Matt Morgan’s 27 points, 25 of which were in the second half, and the Big Red’s suffocating defense was enough to push themselves over the Navy Midshipmen Sunday, 61-50. Cornell climbed to 6-7 with the win, while Navy fell to 3-8.
A very slow start for the Big Red led to only 21 points in the first half, while Morgan was held to just two points.
He wound up with 27 points, and hit two three-pointers while going 11-for-12 from the charity stripe.
Steven Julian came to play, contributing nine points, hauling in a career-high 15 rebounds and registering four blocks. He did, however, commit three turnovers.
Josh Warren and Jimmy Boeheim had very quiet afternoons, shooting a combined 2-for-10 from the field, and Warren also had four turnovers.
After trailing 24-21 at the half, Cornell scored 40 second-half points and shot 40 percent for the game. Cornell’s defense only allowed 26 points in the second half, and Navy shot a brutal 29 percent from the field.
Threes were hard to come by for both teams, with Navy shooting 22 percent and Cornell shooting 17 percent.
Both teams were playing great first-half defense, and with about 10 or so minutes left in the first half, Navy switched from man-to-man to a 2-3 zone with a heavy press that Cornell struggled to find shots from. Cornell scored just six points in the half’s final 11 minutes.
The Big Red were able to control the boards by a margin of two (44-42) but still need to improve. They only had eight offensive rebounds compared to Navy’s 15, and Navy had 19 more shot attempts than Cornell. Even though they won, this game again shows the importance of the Big Red needing to control the pace of the game and the backboard. They need to improve on limiting opposing possessions, because again: with more shot attempts comes more made shots.
Besides defense, one of the things they did really well in the game was staying out of foul trouble. Cornell had just eight team fouls all game, and Warren and Julian only had one each. This allowed for coach Brian Earl to give them more minutes and utilize a smaller rotation. They didn’t have to dig deeper to Chaz Mack and Riley Voss.
Both teams didn’t have much production off of the bench, Cornell had 11 bench points, and Navy only had six.
Cornell starts off the New Year in Winston-Salem, N.C. for a matchup against Wake Forest.
This game will be a homecoming for Morgan and Joel Davis, both native to North Carolina.
Wake Forest is No. 159 in KenPom rankings, with four Ivies currently boasting higher rankings (Yale, Harvard, Penn and Brown)
Wake Forest is just 6-5 on the season and has lost their last two games, including a home loss to Gardner-Webb Saturday.
The game will take place Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The game will be live on the ACC Network Extra and ESPN+.