|Score By Half|
|Points||Mike Smith (19)||Eric Paschall (15)|
|Rebounds||Kyle Castlin (6)||Omari Spellman (11)|
|Assists||Mike Smith (4)||Two tied with 3|
|Steals||Three tied with 1||Mikal Bridges (2)|
|Blocks||Patrick Tapé (1)||Two tied with 1|
PHILADELPHIA - The Columbia men’s basketball team dropped its season opener to No. 6 Villanova, 75-60, Friday night at Wells Fargo Center. Sophomore Mike Smith netted a game-high 19 points and added five rebounds and three assists to lead the Lions.
Ten first-half turnovers plagued Columbia, negating a strong defensive start that saw the Lions hold the Wildcats to 35.5-percent shooting from the floor and just 4-of-18 from 3-point range.
After the Wildcats scored the first seven points of the game, Mike Smith helped settle things down netting Columbia’s first seven and a Jake Killingsworth putback tied the score at 9-9 with 13:48 left in the first half. Villanova restored a five-point cushion, but Kyle Castlin banked home a triple to pull the Lions within 19-17 with 9:00 to play.
Phil Booth brought the Wildcat lead up to nine with a triple with 1:46 while the Villanova defense held the Lions to just two field goals in the final 8:00 of the stanza. Preseason All-American Jalen Brunson nailed a pull-up jumper from the left elbow to give the Wildcats a 32-23 cushion heading into the locker room.
Villanova stormed out to a 10-2 run out of the gates to bring the advantage to 42-25 after Donte DiVincenzo’s layup with 17:20 to play. Smith had space from the left wing and drained a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 12 with 12:09 o the clock, but that would be as close as Columbia would come.
Castlin played 22 minutes in his first action since the 2015-16 campaign, missing last season due to a toe injury. The Marietta, Georgia, native scored 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting to go with six rebounds and four assists.
Eric Pascall led the Wildcats with 15 points and added nine rebounds. Omari Spellman posted 11 points and 11 boards.
“Villanova is a program we try to emulate,” said head coach Jim Engles after the game. “I thought we did some good things. We can’t come into these games wide-eyed. We have to be ready to compete. I thought we did a good job competing for stretches. I think their physicality and length took over at the end. That’s stuff you can’t control, but we’ve got to continue to do what we’re doing.”
The Lions return to action Tuesday, November 14 at Longwood. Game time is set for 7 p.m. and the contest will be streamed live on the Big South Network and a free audio broadcast is available on the Ivy League Network.
Season and individual non-conference tickets are on sale now. To purchase, visit gocolumbialions.com/tickets, call 888-LIONS-11.
- Columbia fell to 78-39 all-time in series openers.
- First-years Tai Bibbs, Jaron Faulds, Myles Hanson and Gabe Stefanini made their collegiate debut. All four scored in the game, led by seven points from Faulds.
- The Lions dropped to 0-3 against teams ranked No. 6 in the AP Poll.