This weekend’s matchups with Yale and Brown further proved that the Ivy League has no answer to No. 25 Cornell’s dominance. The Red sent the Bulldogs back to New Haven, tails between their legs, with a 90-71 victory on Friday. The next evening, Brown came to town, taking the full brunt of Newman Nation with a 74-60 loss.
In these two games, as the Red took the court, there was a “David and Goliath” feeling in the air. Yale came into Friday’s matchup with a 2-2 record in Ancient Eight play, but was coming off a tough loss to Princeton.
The Elis had a rocky first half, facing some of the toughest defense the Red has shown all year, holding the Bulldogs to 20 percent from beyond the arc. The Red, on the other hand, was finding the net at a fever pitch throughout the game, putting up 13 3-point shots and making nearly half of its attempts. The Red led after the first half, 46-34.
As the second half opened up, Yale began to fall away, and the Red continued to hold on and extend its lead. The Red outscored the Bulldogs by seven in the second half, and defeated Yale by 19, 90-71.
Senior tri-captain/forward Jon Jaques led the Red with 17 points for the game. Jaques hit five from the field and four from beyond the arc to tally up most of his points. Yale’s top scorer, guard Alex Zampier, was only able to pick up 10 points during both periods.
In ever more typical fashion, the Red opened up its Saturday matchup with Brown with a quick 3 from beyond the arc, courtesy of sophomore Chris Wroblewski. But the Bears were able to find the open man consistently in the first half, while the Red struggled from the behind the arc, allowing Brown to take the lead 12-9 five minutes in. With continued problems from the air and difficulty on the defensive end of the paint, the Red fell behind eight points after 10 minutes of play, 16-24. The Red would take back the lead with just seconds to spare in the first half, closing the period 39-36. Noticeably absent from the first period were senior Ryan Wittman’s signature 3-point shots, as Wittman came up short on three attempts. But even without the shower of points from the field, senior Louis Dale was able to produce from the floor.
“I think our team is really versatile; we’ve got guys who can drive to the goal and finish, we’ve got Foote who can score from inside,” Dale said. “It’s good to know that even if the 3 isn’t falling, we can still find a way to score.”
With neither team able to take control of the second half, the battle between the Red and the Bears was being determined from the foul line. Head coach Steve Donahue opted to rest his primary unit, including Wittman and senior Jeff Foote, early in the second half.
“I just told our guys that that was the key to the game, to bring in five fresh bodies out there who know how to play and win,” Donahue said. “They did a great job defending and extending our lead.”
Bringing his starters back in changed the dynamic and allowed the Red to break away. Brown had more and more difficulty breaking through the wall created by Foote and senior Mark Coury, who had a stand out game on both sides of the paint.
“Mallory was a tough challenge, but Coury really kept up with him and had a fantastic game,” Foote said. “He was able to produce on both sides of the court, and probably had his best game of the season.”
The final score against Brown stood at 74-60, with the Red creating yet another strong Ivy League victory before it starts a road trip to Princeton and Penn next weekend. After a long four-game stretch at home, Donahue is excited to hit the road and get back into combative territory.
The Red will face the undefeated Princeton Tigers this Saturday.