For the third straight game, the Cornell Big Red had trouble scoring the ball and lost their fifth straight, this time to Coppin St. in overtime, 68-66. The Big Red (1-5) connected on just 23 of their 79 shot attempts and seven of their 34 three-point attempts.
The Big Red came out of the gate with a 9-5 lead, but the rest of the first half was all Coppin State (2-5) as the Eagles held a 32-22 halftime lead. Cornell would come back and tie the game up with 12 minutes left in regulation, but Coppin State would hold on to a slight lead for the next eight or so minutes.
Terrance McBride tied it up then took the lead with about four minutes left, hitting a driving layup and then a deep baseline two. A possession later, Jimmy Boeheim took it to the rack and converted a three-point play to put the Big Red up five with 2:41 left.
With 92 seconds left, Andrew Robinson hit a three for the Eagles to go up 54-53, but sophomore Dean Noll responded and made two free-throws to regain the lead for the Big Red. Coppin State came down with a quick layup, and then Jordan Jones hit the biggest shot of his young career to put the Big Red up two with 43 ticks left.
Kamar McKnight hit a jumper with 30 seconds left to tie it, allowing the Big Red to take the final shot. Boeheim went into the high post and his turnaround shotput was well short and off we went into overtime.
The Big Red took a quick four-point lead in the overtime session, but the Eagles, of course, responded and tied it with 2:05 left. Koby Thomas connected on a second chance layup and Robinson drilled another three with 43 seconds left to take a five point lead, then Jordan Jones hit the second-biggest shot of his young career to cut it to two.
There were two missed calls in the final 34 seconds that changed the outcome of the game.
Cornell put pressure on Coppin State in the backcourt, and it appeared that an Eagle went out of bounds with the ball, but it was never called. The Big Red were forced to foul Dejuan Clayton, and while Jones and Brian Earl were pleading the case, Clayton bricked both shots.
Dean Noll got a good looking three for the lead with six seconds left, missed it, got his own rebound, and shot again at the buzzer. He was clobbered behind the three point line, and after a quick conference between the officials it was decided that there was no foul (there should have been), and the game was over.
It was all from shooting
The only reason why the Big Red lost this game was because they were unable to make shots. Shooting 29% on 79 field goal attempts will not win games, and they only hung around shooting that badly because Coppin State is simply not a good team. It was just the Eagles second nonconference win against a Division I team in five years (Loyola-Chicago on Nov. 12 being the other).
The Big Red outrebounded them by 11 (54-43), and 26 of the 54 rebounds they got were offensive rebounds (Yes, you read that right). Cornell had 16 assists and 14 steals, both more than what the Eagles had. Coppin State however blocked the Big Red eight times, in part of bad shot selection and the other being terrible overall offense. The ball just wasn’t moving like it should and there were a lot of guys that had looks that never got the ball. Several shots were forced, especially in the first half.
Coppin State had 15 points in the first six minutes of the game, but then Cornell made defensive adjustments and held them to just 53 points over the next 39 minutes, including overtime.
Jimmy Boeheim had an enormous double-double to lead the Big Red, scoring 25 points and hauling in 17 boards. Thurston McCarty had 10 points but off a dismal 4-for-13 shooting effort.
Dean Noll had eight points off the bench, and Jones had six (the two clutch threes). Josh Warren almost had a triple-double, ending with nine points, nine assists and seven rebounds. He appeared to be playing injured, wearing a facemask. He got poked good against Syracuse, so that could be the explanation.
The Big Red shot 23% on shots that weren’t off the hands of Boeheim.
Frustrating, but think big picture
So it’s obviously incredibly frustrating that the Big Red are 1-5 and have lost their last five with the last defeat coming against a program that is consistently in the bottom 20 in the nation.
But you have to think big picture. The Big Red are a combined four points away from being 4-2, as three of their five losses were by two or less. Cornell has also shown that it can do everything. In some games the Red play good defense, in some they shoot well, and in others they dominate on the boards. They have yet to piece it all together, but once they do, they could be really good.
And remember, nonconference games have no effect on league play. It’s a fresh start come Jan. 18. But, I know that the Big Red would like to start winning games, and their fanbase would certainly like the same.
We’ll see if Cornell can break its five-game skid on Tuesday when it takes on the Navy Midshipmen in Annapolis, Md. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Stadium.