Cornell men never trail in 89-75 victory over Canisius

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Cornell men’s basketball continued a trend Big Red fans haven’t seen much of since the days of Ryan Wittman, Louis Dale and Jeff Foote.

Winning.

With its second consecutive victory in which the team never trailed, Cornell won its sixth game of the season on Monday, defeating the Canisius Golden Griffins, 89-75.

“I thought we played well for a while,” coach Brian Earl said. “Somewhere in the second half, we lost track of ourselves … It’s good to get a win.”

Cornell (6-1) jumped out to a 16-6 lead over Canisius (2-5) after three-pointers from sophomores Sean Hansen and Keller Boothby to set an early tone. The two scored 10 points and eight points, respectively.

“It’s good to get those guys to come in and have confidence,” Earl said. “Most guys have the green light to shoot if they can shoot.”

The Golden Griffins fought back to trail by just two points with 9:39 to go in the first half, but a 25-11 run sparked off 57% shooting as a team gave the Big Red a 46-30 advantage at the break.

Cornell continued its hot shooting early in the second half, opening on an 11-2 run sparked by two three-pointers from junior guard Jordan Jones. He scored 14 points off 5-for-7 shooting.

“I rep them in practice and I rep them over the summer,” Jones said. “It’s just about putting them together in the games for me. I had a good little start, but I hadn’t been hitting too many shots recently, so now it’s just about getting back to business.”

The Big Red led by as many as 27 points, but technical fouls on Jones and reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Week Nazir Williams gave the Golden Griffins some momentum. Canisius narrowed its deficit to just 12 points with six minutes remaining, but Cornell held on for the 14-point victory.

“We just have to figure out how to act like winners,” Earl said. “It’s just unnecessary comments to everybody. Stuff that’s not college basketball … It’s about being mature in a space we haven’t been in a lot, and that’s having a winning record.

Senior forward Kobe Dickson led Cornell in the scoring column, posting a career-high 17 points off 7-for-9 shooting.

“It was nice to see the ball go in the hoop finally,” Dickson said. “Me being able to shoot opens up the middle of the lane for cuts, so defenses can’t sink off me and clog up the lane.”

Junior guard Greg Dolan returned to hometown Buffalo for the first time collegiately, scoring 12 points off perfect 5-for-5 shooting and dishing eight assists.

“Fun to be back in town,” Dolan said. “My sister plays here, my dad works here, so it was fun to go out on the court we always played on as little kids.”

Cornell shot 62% from the field, higher than its free-throw percentage at 58%. The Big Red connected on 11 of 22 three-point attempts, hitting more than 10 for the fourth time this season.

“It’s good to make those shots,” Earl said. “We’re not going always to be able to shoot so well from the field, and you are going to have to rely on those moments when you get to the line.”

For Canisius, Malek Green scored 19 points and Scott Hitchon scored 16. The Golden Griffins shot 38% from the field, 21% from deep and lost the rebound battle, 37-31.

Next, Cornell welcomes Coppin State in the first leg of a two-game homestand on Friday. The Eagles have played 10 games in three weeks to open the season at a 1-9 clip and will come to town after a game at St. Bonaventure on Wednesday.

“They have to play a tough schedule,” Earl said. “They are all over the place for their reasons. We’ve got to respect them as much as we can and make sure we do what we do.”

Cornell men notch victory over St. Francis (Pa.) as the Big Red offense keeps moving

ITHACA, N.Y. — Freshman guard Nazir Williams scored 21 points off efficient 7-for-10 shooting to pace Cornell on Wednesday as the Big Red took down Saint Francis (Pa.), 93-80.

Cornell (5-1) fell behind 4-2 in the opening minutes, but a 9-0 run put the hosts ahead 11-4 over Saint Francis (1-3).

The Big Red would never trail again.

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Cornell men fade late, bow to Penn State, 85-74

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Cornell men’s basketball led by 10 points in the first half, but a 19-5 Penn State run in the final seven minutes shot down Big Red’s upset attempt as the Nittany Lions held on at the Bryce Jordan Center, 85-74.

“[Penn State] had a pretty good game plan against us,” Cornell coach Brian Earl said. “We’re still learning how to play like this, and they sort of retreated well and got into some of our cutting lanes and passing lanes.”

Cornell (4-1) fell behind 14-6 in the opening seven minutes to Penn State (3-1) after a three-pointer by fifth-year senior guard Jaheam Cornwall, but a 21-3 Big Red run vaulted the visitors ahead, 27-17.

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Cornell men’s basketball looking to resume upward trajectory under Brian Earl

In Brian Earl’s first three seasons on East Hill, the Cornell men’s basketball team improved from eight to 15 wins, clinching a birth in the 2019 CIT to conclude Matt Morgan’s collegiate career. The Big Red took an expected step back in 2019-20, winning just seven games but setting themselves up for a strong 2020-21 with Jimmy Boeheim and Terrance McBride leading the way.

