The Eagles return to the Heights to take on an inferior opponent
On the next edition of our non-conference season previews, the Eagles will return to Conte Forum after *hopefully* a victory over Hartford, and *hopefully* have proven to themselves they can take down inferior opponents. Well, their next opponent is even inferior-er, as the Eagles will be hosting a Columbia squad that won just two games last season. Will it be a tough game? Probably not, but with BC, you never truly know.
Columbia-Dec. 12 (Tuesday)-Conte Forum
16-17 Record: 11-16 (5-9 in Ivy League)
Biggest Win: Defeated Harvard (18-10) 65-62 Jan. 28
Worst Loss: Lost 67-62 to Cornell (8-21) Jan. 21
Power Five Record: 0-1 (Miami)
Top Returning Scorer: Mike Smith, Soph., G, 13.6 ppg
Biggest Departure: Luke Petrasek, F, 15.1 ppg (Graduated)
New Arrival: Jaron Faulds, 6-10, C, Holt (MI), 4 Stars
After a 2015-2016 season where Columbia went 25-10 and ended up winning the CIT Championship over UC Irvine, Head Coach Kyle Smith decided to leave Columbia for the University of San Francisco. In Smith’s place came Jim Engles, who coached NJIT from 2008-2016. Engles’ first season in Manhattan saw the Lions take a major step back, and his team finished with a poor 11-16 record.
In Ivy League play, the Lions shot a league-worst 41.4% from the field--giving them the second worst offense in the conference. To make matters worse, Luke Petrasek, by far the most efficient player on the roster, has graduated, leaving the offense in the hands of Mike Smith and Nate Hickman, who shot 40% and 39% from the field last season, respectively.
In an effort to retool this weak roster, Coach Engles will be bringing in seven freshmen this season, including four star recruit Jaron Faulds. Faulds, who committed to Columbia before his senior year, has a chance to be a nice piece for this Lion squad, with an athletic, 6-10 frame. I’d say he’s the Ivy League equivalent version of a Plumlee brother, so he may provide some problems for BC.
Fortunately, this squad is simply too inefficient and thin-depth-wise to be a legitimate threat to the Eagles, so a BC loss would be disastrous. In Ivy League play, Columbia gave up 37% shooting from three, so the Eagles shooters should find plenty of opportunities to put this game out of reach.
The real offensive threat for Columbia is sophomore guard Mike Smith, who averaged 13.6 ppg last season on 38% shooting from deep. Smith, just 5-10, is a scrappy guard who knows how to put the ball in the hoop, he just doesn’t score very efficiently. He scored 20+ points six times last season, including a 24 point performance against Cornell--it just took him 21 shots to get there.
In 27 games last season, Smith shot 50% or better just 8 times--and a poor zero times in conference play. Ky Bowman will have every advantage over Smith, so the Eagles will have every opportunity to mitigate the Lion’s best offensive weapon.
This should be an easy game for BC--with emphasis on the word should. Knowing BC, this game will probably be a little more competitive than expected--but expect victory nonetheless. Columbia is a weak team in a weak conference, and the Eagle just need to take care of business.