Jimmy Boeheim went off for a career-high 31 points on a very efficient 14-for-20 shooting night and Matt Morgan stuffed the stat sheet one last time, but the Robert Morris Colonials couldn’t miss in overtime, beating the Big Red, 98-89, in the first round of the CIT. The loss has ended the Big Red’s season at 15-16.
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.
The Cornell Big Red defense came out with a plan to slow down Harvard’s junior guard Bryce Aiken, and was very successful in doing so. Aiken had 17 points but shot a poor 4-for-18 from the field. Cornell’s Matt Morgan put on a show in one of his last home games, dropping 31 points with five threes, leading Cornell to a 72-59 win over the Crimson.
This season was the first time in nine years that the Big Red swept Harvard, dating back to the magical Sweet 16 run of 2009-10. Unfortunately, Cornell didn’t get the help it needed from Princeton and Yale Friday, and the Big Red were eliminated from the Ivy League Tournament. But, they still have a lot to play for on Saturday against Dartmouth.
Jim Engles was announced as Columbia’s new head coach Sunday by Columbia Athletics, succeeding Kyle Smith in the position. Engles previously served as an assistant coach from 2003-08 under then-head coach Joe Jones and compiled a 100-88 record in eight seasons as head coach at NJIT, which had only competed for two years in Division I prior to Engles’ taking over.
Engles led the Highlanders to the CIT semifinals each of the past two seasons, including an 80-65 loss to Columbia in the semifinals at Levien Gym in his final game as NJIT’s coach as the Lions went on to win the CIT championship.
Engles is a 1990 graduate of Dickinson College. As Columbia Athletics notes, his uncle John was a high school All-American who went on to play at Penn under Chuck Daly from 1973-76. Engles served as an assistant at Rider from 1997-2003 and at Wagner from 1990-97.
I have spoken, written, and typed many words about Columbia sporting events since I first stepped on campus and tonight I used a word to describe the experience that I had not used before: fun. Tonight’s environment in Levien felt more like an Ivy clincher than the championship game of a fourth-tier, mid-major only, buy-your-home-court-advantage tournament with teams selected in part by San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates. It was the first postseason tournament victory for the Ivy League in more than 40 years but more importantly than that, it was a happy ending to many eras.
As Brandon Sherrod iced Baylor from the foul line Thursday afternoon, two thoughts quickly popped into the minds of Ivy basketball enthusiasts. First, a sense of shock that Yale had actually pulled off the upset and second, that next in line for the Elis was Duke, one of the bluest of college basketball’s bluebloods.
The question posed to all non-Yale Ivy fans was, do we root for team loyalty or conference loyalty? You, the esteemed reader, might be dealing with this dilemma yourself. Is it really worth rooting for Duke (Duke!) just for the sake of hoping a conference rival doesn’t make it past the first weekend? Here to tackle this issue are two Columbia fans who are definitely not bitter that their team has not made the tournament in their lifetimes while others experience joy: Miles Johnson is taking the pro-Yale (or at least anti-Duke) side, and Sam Tydings would rather see Grayson Allen smile than Yale advance to the Sweet 16.
Columbia 86, Norfolk State 54
The host Lions doubled up the Spartans in the first half, 42-21, and never looked back. Luke Petrasek shook off a late-season scoring slump to lead all scorers with 18 points in just 24 minutes, with Petrasek and Maodo Lo each hitting four treys to give the Lions an easy first-round CIT win. The Spartans got outscored 48-6 from three-point range, and that was pretty much the ballgame. Here’s Columbia Athletics’ explanation of what happens next in the crazy CIT process:
Columbia announced Friday it would host Norfolk State at Levien Gym in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament on Wed., Mar. 16 at 7 p.m.
The Lions enter the CIT with an overall record of 21-10, the most regular season victories for Columbia since 1950-51. Norfolk State, meanwhile, enters with an overall record of 17-16 and a second-place finish in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. (Columbia’s KenPom ranking is 114, while the Spartans’ ranking is 234.) Tickets are on sale now.
Columbia defeated Valparaiso on the road and Eastern Michigan at home in the first and second rounds of the 2014 CIT before losing to Yale, 72-69, in the quarterfinals.
Columbia is heading to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament for the second time in three years after advancing to the quarterfinals of the tournament in 2014, the school announced Friday. The Lions will host a first-round game at Levien Gym on Wed., March 16, against an opponent to be determined.
The school news release notes that Columbia’s 21-10 record this regular season has already given the program its most regular season victories since 1950-51. Columbia defeated Valparaiso on the road and Eastern Michigan at home in the first and second rounds of the 2014 CIT before losing to Yale, 72-69, in the quarterfinals. Yale went on to advance to the CIT championship game, where it lost at Murray State, 65-57, sans Justin Sears.
The complete 2016 CIT field of 32 teams will be announced by CollegeInsider.com on the evening of Selection Sunday.
We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. Yale is next by request of Ivy Player of the Year Justin Sears.
Yale”s run through the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) first round in 2014 was quite the roller coaster. First, a three-pointer banked in by Justin Sears with 0.07 seconds left gave Yale a 69-68 squeaker over Quinnipiac. Then in the second round, Yale prevailed at Holy Cross, 71-66, overcoming a 66-65 deficit with 1:43 remaining to make James Jones online casino the winningest coach in Yale basketball history (surpassing Joe Vancisin). Yale”s next win came by a 72-69 at Ivy rival Columbia, which had beaten the Bulldogs 62-46 on the same Levien Gym floor.