Men’s basketball can’t find answer for D-I Columbia

Swarthmore’s season-opening losing streak continued on Monday night in New York City, as the Garnet fell hard to the Division I Columbia Lions 104-42.

Guard Jordan Federer led the Garnet in scoring against Columbia.
“I was extremely disappointed at the way we played on both ends of the floor,” Head Coach Lee Wimberly said. “It was also unfortunate that Columbia was red hot and we couldn’t buy a basket. It was an embarrassing night for [us], but we will try to get healthy and try to improve as the season progresses.”

From the opening tip-off in front of a crowd of about five hundred, Columbia (2-4) was able to capitalize on the three-point shooting from Rosenberg and guaranteed a runaway victory almost from the start. Halfway through the first half, the Lions had already opened up a 32-14 lead behind three three-pointers from the forward. On the night, Rosenberg went 3 of 4 on three-point attempts.

“They shot the ball really well tonight, there’s not much we can do about that,” forward Marc Rogalski ’12 said. “We started off the game in a zone, that didn’t work well at all, then we switched to man, and it seemed to work better.”

It only got worse from there for the Garnet, who shot 30 percent from the field for the entire game. By the time the first half was over, the score was 60-26 in favor of Columbia and the smaller Swarthmore team was being dominated at the perimeter and under the boards.

The Garnet only managed to grab four rebounds in the first half — they added four more in the second half — while Columbia had 20 in the first half alone. For the game, Swarthmore also struggled with ball control, turning the ball over 18 times to Columbia’s eight.

“One thing they were able to do that we couldn’t was rebound efficiently, because they have 6’8”, 6’9”, 6’10” guys,” guard Jordan Federer ’14 said. “Our guys fought hard, but it’s pretty tough against guys who are much bigger and stronger.”

“Columbia was a very good team,” senior guard Michael Giannangeli ’12 said in an email. “Losing by as much as we did is definitely frustrating, but we try to take positives from it and apply that to our conference games because those are the ones that really matter.”

“Our goal from the beginning of the season was to make the playoffs and that has not changed. We are going to refocus ourselves and stay mentally tough.”

In the second half, Swarthmore was only able to add 16 more points, although its switch to a man-to-man defense from the zone appeared to slow down the Columbia attack somewhat. The Lions’ shooting percentage was 45.5 percent in the second half, down considerably from their 60 percent first-half clip.

Federer, a New York native, was the only member of the team to score in the double digits with ten points. Federer added two assists while center Jordan Cheney ’14 led the team in assists with three.

Forward Will Gates ’13 was slowed down after a fast start to the season, scoring only eight points and going 4 of 20 from the field.

Four different players on Columbia scored double-digit points, led by guard Meiko Lyles with 17. Forward Alex Rosenberg scored 15 points and starting center Mark Cisco added 12.

“I think, for us, this game was sort of a wake-up call,” Federer said. “It shows us how much more efficient we need to become in terms of shooting from the free throw line and from the field.

“We were shooting the ball terribly, we had too many turnovers and we need to be more efficient. I think it’ll definitely motivate us that now we’ve seen what a [Division I] team is like, and we’ll be able to make some progress against the teams in our conference.”

Off the bench, Giannangeli added six points off two converted threes, while forward Davis Ancona ’14 had four points and led the team in rebounds with six.

“For everybody, it was a disappointing loss,” Rogalski said. “Our coach put a lot of the blame on himself, just in terms of our game plan and more importantly the execution that just wasn’t there.

“There are some changes that need to be made, and hopefully our coach can address that, and hopefully we as players can respond to that in a positive manner,” he added.
Swarthmore resumed Centennial Conference play on Wednesday night when it hosted conference rival Muhlenberg. Unfortunately for the Garnet, they were denied their first win of the season, falling 79-56 to the Mules to drop their record to 0-6 on the season and 0-2 in conference play.

The Garnet plays its second straight conference game this Saturday on the road against the Ursinus Bears.

The start time is scheduled for 3 p.m.

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