Columbia Men's Basketball



The 2005 Tyler Ugolyn Columbia Classic features Troy, Quinnipiac, New Hampshire and host Columbia.

Men's Basketball Opens Season With 2005 Tyler Ugolyn Columbia Classic Tournament

Nov. 17, 2005

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The men's basketball team begins its 105th season of intercollegiate competition this Friday, November 18 in the second game of the 2005 Tyler Ugolyn Columbia Classic. Columbia (12-15 in 2004-05) will tip off against the University of New Hampshire (9-19) at approximately 7:30 p.m., following the conclusion of the first-round game between Troy (12-18) and Quinnipiac (10-17) starting at 5 p.m. The second night of competition, November 19, features a consolation match at 5 p.m. and the tournament championship game at 7:30 p.m.

The Tyler Ugolyn Columbia Classic is an annual start-of-season tournament hosted by Columbia University in November. The tournament is named in honor of Tyler Ugolyn '01CC, a former Columbia men's basketball player who lost his life at the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001. The annual event is made possible by a generous gift from the Ugolyn family.

"We are thankful for the generosity of the Ugolyn family for making this tournament a reality," says Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, the director of intercollegiate athletics and physical education at Columbia. "All of us are proud to have Tyler's name associated with the program in this way."

Under the direction of third-year head coach Joe Jones, the Columbia Lions feature one of the youngest teams in the Ivy League - if not all of NCAA Division I. Eleven of the 14 players on the opening night roster are sophomores or true freshmen (the Ivy League does not allow non-medical "redshirting"). For Columbia, which won the 2004 Columbia Classic championship over Morehead State (Ky.) last year 85-76, the 2005-06 season is an opportunity to reach new heights, and the opening tournament starts the campaign in grand fashion.

"I am thrilled to be able to host our second annual tournament," Jones says, "and proud to have the Tyler Ugolyn Foundation as our title sponsor for the 2005 Columbia Classic. The Tyler Ugolyn Foundation honors the memory of Tyler and all those who perished on September 11, 2001. As the only team in the Ivy League to host a tournament, the Classic is a special way to tip-off the season for our players, students, alumni and fans, as we bring top-notch talent to Levien Gymnasium."

Some highlighted players of this year's tournament field include Bobby Dixon of Troy, Craig Benson of Quinnipiac and Mike Christensen of New Hampshire. Dixon, a preseason All-Sunbelt conference player, averaged 14.7 points per game in 2004 for Troy. Benson averaged 12.3 points per game for the Bobcats, ranking 16th in the Northeast Conference in scoring. Christensen, just a sophomore, ranked third on the Wildcats' squad in scoring with 9.0 points and is the Wildcats' top returner.

Two seniors and the class of six sophomores lead the Lions this season. Senior captain Dalen Cuff '06CC was named to last season's Columbia Classic all-tournament team.

For tickets to the 2005 Tyler Ugolyn Columbia Classic, call the Dodge Fitness Center box office at (212) 854-0043. Single-session tickets cost $10 for reserved seats and $8 for General Admission. Children's tickets are $7 (reserved) and $5 (Gen. Adm.).

Media Information: For press credentials to the 2005 Tyler Ugolyn Columbia Classic, please contact Darlene Camacho at (212) 854-2535 or by email to

 Ty's Home Page