In Saturday’s regular season finale against last-place Dartmouth, Cornell’s five seniors Joel Davis, Jack Gordon, Troy Whiteside, Steven Julian, and of course Matt Morgan were honored pregame and all got the start. After Cornell got the first two points just 35 seconds in from a Steven Julian alley-oop, the Big Green went on an 11-2 run and eventually led by one at the half.
But Cornell dominated the second half, outscoring Dartmouth by 16 and winning, 66-51. Jimmy Boeheim arguably played his best game of the season, finishing with 21 points off an excellent 9-for-10 shooting from the field, and a perfect 2-for-2 from deep.
Matt Morgan couldn’t follow up his dominant 31-point performance on Friday against Harvard, finishing with just eight points and snapping his double-digit scoring streak at 80 games, good for 12th in college basketball history and an Ivy League record.
A different senior stepped it up on offense though, Joel Davis went for 11 points off of 5-for-7 shooting, including a three, one of just four the team hit. Dartmouth only had one three in 18 tries, coming from Brendan Barry on Dartmouth’s first shot attempt of the night.
Terrance McBride, Josh Warren and Steven Julian each had contributions on offense, scoring seven, six, and six points respectively. Julian added seven rebounds, three steals and a block, and Terrance McBride added five rebounds, three assists, and a block.
Cornell did what they do best on defense, being that they forced a lot of turnovers. Dartmouth had 17 on the game, compared to 15 from the Big Red. Both teams didn’t foul that much, 15 from Cornell and 12 from Dartmouth. However, Jack Gordon, Josh Warren, and Jimmy Boeheim each had three fouls.
Cornell drew even with Dartmouth on the boards (39-39), but Dartmouth had eight offensive rebounds compared to just two from the Big Red.
The X-Factor of the game was that Cornell made shots. The Big Red shot the ball 55 percent and held Dartmouth to under 40 percent. Cornell shot 25 percent from three and held the opponent to just six percent from three.
Dartmouth also had trouble making foul shots, going 8-for-15 from the charity stripe (53 percent). Cornell made eight of its nine free throws..
Not done yet?
Cornell’s win over Dartmouth on Saturday got them to .500 (15-15, 7-7 Ivy) to finish the regular season for their second consecutive fourth place finish in the conference. This is the most successful season Cornell has had since the 2009-10 Sweet 16 run under Steve Donahue, with the best the Big Red got under Bill Courtney being 13-17. Since the Big Red got to .500 to end the season, they are officially eligible for postseason play. If they get in to a tournament, they would be in the CIT but must wait in the meantime. Brown is also in the same boat, losing the regular season finale to Penn and missing out on Ivy Madness, but still at 19 wins and well over .500.
The Big Red seem confident about their postseason chances, saying only that the “regular season is complete”, and not hinting that they won’t play again this season. Also, the way everyone approached Saturday as if the season might not be over. Cornell didn’t have a huge thing for Matt Morgan, him “checking out for the final time,” just normal Senior Night festivities.
Only time will tell on if Cornell will enjoy some postseason action this year. The team hopefully will know soon so it doesn’t fall too much out of a groove. If the Big Red don’t play again, it was such a fun season and congratulations to the seniors on successful collegiate careers, particularly Cornell all-time leading scorer and second all-time Ivy League scorer Matt Morgan. If the season is completely finished, he will have finished with 2,309 career points and 663 points this season.
Also, a huge congratulations to the Cornell women’s basketball team on a huge win at Dartmouth, clinching the fourth and final Ivy Madness slot.