After a Princeton victory over Harvard on Friday, the fate of Cornell men’s basketball’s season was officially in its own hands with two games remaining. If the Big Red win, they’re in the Ivy League Tournament.
And that’s exactly what they did on Saturday against the preseason Ivy title favorite Yale Bulldogs, winning 71-65 at Newman Arena. Now, just one Harvard loss in their final two games or a Cornell win over Columbia next weekend will punch the Big Red’s ticket to Cambridge.
After Azar Swain connected on a three-pointer in the opening minute, Cornell (14-10, 6-7 Ivy) outscored Yale (16-11, 10-3) 18-10 in the next 10 minutes to take a five-point lead. The Bulldogs responded with a 14-3 run to jump ahead by six with 4:12 left in the first half, but the Big Red fought back to lead by four at the break.
Yale drew within one early in the second half but the Bulldogs could never retake the lead. Cornell maintained a two-possession lead for most of the second half, finally taking an 11-point lead with 1:48 remaining. A late Jalen Gabbidon jumper cut Cornell’s lead to four with 10 seconds left, a pair of Greg Dolan free throws iced the game for the Big Red on the other end.
Jordan Jones and Guy Ragland, Jr., who also made three triples, each scored 11 points for Cornell. Dolan added 10 off the bench, including two three-pointers. The team shot 41% from the field, made 24% of its threes, turned the ball over 10 times and registered 16 assists.
Gabbidon led the Bulldogs with 15 points while Swain added 13. Matt Knowling added eight off efficient 4-for-6 shooting. Yale made 41% of their shots, turned the ball over 20 times and outrebounded Cornell by 11. The visitors had just eight assists and made 25% of their three-pointers.
Cornell’s win marks Brian Earl’s first as coach against Yale, which had beaten the Big Red in 16 straight matchups.
Dean Noll notched six steals for Cornell, which recorded 15 steals overall. The Big Red lead the Ivy League in defensive turnover and steal percentages.
Next up, Cornell travels to Columbia (4-21, 1-12) for both teams’ final regular season game. Yale returns home to host Brown as it fights for the No. 1 seed in the Ivy League Tournament.