It wasn’t much warmer in the Kirby Sports Center in Easton, Pa. than it was in Ithaca Wednesday, with teams from both towns
shooting percentages not much higher than the temperature, but it wouldn’t matter as Cornell was able to sneak by for a 63-58 victory in overtime. Cornell improved to 4-3, while Lafayette dropped to 2-4. Lafayette and Cornell each shot 36 percent and 37 percent respectively from the field.
Sloppy ball-handling for Cornell led to 19 turnovers and a loss against the UConn Huskies on Tuesday by a score of 91-74. Cornell dropped to 3-3 with the loss, with UConn improving to 4-1.
UConn threw constant pressure and double teams at Matt Morgan whenever it could, but it wouldn’t matter as he was stellar again with 26 points, making 11 shots on just four misses. He drilled four long balls, only missing twice from there. He also had four rebounds and competed well defensively with a steal and two blocks, while altering several other shots. Josh Warren was the only other double digit scorer for the Big Red, posting 10 points on 3-of-6 shooting. Jack Gordon and Jimmy Boeheim had trouble shooting the ball but had four assists and three assists respectively, as they had several drives to the hoop then passing to a player like Jake Kuhn or Josh Warren who would be cutting to the hoop.
After suffering cold shooting in their previous two games, the Cornell Big Red came out red hot Saturday, hitting 64 percent of their shots in a win at the previously unbeaten NJIT Highlanders. Cornell improved to 3-2 with the win, while NJIT dropped to 4-1. This win would put the two teams in a share for first in the Central New York Hoops Classic. Colgate could also clinch a first place share at 3-1 in the tournament with a win against Binghamton on Monday.
In no surprise, Matt Morgan led the Big Red with 34 points on 10-of-16 shooting and 6-of-10 from deep. He also had seven rebounds, two assists, and one block in the effort. Jimmy Boeheim had 15 points off of 7-for-11 shooting from the bench, also hauling down six rebounds with two of them being offensive rebounds. Cornell’s three-point specialist Jack Gordon came off of the bench with 10 points, while finally connecting on two three-point shots. Big man Josh Warren had a great game, with eight points on six assists, as he’s often the center of Brian Earl’s Princeton Offense. Steven Julian had his best game of the season, as he had four points off of perfect two for two shooting, eight rebounds, three assists, and two blocks.
Cornell could not fix its shooting woes from Sunday against Colgate and dropped Thursday’s home contest against the Delaware Blue Hens by a score of 73-56. Cornell fell to 2-2 with the loss, while the Blue Hens improved to 3-1.
Jimmy Boeheim and Matt Morgan both had stellar games, with Boeheim notching 23 points on 7-for-13 shooting off the bench, and Matt Morgan was able to recover from a poor game on Sunday with 21 points on 9-for-12 shooting. He also hauled in five boards and had four assists. The two pitched in a combined 44 points, shooting 16-for-26 (61.5 percent), while the rest of the team combined for just 12 points shooting on a woeful 6-for-31 (19.4 percent). The team shot 6-for-23 for three (26.1 percent), with Morgan and Boeheim connecting on three each. Five of the six threes came in the game’s last 6:12.
A rough Sunday afternoon for the Matt Morgan-led Cornell Big Red found the Colgate Raiders pulling away in the second half, winning by a score of 73-57 in the Central New York Hoops Classic at Newman Arena. Cornell would fall to 2-1 with this being their first loss, and Colgate would improve to 2-1.
Matt Morgan would finish with 12 points while shooting 4-for-14 overall, including 1-for-9 from deep. However, he was able to haul in 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.
Cornell struggled mightily from both the three-point and free throw lines, shooting 4-for-28 (14.3 percent) and 7-for-17 (41.2 percent) from those areas respectively.
For the last three years, I have attended Cornell’s season opener against the Binghamton Bearcats. Both schools are a manageable drive north on I-81 from my home near Scranton. Each of these games has offered an interesting sideline, a story within the story, beyond the final score.
Two years ago, Brian Earl was making his head coaching debut at Cornell. At the same time, Binghamton’s shooting guard, J.C. Show, a product of my local high school who had been mildly pursued by Earl’s Tigers, took the court for the first time since transferring from Bucknell. Show’s 26 points helped Binghamton spoil Earl’s first game, while rather thoroughly mixing my emotions.
Last year, the teams tipped off in Ithaca. For the first time, Jimmy Boeheim, son of the Hall of Famer, appeared in a Cornell uniform. His parents and I were there to witness the event. The elder Boeheim first came to my attention when he played for the Scranton Miners in the old Eastern League in the 1960’s. His gritty, baseline-to-baseline combativeness won the hearts of thousands of fans in blue collar Scranton. When I encountered him at a concession stand during halftime, his reaction was typical coach Boeheim: “Get out of my way … ”
Picked for sixth in the 2017-2018 Ivy League preseason poll, the Cornell men’s team (12-16 overall, 6-8 Ivy) exceeded expectations to finish the season in fourth place and secure the team’s first ever appearance in the Ivy Tournament. After starting conference play with three straight losses by a total of 71 points, the Red and their second-year head coach Brian Earl regrouped. Over the next four weeks, they went on a 4-2 run, punctuated by a 22-point second half comeback in a 107-101 triple overtime win over Princeton, to get back into the thick of the race for the upper division. After losing a thrilling double overtime at Harvard on the penultimate night of the regular season, Cornell bounced back again to defeat Dartmouth and claim the Ivy’s fourth golden ticket.
In the semifinal against Harvard, the Big Red found themselves up seven with three minutes to go in the first half, but the Crimson closed the stanza on a 16-4 run. Without any answers in the second half, their season ended with a 74-55 defeat. With the return of Matt Morgan and Stone Gettings for their senior seasons, things looked up for the Cornell faithful. In May, however, Gettings changed all of that with a surprise announcement that he would forgo his senior season, graduate in December and become a graduate transfer for 2019-20. Despite the loss of their second-team All-Ivy forward, the Big Red look to jump over the .500 mark and make it back to Ivy Madness.
Ivy Untold is a great website, and Ivy hoops fans should be aware of it.
In case you’ve missed it, Ivy Untold was launched by then-Cornell junior forward Jordan Abdur-Ra’oof last year as a platform for minority students. Since then, it has allowed minority Cornell students to tell their stories, from an African American field hockey player recounting her experience as “that black girl on the field” to a lacrosse player’s struggle with and comeback against anxiety.
It’s also worth noting that the site’s co-founder is Cornell senior guard Troy Whiteside, with former guard Kyle Brown also contributing site design.
Earlier this month, Ivy Untold ran “Play the Game Before the Game Plays You,” a piece penned by Abdur-Ra’oof in which he candidly details the challenges and frustrations of playing for one coach his freshman and sophomore years (Bill Courtney) and another his junior and senior years (Brian Earl) as well as finishing his career at Cornell by riding the bench. It’s an honest and much-needed reminder that these Ivy League student-athletes are people who juggle life-shaping hardships, disappointments and transitions before our very eyes as they compete (or don’t). far surpassing in importance our own fandom as supporters of our respective Ivies.
No. 1 Harvard 74, No. 4 Cornell 55
Harvard (18-12, 13-2 Ivy) looked pretty shaky at first, getting sped up by Cornell’s aggressive defense, committing three turnovers in the first 3:20 and sending Cornell (12-16, 6-9) into the bonus 9:14 into the game. The Crimson trailed 28-21 with less than three minutes to go in the first half, shooting 2-for-11 from long range and struggling with a patient Cornell offense firing on all cylinders.