Tuesday night's game between the Columbia Lions and the Wofford Terriers was a battle between two mid-major programs that have made a name for themselves over the past couple of years. Wofford likely peaked a year ago under the Karl Cochran/Lee Skinner era and Columbia is trying to emulate that peak behind Maodo Lo, Alex Rosenberg, and others and get to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1968.
The match up in Levien Gymnasium was also the first "measuring stick" games for both opponents as it was Wofford's first game against a non-Power 5 opponent and it was Columbia's second game following losses to Kansas State and Northwestern. Both teams have ambitions on winning their conference this year and this would be a great gauge to see where both teams were at.
Wofford came out on fire and shot well all night long (48% FG). A quick 8-0 run from the Terriers to start the game forced a Kyle Smith timeout early. Columbia fought back rather immediately cutting the Wofford lead to just one point at the under twelve minute media timeout and eventually went into halftime down 27-24.
The second half exploited Wofford's biggest weakness...depth. The Terriers played an eight man rotation, more or less, that contributed 17 points. Meanwhile Columbia was able to go a little deeper and stay fresh in a second half where they would outscore Wofford 46-32 for a comfortable 70-59 victory in New York City.
It's clear that Wofford misses the slashing ability of Karl Cochran as the Terriers had to settle for a lot of jumpshots and only got to the line 11 times on the evening. That number is especially low given all of the freedom of movement initiatives we've seen early this season. Justin Gordon and Spencer Collins were the only players on Mike Young's squad finishing in double-figures with 14 and 13 points respectively.
Columbia was really just able to grind away at the Terriers for the last three quarters of the game with the frontcourt presence of Alex Rosenberg and Jeff Coby and the quickness of Maodo Lo. Rosenberg allowed the Lions to stretch the floor, as the 6'7 big man nailed three shots from beyond the arc and finished with 14 points on the evening. Lo finished with 11 points, which was matched by his backcourt mate Grant Mullins who was a perfect 3-for-3 from downtown tonight.
Columbia moved to 3-2 with a win tonight with all three wins coming within the friendly confines of Levien. The Lions will leave those confines for a match up with Fairfield Friday before a quick turnaround to host Longwood on Saturday evening.
Wofford drops to 1-3 on the young season and things won't get any easier on the Terriers from here. They travel to nearby and pesky Presbyterian on Saturday before beginning a daunting stretch where they travel to Georgia Tech, Clemson, Vanderbilt, and Harvard. The Terriers will only get two home match ups before Southern Conference play begins against a non-Division I and Big South foe Coastal Carolina.