Cornell men’s basketball makes statement with convincing win over Princeton

Statement made.

If someone predicted that Cornell men’s basketball would beat Princeton in Ithaca, most wouldn’t be overly surprised. That’s exactly what happened Saturday afternoon.

But what may have surprised people is the way the Big Red did it.

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Cornell men’s basketball’s defense, tighter rotation stepped up in win over Penn

Down 31-28 at the half, the shots just weren’t falling for Cornell men’s basketball at Newman Arena against Penn on Monday. When a team like the Big Red live and die with offense, 36% shooting wasn’t going to cut it against a Quakers squad that rolled Dartmouth by 29 in its conference opener.

But Cornell went on to make 10 triples in the second stanza as it defeated the visitors, 77-60.

Senior guard Chris Manon stuffed the stat sheet for the hosts — recording 16 points, eight rebounds and finishing with five helpers. He swatted a pair of shots and came up with four steals. Junior forward Guy Ragland Jr. had an efficient afternoon, scoring 16 points off 6-for-10 shooting in front of 1,462 at Newman. Senior guard Isaiah Gray and junior guard Nazir Williams each poured in 10 while senior forward Keller Boothby knocked down three triples.

Here’s are two things we learned after Cornell improved to 2-0 in the Ivy League:

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Three players to watch for Cornell men’s basketball heading into Ivy League play

Cornell men’s basketball huddles up at Baylor’s Foster Pavilion Tuesday. (Photo by Noah Weber)

Cornell men’s basketball headed into Tuesday night’s out-of-conference matchup against the No. 18 Baylor Bears with nothing to lose and everything to gain.

The Big Red were sitting at 10-2 on the year and playing their best basketball of the season as of late. Heading into its matchup with Baylor, Cornell had won seven of its last eight games.

Although Cornell fell 98-79 at Baylor Tuesday, there is still plenty to be excited about if you’re a Big Red fan. Here are three players to watch heading into conference play: 

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Cornell men’s basketball handles Siena, 95-74

Cornell senior guard Chris Manon posted nine points and four rebounds in 12 minutes in the Big Red’s win at Siena Tuesday. (Photo by Nathan Solomon)

ALBANY, N.Y. — In its first game back from a two-week break, Cornell men’s basketball did what it does best – light up the box score.

Behind a scorching 54% effort from the field in the first half, the Big Red defeated lowly ranked Siena 95-74 on Tuesday at MVP Arena.

“It’s good to see shots going in a tough environment,” Cornell coach Brian Earl said. “In the beginning, we couldn’t get out and run as much as I had hoped. [Siena] did a good job sort of controlling things, and then it loosened up a little bit.

“Most of the game we played hard, which was fun to watch.”

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Cornell men’s basketball falls short to Syracuse, 81-70

Guess it will just have to wait at least one more year.

Cornell men’s basketball’s Mount Everest remained unscaled once again in the 2023 edition of their game against Syracuse, falling to the Orange 81-70 at the JMA Wireless Dome Tuesday.

But the game came down to the final minute. With 2:59 remaining, senior guard Isaiah Gray threw down a thunderous dunk over Syracuse redshirt sophomore guard Kyle Cuffe Jr. to cut it down to three. Sophomore guard J.J. Starling connected on a mid-range jumper shortly after, and four free throws and two late slams later, the Orange walked away with another double-digit victory over the visitors from East Hill.

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Cornell men’s basketball falls to George Mason, ending nonconference win streak

Cornell junior guard Nazir Williams notched 13 points and six rebounds in Cornell’s loss to George Mason Wednesday. (Mitchell Richtmyre | Fourth Estate)

For the first time in four years, Cornell men’s basketball lost a mid-major nonconference game. The Big Red fell to George Mason 90-83 on Wednesday in Fairfax, Va., getting handed their first loss of the season.

The Patriots of the Atlantic 10 Conference earned their third win of the 2023-24 campaign in the paint. Though it had the size, Cornell just couldn’t counter George Mason’s physicality. The hosts scored nearly half (44) of their points in the paint, forcing the Big Red to have to shoot their way to a win.

That said, Cornell did a pretty solid job of hanging around. The visitors made eight threes in the first half and trailed just 42-41 heading into the locker room.

But the Patriots opened up a 10-3 run to start the second half as the well started to run dry for Cornell. The Big Red couldn’t make enough timely shots in the final 20 minutes to put themselves in a position to win.

Junior guard Nazir Williams hit a three-pointer with 4:19 remaining to get Cornell within one, but that’s the closest it got. Keyshawn Hall, who scored 29 for George Mason and led all scorers, connected on a pair of free throws and Amari Kelly hit a jumper to put the Patriots up five. On the following possession, Sean Hansen rolled toward the rim wide open and missed a dunk to seemingly give George Mason momentum.

After Williams missed a pair of free throws, Hansen got an offensive rebound and to the line, redeeming himself with a pair of makes. But George Mason guard Darius Maddox connected on a contested triple on the other end to put the Patriots up six and essentially seal the victory.

Despite the loss, the Big Red still have positives they can take away. For the second consecutive game, they held their ground against an A-10 school. After defeating Fordham on the road Saturday, Cornell should feel good about playing a stout George Mason team well.

The Big Red went 14-for-29 from distance and a lot of that came from the success of junior forward Guy Ragland Jr. and senior forward Keller Boothby. They each ripped the nets at 4-for-5 shooting with Ragland ending at 16 points and Boothby at 12. The always consistent Williams added 13 as he stepped into the starting lineup for the first time this season.

Cornell heads to Florida at 3-1 on the season for a matchup with Cal St. Fullerton on Sunday. It’ll play either Southern Mississippi or Utah Valley on Monday in Brian Earl’s first multiple-team event as coach of the Big Red.

2023-24 Ivy men’s media day recap and season preview

With the season a few weeks away, the Ivy League hosted its Men’s Basketball Media Day on Thursday. the second of two hoops-themed media availabilities. The event was hosted over Zoom for media members and is available on the conference’s YouTube channel.

The preseason media poll was released on Tuesday with Yale, last year’s regular season co-champions, securing the top spot. Princeton, which used its Ivy League Tournament title victory as a springboard to a Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament run, was picked second.

The Bulldogs received 14 of 16 first-place votes, while the Tigers earned the other two top votes.

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Ivy League Tournament men’s semifinal preview: No. 4 Cornell vs. No. 1 Yale

Ivy League Tournament – at Jadwin Gymnasium (Princeton)

Saturday, March 11: Semifinals

No. 1 Yale (20-7, 10-4 Ivy) vs No. 4 Cornell (17-10, 7-7 Ivy) at 11:00 a.m. (available on ESPNU and ESPN+)

Game #1, 1/13/23: Cornell (home) over Yale, 94-82
Game #2, 2/25/23: Yale (home) over Cornell, 76-58

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