Cornell men’s basketball coach Brian Earl reflects on the Big Red’s 14-3 (3-0 Ivy) start this season, how he sells recruits on his hockey-like substitutions, playing fast, his relationship with Princeton coach and former teammate Mitch Henderson and more in this in-depth interview with Ivy Hoops Online contributor George “Toothless Tiger” Clark ahead of his team’s showdown with Princeton (15-1, 3-0) Saturday:
Penn beats Villanova in an amazing game! Congratulations men! Enjoy this special moment! pic.twitter.com/ts4FQrY9xr
— Mike McLaughlin (@MikeMcLaughli) November 14, 2023
With a little ball-fake and a half jab step, Tyler Perkins generated just enough space to rise up over Villanova’s Brendan Hausen and create a memory Penn fans will remember forever.
The freshman sensation used those moves to bury a corner three in front of the Penn bench that pushed the Quakers’ lead over the Associated Press No. 21 Wildcats to 11 points with four minutes to play and sent the Palestra into a frenzy. After weathering one last barrage of Villanova three-pointers, Penn sealed a stunning 76-72 upset over the Wildcats.
For the Quakers (3-1, 1-1 Big 5), the win was their first triumph over a ranked team since a nearly identical upset over Villanova at the Palestra in December 2018; that edition of the Wildcats was defending an NCAA title and entered ranked 17th in the AP poll.
The images the upset generated — Perkins throwing the ball into the air in joy as time expired, fans storming the court — are the ones that, in a perfect world, would create a whole new generation of dedicated Quakers fans.
What else can Penn fans hold onto from a magical Monday night?
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.
Former Princeton men’s standout Devin Cannady’s path to playing in the NBA with the Orlando Magic has been a joy to behold in the past 18 days since his debut. Cannady showed what he can do in a 17-point, three-rebound, two-steal performance in 24 minutes Thursday.
But in his very next game Sunday, Cannady’s season came to a jarring stop.
Just a day after graduating from Harvard, former Ivy Player of the Year Seth Towns was detained and subsequently released by police Friday in his hometown of Columbus after he protested nonviolently in response to the death of unarmed black people at the hands of police officers across America.
The protest in Columbus was one of many sparked by the video record of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis while three other officers stood nearby Monday.
Seth Towns addressed the incident on Twitter Saturday afternoon, noting that he was as proud of his nonviolent protest in downtown Columbus to cry out against the deaths of Floyd and Breonna Taylor, an emergency medical technician fatally shot in her home by police in March.
The Juice Online: The Juice (then called The Big Orange) was founded in 1992, one of approximately 50 independent publications devoted to the coverage of its school’s athletics programs. In 2002, it became a full-color, glossy magazine which was owned by Fox Sports. The print product ceased publication in June of 2010 and was relaunched as The Juice Online in December of 2010. In February 2012, The Juice Online partnered with SportsNet New York, the official television home of the New York Mets and New York Jets. As part of SNY.tv’s Blog Network, The Juice Online supplements SNY’s coverage of more than 125 college football and basketball games, as well as other college sports programming.
Cornell trailed by seven with 13 seconds left. When the buzzer sounded, they were a bucket away from walking away winners.
The Big Red’s improbable comeback fell just short Sunday against the Bryant Bulldogs, as they fell, 82-81.
With the score 82-75, Thurston McCarty drew a foul on a layup, converting the three-point play. McCarty fouled Charles Pride with 11 ticks left, and he missed he front end of the one-and-one. Cornell (1-1) ran it down the floor and then Jimmy Boeheim connected on a three all the way from Ithaca. This quickly cut it to a one-point game.
Now here’s where things get a little funky.
It’s no question that the Cornell Big Red will look a lot different on the floor this season. The Big Red no longer have their four-time leading scorer in Matt Morgan, as well as their top defender and rebounder in Steven Julian. Both are now professionals, and have extremely large shoes to fill.
Junior Jimmy Boeheim and senior Josh Warren are in leadership roles in 2019, also expected to be the Big Red’s top scoring options. The two are team captains along with junior guard Terrance McBride.
Morgan facilitated the Big Red offense all four years on East Hill, but now Terrance McBride will be doing so.
However, those three won’t be able to take over the scoring load alone. The Big Red will rely on a variety of players to do so.
Add three more Ivy grads to the NBA G League.
Princeton’s Myles Stephens was the first to go off the board with the number 10 pick in the 2nd round of Saturday’s G League Draft by the Long Island Nets. Columbia’s Kyle Castlin, who completed a graduate transfer year at Xavier, was chosen with the 17th pick of the 2nd round by the Salt Lake City Stars. Yale’s Trey Phills went to the Windy City Bulls with 18th pick in the fourth and final round.
Days before the start of the regular season, former Ivy League stars Matt Morgan and Devin Cannady were each offered an NBA contract. Cannady was signed by the Brooklyn Nets last Tuesday and Morgan inked his deal with the defending champion Toronto Raptors on Thursday. Both guards were waived by their parent clubs and will start the year in the NBA’s G-League.
Morgan finished his four years at Cornell as the Ivy League’s second leading scorer with 2,333 points, trailing only Princeton’s Bill Bradley (2,503). In addition to total points, the Concord, North Carolina native left the Big Red as the program’s leader in scoring average (20.5 ppg), made field goals (743), attempted field goals (1,580) and made free throws (513). He was second in made three-pointers (334), third in minutes played (3,705), fourth in free-throw percentage (.834) and eighth in assists (296).
For his career, Morgan was a four time All-Ivy selection, with first team accolades in his junior and senior seasons.