November 21, 2013

MEN’S BASKETBALL | Second Half Struggles Continue as Cornell Drops Fifth Straight Game

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By NIKITA DUBNOV

On Wednesday evening, the Cornell men’s basketball team traveled to Hamilton, N.Y. to take on long-time regional rival Colgate.

The Red came into the game with an 0-4 record, losing its latest matchup against last year’s national champions and No.3 Louisville. Prior to tip off, the players were determined to pick up a win in the midweek contest.

On Wednesday, the Red made a change to its lineup by not starting freshman guard Robert Hatter, who won Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors earlier this season, due to an ankle injury. Hatter, who has proven his worth in collegiate play early on in his career, came off the bench for the first time. Senior Jake Matthews took on the starting role, alongside guards Nolan Cressler and Devin Cherry, and forwards Dwight Tarwater and David Onuorah. The Red utilized just about every player on its bench during the game, gaining important production from the team’s role players.

Colgate scored the opening basket after tip-off, but the Red countered and took an early lead. The first half was marked by alternating leads as both squads made scoring runs. Colgate’s big men in senior Murphy Burnatowski and junior Ethan Jacobs led a charge towards the end of the half that put the Red down by nine points going into the locker room. Jacobs, the 6’11” center, showed off his range by knocking down several 3-pointers in the first half. In total, the Raiders hit six-of-13 shots from beyond the arc in the first half. The production of junior captain Devin Cherry (12 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals) kept the Red in the game in the first twenty minutes, but the halftime score remained 38-29 in favor of Colgate.

So far this season, the Red has struggled in the second half, and Wednesday’s game proved to follow a similar storyline. The Raiders dominated the scoring and defense following the break, starting the half with a nine-point run that put the Red down by double digits.

“The second half defense is away from us. In the first half they can hear us calling out the screens and the plays,” said head coach Bill Courtney. “In the second half, it’s those five guys on the other end of the floor that need to be talking to each other.”

Xiaoyue Guo / Staff PhotographerLeading the pack | Sophomore guard Nolan Cressler scored a game-high 19 points on Wednesday night.

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