The final regular season game followed a great storyline. One of my favorite coaches spurred his team to its best offensive showing of the season, 60% shooting from the field, 64% from deep, five players in double figures and 85 points in a win. The problem for me is the favorite coach is Brian Earl, skipper of the Cornell Big Red, who masterminded a terrific game plan in the 85-82 Cornell victory.
After four months and 26 games, Penn’s chance at making its fourth straight Ivy Madness appearance now comes down to one final contest.
Following a closely matched 24 minutes, the Quakers used a 12-4 run, punctuated by back-to-back threes from Ryan Betley and Jordan Dingle, to create separation from Cornell and cruise to a 78-64 victory on Friday night.
ITHACA, N.Y. – Despite the absence of Christian Juzang due to injury, Harvard pulled out a 67-58 win over Cornell, putting the Crimson in sole possession of second place in the Ivy standings.
“They’re an impressive group,” Cornell coach Brian Earl said. “I won’t miss some of their seniors on their team. They’re grown men.”
The first half was super streaky, although relatively close. Harvard (20-7, 9-3 Ivy) opened up on a 6-0 run, followed by an 8-0 run from Bryan Knapp for the Big Red (6-19, 3-9).
“My teammates [are] looking for me,” Knapp said. “I had five, then Terrance [McBride] was like, ‘I’m getting you the ball,’ and he drove, kicked it to me.”
Brian Earl has told me before that his Big Red squad has found every possible way to lose a game. Well, on Friday night at Newman Arena, they found yet another.
Cornell led for almost the entire ballgame and held a comfortable eight-point lead with just under three minutes to play in Ithaca. Eric Monroe drilled a three for the Bulldogs, and Jordan Bruner converted on a layup with just over two minutes in regulation, and then Azar Swain hit a tough three to tie things up with 61 seconds remaining.
The sides would then trade turnovers before a Terrance McBride halfcourt attempt to win the game fell short, sending the game to overtime.
Cornell suffered its second 22-point loss in as many days, falling to Dartmouth, 75-53, in Hanover Saturday night. Even worse for the Big Red, Jimmy Boeheim went down with an injury just six minutes in and never returned.
The junior made the first four for the visitors, then got tangled up on a foul call under the basket on defense. He landed funny and had difficulty walking. Boeheim hobbled on one foot to the trainer station where he was looked at. He finally returned to the bench, taped with ice, and stayed there for the remainder of the game.
ITHACA, N.Y. – The Cornell Big Red may have had just two wins in 15 tries against Division I competition entering Saturday afternoon’s contest against the visiting Princeton Tigers, but they took Princeton wire-to-wire in a 73-62 triumph at Newman Arena in a game that started 19 hours later than originally scheduled due to inclement weather.
“It was good to get a win,” Cornell coach Brian Earl said. “[We] finished it out in somewhat the way you should.”
The Tigers (9-9, 4-1 Ivy) came out very flat and made a lot of mistakes. They had nine turnovers in the first half, contributing to the Big Red (5-13, 2-3) taking a 35-22 advantage into the locker room.
“[Because of the weather], they couldn’t get in the gym [on Friday],” Earl said. “Their bus ran off the road yesterday, so I think just sitting around can hurt you.”
ITHACA, N.Y. – Cornell limited Columbia guards Jack Forrest and Mike Smith to a combined 7-for-32 shooting night as the Big Red took down the Lions, 62-50, at Newman Arena to pick up their first Ivy League win and first Division I win since Nov. 5.
The Big Red (4-11, 1-1 Ivy) were led by a balanced attack on offense while limiting the Lions (6-11, 1-1) to 32% shooting on defense. That was mainly due to Bryan Knapp’s all-around effort for the Big Red. He was tasked with guarding Mike Smith, who scored just 15 points on 5-for-23 shooting.
“We were just forcing him left, [isolating] him as much as we could, just team defense,” said Knapp. “We knew if we could shut him down, that was it. The last five minutes, the gameplan was ‘Bryan, don’t let him get the ball.'”
Columbia built an early lead and avoided a late-game collapse, as the Lions opened the Ivy schedule with a convincing 75-61 victory over Cornell Saturday at Levien Gym.
The Big Red (3-11, 0-1 Ivy) started out strong, shooting 57% by the first media timeout, to take a quick 12-9 lead. Unfortunately for the visitors, the Lions (6-11 overall, 1-0) limited Cornell to 14% shooting over the next 14-plus minutes. The Columbia offense, meanwhile, was clicking on all cylinders, shooting 67% from two, 50% from three and 71% from the free throw line to take a commanding 48-29 halftime lead.
ITHACA – The Cornell Men’s Basketball team finally broke its 10-game losing streak with victories over Division III opponents SUNY Purchase and Elmira College.
They took down Purchase last week by a score of 100-68 thanks to 21 points off the bench from Dean Noll and 18 points off the bench from Greg Dolan. The team was actually down by one point at the half, but the Big Red took control in the final 20 minutes.
Against Elmira Monday, the team was phenomenal on defense, allowing just 33 points in a 70-33 victory. Riley Voss led the way with 14 points and Josh Warren added 10.
“Winning is hard,” said coach Brian Earl. “We have to go to some teams that beat up on us a little bit, and that can demoralize you, and some close losses. Just sort of figuring out that you can put all the effort in and actually come out with a win.”
There was hope for Brian Earl and Cornell Sunday afternoon, a little gleam that shined through at Chase Family Arena. Sure, Hartford is a middle-of-the-road America East team (see: probably not Yale, Harvard, or Penn), but there the Big Red were, making shots, dominating inside and outside, finally able to remove some of the stench from an eight-game losing streak that had morale not-so-cheery as Christmas approaches.
And then it all fell apart.