Cornell dominated at SMU, 81-53

This was by no means a game to remember for the Big Red.

Cornell was dominated by the SMU Mustangs in an 81-53 defeat in Dallas Saturday.

Despite being draped all over by the defense throughout the entire game, Matt Morgan met his season average with 23 points, which included a four-point play and 10 made free throws. Jake Kuhn made a nice contribution off of the bench with 11 points led by three longballs and Josh Warren added 10.

With 11:17 left in the first half, Cornell (5-7, KenPom No. 255) trailed only 16-15, but then SMU (8-4, KenPom No. 85) went on a 40-7 mega-run that took care of business with authority.

Cornell has a lot it needs to improve on, with defense actually far down on the list. For the second straight game, Cornell was annihilated on the boards, today getting outrebounded by 13. The Big Red’s inability to get defensive rebounds led to SMU having more possessions and more shots, and the Mustangs had 12 more shots than Cornell. Because they cannot rebound the ball, they have the ball on offense for less time, resulting in less shots, and less shots leads to less points.

Cornell has enough offense to win games. It’s just not consistent enough. There are games where Jimmy Boeheim scores 20 points with ease, but on a night like this, he only had two. Troy Whiteside registered just one point and Terrance McBride was held scoreless. To win games, Cornell needs at least seven points out of those two, as well as Steven Julian.

Julian has been a defensive anchor, but his offense has been a trainwreck this year. He needs to have more opportunities off the pick-and-roll and then trust his finishing ability. Julian had almost a wide open alley-oop attempt that he passed out of, but he did have a nice layup later in the possession.

Cornell does need to take better control of the ball, especially Josh Warren. He accounted for six of Cornell’s 13 turnovers, as he had a few cross-court passes that went poorly as well as being stripped down low.

The Big Red’s offensive consistency and ball handling are both things that can be controlled each game with some more practice, but their rebounding is something that is rather worrisome and something that will take time to fix.

It would be nice for Brian Earl to bring in a 6’10-6’11 big man for defense and rebounding purposes for next season’s campaign.

After a little over a week off for the holidays, Cornell will return home to face the now-3-7 Navy Midshipmen. Though taking down the 8-5 Delaware Blue Hens, Navy comes in at No. 321 in KenPom rankings.

The game will take place on Sun., Dec. 30 at 1 p.m. at Newman Arena. As always, the game will be live on ESPN+ as is every Cornell home game and every single conference game.

2 thoughts on “Cornell dominated at SMU, 81-53”

  1. Nathan — I really appreciate the coverage you have been giving the team, I only wish they were doing more to deserve it.

    I’m not sure there is enough offense to be a consistent winner. Yeah, Boeheim can score 20, but it’s been over a month since he did so. He’s not getting to the rim as much as he did in the early days of the season, which could be a sign that opposing teams have him scouted. 10-ish a night may be the more reasonable expectation, depending on how hot he is from behind the arc.

    The bigger issue is the one you point out: Cornell is starting three guys (Julian, McBride and Whiteside) who are contributing virtually nothing on the offensive end. Even with an elite scorer like Morgan, that won’t work. You need Julian for his rebounding and defense, so you have to hope his shooting percentage trends back (his eFG is down 20 points from last year). McBride’s shooting is down even more — he can’t shoot 15% from behind the arc all season can he? But there is no depth a PG. Troy should be a 6-7 point player, but he isn’t getting to the rim as well as he did in 2017. He’s probably the best candidate to move out of the starting rotation for more offense.

    The rebounding is what it is this year unless one of the Jucos or Dickson takes over (no real reason to think that will happen). I was really expecting/hoping for more from Mack this season.

    Anyway, thanks for coverage.

    • Yeah, it will be a very interesting ivy season for Cornell. Like today against Navy, Morgan score almost half of the teams points, but Julian was able to contribute nine. Boeheim and Warren only scored two, and that can’t happen. I agree, nothing will come from the JUCOs or Dickson, they’ve barely played this season.


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