NEW YORK, N.Y. — The beginning of the Ivy League basketball season got off to a slow start for the Red. Luckily for Cornell, the sluggishness didn’t last. After being held to 33-percent shooting in the first half, the team came out gunning in the second stanza, shooting 65 percent on their way to a 71-59 victory against in-state Ivy rival Columbia. Junior Louis Dale led the Red with 19 points and classmate Ryan Wittman responded to bad shooting in the first half, finishing with 16 points and also grabbed six boards.
“I just thought we were very stagnant with the basketball,” said head coach Steve Donahue. “We were just trying to do everything off the dribble. Right away, I think we needed to play faster, make quicker decisions, more attacking … In the second half we were way more aggressive.”[img_assist|nid=34181|title=Dribble drive|desc=Junior Louis Dale, seen in a game last year, notched a team-high 19 points Saturday, going 3-of-4 from long range.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Donahue’s team was stalled in the first half by aggressive man-to-man defense from the Lions.
The Red would come out blazing to start the second half, however, outscoring the Lions 32-14 in the first 10 minutes of the half, sparked by a 19-4 run.
The key to the Red’s second-stanza improvement was moving the ball faster and making quicker decisions.
“Part of that was their good defense,” Wittman said, who went 2-10 in the first half said. “But part of that was us just being stagnant in the first half.”
“We were stagnant on offense,” Dale said. The second half, we just had to adjust, move the ball and make quicker decisions and I think that’s what we did.”
Unlike the Red, the Lions could not improve their shooting in the second half. In fact, they were worse, shooting only 25 percent. The struggles the team experienced could be identified in their four second chance points, after grabbing 17 offensive rebounds. Despite being down double digits and battling the loss of players to injury, the Lions fought the Red to the final whistle epitomizing what Donahue
says every conference game will resemble.
“I tell these guys, and they understand it by now,” Donahue said.
“That every game in this league is very difficult to win, especially
on the road.”
Dale, who soared for a couple of rebounds grabbing five, was one of
the many players on the Red that fought foul trouble. The BLANK native
finished with four, senior Jeff Foote and freshman Chris Wroblewski
did as well. Sophomore Adam Wire fouled out. The fouls would prove
costly in the first half as the Lions were able to go into the locker
room with a five point lead, shooting 7-of-11 from the charity stripe
as opposed to the Red’s 2-of-4.
Niko Scott, who was Columbia’s only double-digit scorer, led the Lions
with 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Junior Alex Tyler and
freshman Chris Wroblewski would both hit double digits scoring 11.