Cornell traveled to Easton, Pa., looking for its first victory of the season against Lafayette. Thanks to the team’s most complete effort of the year, as well as one of the school’s all-time best individual offensive performances, the Red emerged victorious, defeating the Leopards 82-75. Not only was it the team’s first time entering the win column this year, it was Coach Earl’s first career head coaching triumph.
Sophomore forward Donovan Wright knocked down 8 of 10 three-pointers, the third highest single game total in Cornell history. His 26- point outburst easily surpassed his previous career high of seven. In addition to Wright’s heroics, the other four starters each had double digit scoring. Stone Gettings, continuing his outstanding early season play, was just shy of a triple-double with 12 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. JoJo Fallas scored 11 points, on 3-for-4 three-point shooting. Matt Morgan and Robert Hatter added 13 and 12 points, respectively.
- Cornell had a one point lead, 10-9, after the first three and a half minutes. Over the next eight minutes, the Red took control and outscored the Leopards 24-5 to take a twenty point lead. Cornell let Lafayette recover over the last eight minutes, and ended with a 12-point lead, 44-32, at halftime. In the second half, Lafayette got the lead down to nine within the first few minutes, but Cornell was able to prevent any serious threat. With nine minutes left, the Red were able to open the lead back to 17 points, 62-45. Down 14 with less than a minute to go, Lafayette made its only real run of the contest, but it was too little too late.
For the first time all season, Cornell was able to run Coach Earl’s system well. They used great ball movement, especially in the first half, to get open looks from the perimeter and back door cuts. In contrast to the first three games, the Red were able to confidently knock down these shots. Defensively, they were too quick for Lafayette, got them out of their rhythm and reduced their early attempts from the three- point line.
For the game, Cornell had season highs with 52 percent overall shooting, 56 percent (14-for-25) from three and 19 assists. The squad also had a season-low 10 turnovers. Even with the absence of starting center David Onuorah, out for the third straight game with an illness, the Red were able to stay even in rebounding with 31.
Wright, who missed all of his first year with a shoulder injury, grew up in Easton. While not as prolific as Easton’s most famous citizen, former WBC Heavyweight Champion Larry Holmes this hometown hero was able to lift the spirits of his team and coach after a disappointing opening to the season. After today’s effort, Cornell can move forward knowing that it’s opponents now have to plan for one more player who can deliver a knockout blow.