Going into this weekend’s games, men’s basketball head coach Steve Donahue believed that his players had to contain Harvard’s Dan Clemente and Dartmouth’s Greg Buth for his team to win. If these two superstars were held under their scoring averages of 19 points per game, Cornell was in good shape.
Unfortunately this game strategy was invalidated as the Red (5-14, 1-5 Ivy) did contain the scoring superstars, but lost both games. On Friday night, Harvard (11-6, 4-1 Ivy) won 65-57, and on the following night Dartmouth (6-13, 1-5 Ivy) prevailed 58-53.
The Harvard matchup was a thriller, as the Red courageously bounced back from a 14-point deficit with three minutes remaining. With the score 57-43 in Harvard’s favor, senior captain Kevin Cuttica cut the lead to 12 with a 15 foot jump shot from the corner. The Red continued to tighten the score and was within 61-54 with one and a half minutes remaining. The Red took possession of the ball, and with time running down on the shot clock, sophomore Jake Rohe nailed a three-ball, to narrow the deficit to four. That was as close as Cornell got, as Clemente confidently stroked four straight free throws, to close out the scoring and put the Crimson up for good at 65-57. Clemente ended the game with 17 points, a mark below his season average.
Rohe was the offensive spark for Cornell, as he connected on 7-11 shooting from the field, and 2-4 from the stripe, to finish with a game-high 17 points. Junior point guard Wallace Prather also had a solid game with 13 points, on a 4-8 effort from the field, including four three pointers in the first half.
The Red hit five three-pointers in the first half, although this shooting efficieny went astray in the second half as the Red knocked down only 1 of 10 from beyond the arc.
“We did not do a good job offensively,” Donahue explained. “We did do some good things on the defensive end, such as creating havoc.”
Senior captain Greg Barratt was a force on the boards, pulling down a game high 15 rebounds. Still, Barratt had difficulty putting the ball in the basket, finishing the game shooting only 1 of 10 from the floor for 2 points.
“Barratt is doing everything he can, except put the ball in the basket,” Donahue remarked. “Hopefully in the last nine games, his shots will be falling.”
The Red’s offensive ineptitude trickled into Saturday night’s game against Dartmouth. The Red were able to muster only 53 points against the cellar team in the Ivies. Cornell led 24-22 at halftime, but the Big Green’s Ian McInnis and Vedad Osmanovic combined for 18 points in the second half, on stellar 7 of 8 shooting from the field.
Barratt was once again a monster on the rebounding side, as he compiled 15 of them for the contest. Senior captain Ray Mercedes chipped in with 8 rebounds of his own and finished with 12 points. Sophomore Ka’Ron Barnes equaled Mercedes’ offensive production with 12 points. The Red’s defensive output was on par with the Harvard game, as Cornell held Dartmouth’s star Greg Buth to 13 points, 6 points below his season average.
The Red is on the road next weekend to face Yale and Brown.
Archived article by Jason Skolnik