November 29, 2000

Men's Basketball to Face Army

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A three–game losing streak would have any Cornell athletics team in the doldrums, but the play of freshman Ka’Ron Barnes has the men’s basketball team buzzing.

Averaging an amazing 16 points and 2.3 assists per game, Barnes received Ivy League rookie–of–the–week honors for his play this past week at Michigan State. His team, however, has sauntered out of the gate to a 0-3 record, compiling close losses to Lafayette and Bradley while being blown out by No. 3 Michigan State.

The Big Red looks to rebound today in West Point against a decent Army team (2-1) which was most recently slaughtered by Duke, 91-48. The Cadets bring a trio of sharpshooters to the court, each of whom is averaging almost 50% from the field, while scoring in the double digits. As a bonus, senior Chris Spatola is hitting 68% of his three-point shots.

“We are going to mix up our defense a little bit,” head coach Steve Donahue revealed. “We’ll play half-court to force teams to do what we want them to do. We’re going to have work and keep fresh bodies in.”

Thus far, Donahue has done an excellent job of rotating players in and out of the game, as all but two members of the team have received quality minutes.

Senior tri-captain Ray Mercedes has been making the most of his time, averaging 14.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Sophomore forward Jake Rohe and senior center Greg Barratt have also been solid on the glass, pulling down over a third of the team’s rebounds.

While the offense has been inconsistent, it still has been able to put together streaks of brilliance — keeping the team in games until late in the ballgame. Unfortunately, the finishing touches have yet to be put on.

“We’ll be looking for more ball-movement, more cuts away from the ball, more reading, more screening, and a lot of things to happen quicker. We have to be patient, find our shot, then take it,” Donahue said.

Senior tri–captain Kevin Cuttica, junior guard Wallace Prather, and Barnes have taken control of keeping the offense in motion. Prather leads the team with 12 assists while Cuttica and Barnes each have seven.

Coach Donahue is also looking for his big men, Mercedes and Barratt, to step outside, shoot three’s, make passes and spread the floor. Barratt has been particularly effective in doing so, going 3–for–4 from outside the arc. The two have combined for six assists.

The game promises to be a thrilling one, with the Big Red hoping to crack that goose egg in the W column.

Archived article by Sumeet Sarin