A slow start dooms Cornell at Wake Forest

On what has became an unfortunate trend for Cornell over its last three games, Cornell got off to a slow start and wasn’t able to recover, losing at Wake Forest, 83-61.

Still, it wasn’t all bad for the Big Red.

In his homecoming, Matt Morgan posted 22 points as he moved into sixth all-time in Ivy League men’s basketball career scoring, now just 28 points away from 2,000 career points and just 56 points away from being the program leader in all-time scoring.

For the second straight game, Morgan started off just 1-of-5 from the field but finally got the lid off before the end of the first half, first off a very Morgan-like fading catch-and-shoot three as time ticked down on the shot clock. Then a minute later, he caught a pretty pass from Josh Warren for his second and final three-ball of the night.

Jake Kuhn had a season-high 12 points off the bench, continuing his stretch of good games, and Jimmy Boeheim had 11 points, breaking out of a little two-game slump.

Also for the second straight game, Cornell was held to just over 20 first-half points (22 vs. Wake, 21 vs. Navy). Brian Earl is presumably doing a stellar job making second-half adjustments to help Cornell’s second halves be more bountiful than their first stanzas.

Rotation issues

But if either Jake Kuhn or Jimmy Boeheim were to take Troy Whiteside’s slot in the starting lineup, Cornell might be enjoying more early offense. Whiteside is averaging just 4.2 points per game on 39 percent shooting while only playing 17 minutes a game. He is one of the better defensive guards on the team, but he could still average 17 minutes per game off the bench, with Earl going offense-to-defense down the stretch and the three players rotating in-and-out, dependent on the scenario.

You can’t take out Steven Julian or Terrance McBride, Julian being the Big Red’s defensive anchor when out of foul trouble, and McBride being your point guard, a primary ball-handler that doesn’t often turn the ball over.

McBride was scoreless on zero shot attempts against Wake Forest but averages only 4.2 points per game and shoots at only 35 percent. Though at 35 percent, he is shooting 52 percent from two and has the potential to be a great shooter. Last season in his freshman year, he shot the ball 56 percent.

Joel Davis is quietly one of the best play-makers on the team and has a great finishing ability. He had five points, with both of his makes being loud baseline dunks. If Earl tweaks the rotation just a little bit, you may see a little more offense from the Big Red.

Rebounding and unforced errors

Once again, Cornell was dominated on the rebounds, and Wake Forest wasn’t much taller than Cornell. Sometimes, you can clearly see a lack of hustle, while a lot of times though the opponent is just so much stronger. After a slow start to the season on the boards, Steven Julian has picked it up of late, in this game with eight boards.

Recently, Cornell’s turnovers have been down, and the Big Red committed one less than Wake Forest. Most of the turnovers were unforced, with a lot of traveling calls, charged especially to the big men. They have stayed out of foul trouble for most of the season, though.

Up next:

Cornell turns around and comes right back to Ithaca for a home game against Dlll Johnson & Wales. Less than two weeks after that game, Johnson & Wales plays another Ivy opponent, Brown.

Cornell’s matchup with Johnson & Wales will be on Friday at 7 p.m. at Newman Arena and broadcast on ESPN+.

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