The biggest story of the off-season was Miye Oni being selected in June’s NBA Draft. The Yale junior and reigning Ivy Player of the Year decided to leave school early and leave his name in the draft. Despite falling to the late second round, a perilous spot to making an NBA roster, Oni impressed in the Summer League and earned a guaranteed contract with the Utah Jazz. He is playing just as well in the pre-season and looks to be a real steal for the Jazz.
Featuring 18 contests against teams ranked in the top 150 and highlighted by trips to the Carrier Dome and the Bryce Jordan Center, the Cornell men’s basketball teams released its 2019-20 schedule on Thursday. The Big Red will attempt to develop their young squad over a 13-game nonconference schedule to again exceed expectations and return to the Ivy League Tournament after a one-year absence.
Following early games with Binghamton and Bryant, Cornell welcomes NJIT to Newman Arena on November 13. Last season, the Big Red defeated the Highlanders by six in Newark and look to make it two-in-a-row over the ASUN’s second best team. Three days later, the Red head to the midwest to take on DePaul of the Big East. This game would have had more intrigue had Bill Courtney remained on the Blue Demons’ staff, but the former Cornell head coach (2010-2016) left for Miami in June.
On November 20, Cornell heads up I-81 for its yearly trip to Syracuse. This year’s game will be third meeting between junior Jimmy Boeheim and his Hall of Fame father Jim, as well as the 125th overall between the nearby schools. Last year’s 63-55 loss was the 39th in a row, but the closest game against the Orange since 2005.
With Stone Gettings transferring from Cornell, expectations went from a possible contender to a team that may not even get 10 wins. But despite not getting into the Ivy League Tournament, the Big Red had a pretty solid season and they far surpassed their expectations. Matt Morgan was still Matt Morgan, but forwards Jimmy Boeheim and Josh Warren stepped it up and each had big roles as secondary scorers while seniors Steven Julian and Joel Davis anchored the defense. The team played some great games, including almost-upsets over Yale and Syracuse and a sweep of Harvard.
A lot of Cornell’s problem throughout the season was poor rebounding. The Big Red could hold teams to 35-45 percent from the field most nights, yet still lose. For context, they were 352nd out of 353 Division I teams in offensive rebound percentage.
In Saturday’s regular season finale against last-place Dartmouth, Cornell’s five seniors Joel Davis, Jack Gordon, Troy Whiteside, Steven Julian, and of course Matt Morgan were honored pregame and all got the start. After Cornell got the first two points just 35 seconds in from a Steven Julian alley-oop, the Big Green went on an 11-2 run and eventually led by one at the half.
But Cornell dominated the second half, outscoring Dartmouth by 16 and winning, 66-51. Jimmy Boeheim arguably played his best game of the season, finishing with 21 points off an excellent 9-for-10 shooting from the field, and a perfect 2-for-2 from deep.
Matt Morgan couldn’t follow up his dominant 31-point performance on Friday against Harvard, finishing with just eight points and snapping his double-digit scoring streak at 80 games, good for 12th in college basketball history and an Ivy League record.
In a matchup between two of the league’s best teams, Yale was able to escape Ithaca with a 98-92 win in a game in which nobody really seemed to play much defense. Both teams shot 53 percent from the field and well over 40 percent from three. Yale moved up to 17-4 overall (7-1 Ivy) and Cornell dropped down to 13-11 (5-3) but still remain two games over fifth place in the league, with a Penn loss.
Matt Morgan had 41 points on a very efficient 13-for-18 night with nine threes, and Josh Warren hit four clutch free-throws in the final 20 seconds and Cornell held on for an 83-80 victory over the Dartmouth Big Green, in Hanover. Cornell went to 11-10 (3-2 Ivy) with the win, and Dartmouth fell to 10-11 (1-4), losing its last four Ivy games after picking up a blowout win over Harvard in their opener.
Despite a comparatively quiet night from Matt Morgan, the Cornell Big Red were able to overcome a 10-point second half hole to force overtime against the visiting Princeton Tigers.
But unlike last season at Newman Arena, Cornell couldn’t put the Tigers away in extra time, as Princeton won its seventh straight game to improve to 12-5 (4-0 Ivy) and remain first in the conference, while Cornell dropped back to .500 at 10-10 (2-2) and still very much in the Ivy Madness picture.
Saturday’s rematch between Cornell and Columbia had a very similar flow as last week’s game in Ithaca. This time, though, it was Cornell tasked with making a comeback that ultimately fell just short.
The Big Red were down 11 points with 8:18 to go after a Patrick Tape post move, with all the momentum cutting against them. Columbia opened the second half shooting flawlessly, led by Gabe Stefanini and Quinton Adlesh, hitting 12 of its first 13 shots from the floor.
But down 67-57 with 6:14 to go, the dynamic duo of Matt Morgan and Jimmy Boeheim hit back-to-back threes, and it was quickly a four-point game.
Despite making their first five shots and pulling ahead to an 11-point lead just six minutes into the game, the Big Red faded late amid an 86-70 road loss to the Toledo Rockets.
Matt Morgan led the way for Cornell (5-6) with 24 points, connecting on two three-pointers and hitting all 10 of his free throws. Josh Warren had another solid night, finishing with 14 points on a 6-for-9 clip, while adding seven rebounds, six assists and two blocks. Jimmy Boeheim had eight points and two rebounds, and seven players for Cornell ranged between three and seven points on the night.
Cornell came out firing on all cylinders, hitting its first five shots, three from Morgan. The Big Red were up 13-5 at the first media timeout, and then up 19-8 minutes later. Then Toledo (11-2) went on a mega-run and took its first lead at 26-25 with 7:30 to go. Cornell found itself down 48-39 at the break but started the second half quickly thanks to a three from Morgan. Despite being in striking range for most of the second half, the Big Red just couldn’t string together enough stops to get closer than six down and finally ran out of steam with about seven minutes to go. Remember that the tilt with Toledo was Cornell’s third game in four days.
Matt Morgan scored 17 points, with all five of his makes from three, and Terrance McBride’s 5-of-6 free-throw shooting down the stretch was enough to fight off a late rally from the Longwood Lancers and preserve a 70-64 win. Cornell evened their record out again at .500, improving to 5-5 while Longwood fell to 8-5.
Cornell shot a very impressive 16-of-32 from three, the third-most three pointers made in a game in school history. However, the Big Red hit just six two-pointers in the game, shooting a dismal 6-of-24.