No. 1 Princeton men survive No. 4 Cornell, 77-73, to advance to Ivy League Tournament final

Ivy Player of the Year Tosan Evbuomwan lived up to that honor down the stretch of Princeton’s 77-73 Ivy League Tournament semifinal win over Cornell, scoring 14 points in the final 10:14 to lead the Tigers to victory. (photo by Erica Denhoff)

No. 1 Princeton and No. 4 Cornell combined to give us one of the best games in Ivy League Tournament history Saturday.

But it was the Tigers who drew final blood against the Big Red, advancing to the tournament final, with Player of the Year Tosan Evbuomwan hitting the game-winning shot with 36 seconds left to push Princeton past a persistent Cornell squad in a 77-73 barnburner.

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Cornell men finish regular season with convincing victory over Columbia

Saturday’s regular season finale didn’t mean much for the Cornell men, but in a different way than they are used to. The Big Red had already clinched the No. 4 seed in next weekend’s Ivy League Tournament and could not improve their standing in any way.

But Cornell did gain more of one thing — momentum.

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Cornell men exceeding expectations in impressive 8-1 start

Most people overlooked Cornell ahead of this season. Picked seventh in the Ivy League poll, many expected the Big Red wouldn’t be much of a factor and that the team would likely win few games.

But a month into the season, the Big Red are well on their way to 10 wins before conference play even starts.

Nobody expected the Big Red to start 8-1. With nearly a brand new roster, Brian Earl’s squad has already won more games than the entire 2019-20 season, a team led by now-Syracuse star Jimmy Boeheim.

“It’s really fun,” senior forward Kobe Dickson said after a win over Canisius last week. “I love these guys [and] it’s nice to be winning with them.”

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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.”

Takeaways from the Cornell men’s solid 2-0 start

Just one Ivy League men’s basketball team remains undefeated through a week of action, and it isn’t either conference favorite in Harvard or Yale. Instead, it’s the Cornell Big Red, searching for their first 3-0 start in 25 seasons on Tuesday against Colgate at Newman Arena.

Cornell doesn’t have the star power its opponents have, but the team has shown its depth through season-opening wins at Binghamton and Lafayette. The team has also shown resiliency, coming up with big stops and timely shot-making in 76-69 and 90-85 victories over the Bearcats and Leopards, respectively.

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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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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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Post-double OT fatigue, Boeheim’s absence nonfactors as Cornell dominates Brown

Cornell seized a lead with 14:51 left in the first half and never looked back, beating Brown in dominating fashion, 63-45, at Newman Arena Saturday night.

After a back-and-forth first five minutes, the Big Red (6-17, 3-7 Ivy) jumped ahead by as many as 14 in the first half but went to the locker room up nine.

Cornell came back out hot, scoring the first seven in the second half. Bryan Knapp hit a jumper, Kobe Dickson converted a layup, and Terrance McBride drilled a three to push the Big Red lead to 16. They led by 20 at times in the second half but would eventually win by 18.

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Cornell blows eight-point lead with three minutes left to fall to first-place Yale in double overtime

Brian Earl has told me before that his Big Red squad has found every possible way to lose a game. Well, on Friday night at Newman Arena, they found yet another.

Cornell led for almost the entire ballgame and held a comfortable eight-point lead with just under three minutes to play in Ithaca. Eric Monroe drilled a three for the Bulldogs, and Jordan Bruner converted on a layup with just over two minutes in regulation, and then Azar Swain hit a tough three to tie things up with 61 seconds remaining.

The sides would then trade turnovers before a Terrance McBride halfcourt attempt to win the game fell short, sending the game to overtime.

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