Ivy Hoops Online contributor George “Toothless Tiger” Clark sizes up a scintillating 79-77 win for (23-3, 11-2 Ivy) over Cornell (21-6, 10-3) Saturday at a sold-out Jadwin Gym:
When the final horn sounded at a sold out Jadwin Gymnasium, Cornell had to think back to last weekend.
The Big Red fell to Princeton 79-77 on Saturday, making it a split with the Tigers on the season. But that’s not what sunk Cornell in the fight for a share of the regular-season title and the top seed in Ivy Madness. The fatal flaw came last weekend, losing to Brown at Newman Arena.
Still, the Big Red could have redeemed themselves in front of a white-hot Princeton squad.
Tigers senior guard Matt Allocco, senior forward Zach Martini and coach Mitch Henderson take stock of a 79-77 win qualifying as an instant classic for Princeton men’s basketball (23-3, 11-2 Ivy) over Cornell (21-6, 10-3) Saturday at a sold-out Jadwin Gym:
Ivy Hoops Online contributor George “Toothless Tiger” Clark reflects on Friday’s 84-70 win for Princeton men’s basketball (22-3, 10-2 Ivy) over Columbia (13-12, 4-8) and looks ahead to the Tigers’ high-stakes matchup with Cornell (21-5, 10-2) Saturday evening:
Penn did just about everything right against Cornell on Friday night at the Palestra.
The Quakers came out with more energy despite having no postseason hopes, forcing eight turnovers in the game’s first eight minutes. They hit 15 three-pointers on 33 attempts. They built a 14-point lead in the second half.
It still wasn’t enough.
The Big Red staved off a Quakers upset bid thanks to the efforts of AK Okereke, who backed up into an uncontested go-ahead three-point jumper with 2:12 to go that put Cornell up for good in an 87-81 win. Okereke finished with a team-high 18 points for Cornell (21-5, 10-2 Ivy).
Penn (10-17, 2-10) got two clean three-point looks to tie from star freshmen Sam Brown and Tyler Perkins in the final two minutes, but neither went down. It’s been that kind of season for the Red and Blue.
What did Penn fans learn from a game effort against one of the best teams in the Ivy League?
Coming off arguably its best win of the season over Yale, Cornell men’s basketball laid an egg.
Trailing nearly the entire game, the Big Red couldn’t mount a late comeback Saturday night, losing to Brown, 78-74, spoiling Senior Night and a perfect record at Newman Arena this season. But most importantly, it pulled Cornell out of the driver’s seat in the battle for the regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the Ivy League Tournament.
Behind 15 with 4:49 left, the Big Red nearly mounted an improbable comeback. Senior forward Sean Hansen drilled a triple and senior guard Chris Manon finished in the paint. Junior forward Guy Ragland Jr. got a layup before backing his man down and eventually finishing and drawing a foul.
Ragland missed the free throw, but the Big Red came up with a stop. With 1:14 left, sophomore guard Cooper Noard squared up and nailed a corner triple to cut it down to 74-71.
That, however, was the closest Cornell got. Though the Bears missed multiple free throws down the stretch, the Big Red did the same as the door got left wide open.
Sophomore forward Kalu Anya led Brown with 23 points off 9-of-18 shooting. Junior forward Nana Owusu-Anane added 15 and senior guard Kimo Ferrari had 13.
For Cornell, Hansen led with 16 points and Ragland had 11. Manon and junior guard Nazir Williams each had 10 as Cornell shot just 44%, shooting well under 50% for the second consecutive night.
The loss draws Cornell even with Yale and Princeton at 9-2 in the Ivy. Both Cornell and Princeton went 1-1 against Yale this year, meaning the top seed in the conference will likely get decided next weekend when the Big Red visit the Tigers. Cornell handled Princeton earlier this year at Newman Arena.
But for a team that controlled its own destiny, losing to Brown is massive. It eliminates their cushion. And now, the Big Red will have heavy lifting at Jadwin Gymnasium to earn the No. 1 seed in a year when the top seed has never been so important.
First for Cornell, it’ll visit Penn on Friday night. Brown will host Cornell.
Cornell men’s basketball didn’t win Friday night’s marquee matchup with Yale because of its offense.
It won because of its defense and grit. And maybe a little luck.
Surviving the Bulldogs, 65-62, the Big Red took sole possession of first place in the Ivy League standings.
After its first Ivy League loss to Yale last weekend, Cornell men’s basketball wasn’t fazed.
Chip on their shoulders and all, the Big Red returned home and came up with a sweep of Harvard and Dartmouth for the second time in three weeks.
— Yale Athletics (@YaleAthletics) February 10, 2024
Yale men’s basketball coach James Jones described his team’s 80-78 home win over Cornell in a high-stakes clash of Ivy unbeatens Saturday as “helter skelter.”
The last 40 seconds of the game epitomized that.