But, of course, that never happened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Boeheim now plays for his father, Jim Boeheim, at Syracuse, while McBride now plays for the Rice Owls, tabbed eighth in Conference USA.

Headed into the 2021-22 season, the Big Red are without their star power from two years ago but are hoping to develop under a group of returners.

“We took some lumps [in 2019-20] to have a team last year we thought would’ve been really competitive,” Earl said. “Once we knew those guys were going to move on, I think our team did a really good job of coming together – the younger guys realizing that we’re turning the page.”

While Boeheim and McBride are gone, Cornell has a core of players from two years ago to lead the team in a season filled with unknowns.

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Ivy League men’s basketball Media Day roundup

Two days after the Media Day for Ivy women’s hoops, the men had their turn at the virtual podium.  A day prior, the results of the preseason poll were released.  While five different teams earned top votes, the overall totals showed no changes from the last day of competition in 2020.

Yale, two-time defending Ivy champion, was again picked to come in first with 115 points and seven first-place votes.  Harvard, the 2019 co-champion, was close behind, tallying 110 points and four first-place votes.  Princeton, the 2017 title winner, closed out the top tier with 108 points and two first-place votes.

Penn, the 2018 co-champion, secured the last slot in the upper division with 93 points and two first-place selections.  Brown, which last held the title in 1986, again found itself behind the Quakers for fifth place with 79 points and a pair of title votes.

Dartmouth, which last entered the winner’s circle in 1959, was tabbed in the six slot with 43 points, four points more than Cornell, which last held the top spot in the Sweet Sixteen season of 2010.  Columbia, the 1968 champion, was projected to finish last with 25 points.

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Ivy hoops coaches pledge formal support for Black Lives Matter, detail accountability measures

The Ivy League on Friday announced an initiative including all 16 men’s and women’s basketball programs expressing commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Called “Ivy Promise,” the initiative comes with a message from the 16 women’s and men’s basketball head coaches:

We have heard our student-athletes’ and communities’ call to action. The anger, disappointment and hurt felt across our country in recent weeks has been eye-opening and inspired important conversations in our communities. This is how we will stand together to proceed forward on the path of making progress for humanity. This is our promise.The Ivy Promise represents the Ivy League basketball coaches’ commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement. While individually our platforms are influential, combined our platforms can be a catalyst for change. We are committed to achieving reform. We will stand against inequality and discrimination until all people are afforded the same opportunities in wages, healthcare, housing, education, and criminal justice. Together we will stand for justice, educate the people, and support our communities.Our initial action items as a league are as follows:

  • As the Head Coaches of Ivy League Basketball, we will use our status and privilege to be vocal advocates for equality for all.
  • When possible, our programs will buy from local black and minority owned businesses to help uplift our communities economically and decrease the wealth gap.
  • Our coaches and student-athletes will not only participate in All Vote No Play on November 3, but also use our voting power in local and state elections because that is where topics like criminal justice reform begin.
  • We will use our games on MLK Day and during Black History Month in February to avidly celebrate Black history and Black excellence.
  • Each Ivy League basketball team will donate to and volunteer with the local organizations that are working to address the specific needs of our community.

This is just the beginning.

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A take on the top 10 teams in Ivy men’s hoops history

Editor’s note: Ivy Hoops Online writer Richard Kent has followed Ancient Eight men’s basketball for decades and after consultation with players, coaches and fans has compiled his personal list of the top 10 men’s hoops teams since the formation of the Ivy League as we know it in 1955. No top 10 list in this category is going to look the same, so if you have a top 10 of your own that you’d like to share, please share it in a comment below. 

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Harvard men take sole possession of second place with win over Cornell

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.”

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Cornell men can’t stop Dartmouth as Ian Sistare notches a career scoring high

ITHACA, N.Y. – The Dartmouth Big Green couldn’t be stopped offensively at Newman Arena Friday night en route to an 82-70 win over Cornell that marked the visitors’ fourth win in five games.

“We didn’t play any defense,” said Cornell coach Brian Earl. “They made a lot of shots, shot it really well. We just couldn’t find a way.”

The Big Green (11-15, 4-7 Ivy) took an eight-point lead into the locker room at the half. They were led by senior forward Ian Sistare, who scored 14 in the half. He had a career-high 25 points on the evening off 8-for-10 shooting.

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Cornell falls to efficient Penn in Sunday matinee

ITHACA, N.Y. – Cornell was unable to slow Penn down on offense in a rare Sunday afternoon game at Newman Arena, falling to the visitors, 79-73 in a game that tipped off 20 hours than it was supposed to because of a postponement due to inclement weather.

“We needed a couple more stops and a couple more plays made,” Cornell coach Brian Earl said. “They fought a hard game last night, and us, so these games are always difficult.”

The Big Red (5-14, 2-4 Ivy) opened the game on an 8-2 run, but the Quakers (12-7, 4-2) came back and led by as many as eight in the first half. Terrance McBride connected on a nifty post move with two seconds left to cut the Penn lead to three at the halftime buzzer. He wound up with 15 points.

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