Matt Morgan had 41 points on a very efficient 13-for-18 night with nine threes, and Josh Warren hit four clutch free-throws in the final 20 seconds and Cornell held on for an 83-80 victory over the Dartmouth Big Green, in Hanover. Cornell went to 11-10 (3-2 Ivy) with the win, and Dartmouth fell to 10-11 (1-4), losing its last four Ivy games after picking up a blowout win over Harvard in their opener.
Cornell led by as many as eight in the second half, but never trailed after trailing for most of the first half. Cornell was down 31-28 with 3:13 left in the first half, when Matt Morgan single-handedly went went on a 12-3 run, with three treys and three free-throws and Cornell took a 40-34 halftime lead. Dartmouth finally tied it up in the second half with 4:29 to go, but Morgan had nine more points after and Warren had his two sets of free throws with 20 seconds and nine seconds to go, hitting all four. Brendan Barry got a decent look from three to tie it as the buzzer sounded, but it was off and Cornell escaped with another Ivy win.
To go with Morgan’s 41 points, Josh Warren had another solid night, finishing with 15 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Jimmy Boeheim had nine points and four rebounds, while Steven Julian had five assists, four rebounds, four points, two steals and a block, as always making a huge defensive impact for the Big Red.
Chris Knight had a big 27-point night for the Big Green, also having five assists, four rebounds, and four blocks. Ian Sistare, Brendan Barry, Aaryn Rai and Taurus Samuels were all in double-figures as well, with Samuels’ contribution off the bench.
The Big Red with a big night on offense
Both teams had trouble missing from the field, both shooting about 54 percent. Dartmouth has boasted a multitude of players who can generally score the ball. Cornell, meanwhile, has had a really tough time getting consistency outside of Morgan and Warren this season. But despite that pair combining for 56 of Cornell’s 83 points, everyone seemed to really be on point on offense. Jack Gordon had a few nice finishes down below and Terrance McBride continued showing more aggression.
After playing poorly against Princeton, Boeheim bounced back with a solid nine points, including a three-pointer. As time goes on, he may need to rely on the jumper more. He had success earlier in the year in isolation, but teams are guarding that much better, and it is harder for him to score that way. But he did have a few good finishes down low off the cut.
Cornell shot a fantastic 63 percent from three and 94 percent from the free-throw line, both much improved from previous games. If Cornell shot that well from the line in its two Ivy losses, you could make an argument that they wouldn’t have been losses at all.
After struggling all season to compete on the boards, Cornell finally won the rebound margin (plus-five). No one dominated the boards, but Cornell got a contribution all around with a few here and a few there by players like Morgan, Julian and Warren. Cornell will look to use that as momentum heading to Harvard.
Big games ahead all around the Ivy
Harvard is a much larger and more physical team compared to Cornell. The Crimson have guys like Chris Lewis, Robert Baker, and Justin Bassey who control the boards and can body you up. Bassey actually leads Harvard with 7.2 rebounds per game, a great number and even better for a guard. Cornell won’t have to worry about Ivy League Player of the Year Seth Towns, who remains out for an unknown amount of time after injuring himself last season in the conference championship.
Harvard will be playing with severe fatigue Saturday after coming off a 98-96 win over Columbia in triple overtime. Lewis will be rested however, only playing limited minutes Friday. Bryce Aiken had 44 points for Harvard but got really beat up in the game with several hard falls and playing 46 minutes. It will be very interesting to see how they match with Cornell after the long game Friday.
Cornell does remain in the Ivy picture with a win, and it’s looking to at least get into a tie for third with Harvard with a win. Harvard is tied for first at 4-1 in conference play but just one game ahead of Cornell. This is definitely a game to watch on Saturday, with Brown, Columbia and Dartmouth starting to slide out of the hunt.
As of right now, it looks like a five-team race for four spots: Princeton, Harvard, and Yale all are at 4-1, with Cornell at 3-2 and Penn at 2-3. Penn has a tough one Saturday at Yale, so that makes it more interesting. If Cornell wins and Penn loses Saturday, Penn will sit two games back from a Ivy Tournament slot with eight games to play.