our heart’s a little snapped,” Smith said. “We didn’t compete hard enough. This was our worst effort, as far as competing.”
“From the start, we didn’t come to play tonight,” Rosenberg said. “Which is surprising, because we’re a team that’s known for battling.”
Smith acknowledged that his squad’s string of close losses, including a one-point loss to Yale two weeks ago and an overtime loss to Penn last weekend, were starting to wear on it.
One night after falling behind 20-5 against Yale, the Light Blue again found itself in a hole early.
Brown’s Jean Harris, honored before the game as one of the Bears’ seniors, finished the game with 17 points and opened the scoring with a trey on Brown’s first possession. It would be a sign of things to come, as Brown connected on eight three-pointers in the first 14:23 and went on a 25-6 run to open up a 35-16 lead. The Bears entered the second half ahead 43-26.
“We can’t put ourselves in a hole like t hat,” Rosenberg said. “We’re good enough to fight back, and we evened it up last night at Yale, but we should never put ourselves in a hole to start off with. We need to come out stronger.”
“It really starts to wear down on you,” junior center Mark Cisco said of falling behind early. “Especially tonight, when we’re down so big at halftime.”
Cisco, who had been mired in foul trouble and limited to four points against Yale, led the Lions in the first half with seven points. He had 15 on the night to go with six rebounds.
Fouls again plagued the Lions’ big men, who were already without junior power forward John Daniels due to a shoulder injury. Rosenberg fouled out, senior forward Matt Johnson had four fouls on the night, and Cisco again had to sit for portions of the second half due to foul trouble.
“You can’t make certain plays—when you’ve got three or four fouls—that you would normally make,” Cisco said. “And then you’re thinking about it the whole time, so it really limits what you can do.”
Brown went 10-of-15 from beyond the arc in the first half and shot 55.2 percent from the field to build their 16-point halftime lead. The Bears outrebounded the Lions 18-11 in the first period, and held Columbia to 39.3 percent shooting, including 2-of-8 from downtown.
Junior point guard Brian Barbour opened scoring in the second half with a left-handed lay-in and scored the first four points of the period for the Lions. He finished with 18, a team high, to go with 10 assists and two rebounds.
Columbia will return to Morningside Heights next weekend for their final two games of the season against Harvard and Dartmouth.
“We’re taking it hard,” Smith said. “But we’ve got two games left, and we need to make them matter.”