With 30 seconds left in the game, Cornell down 39-38, junior Wallace Prather took an outlet pass and raced down the court for an easy breakaway layup. The easy suddenly became impossible, however, as Columbia’s 6′-9″ center caught up with him and blocked his shot, thus preserving Columbia’s close lead.
In desperation, Cornell repeatedly fouled Columbia players, but the Lions were able to convert their free-throws and held on for the 42-38 victory.
The Red (5-11, 1-3 Ivy) had a difficult time dealing with Columbia’s stifling defense and its home crowd. After 12 minutes of play, Cornell mustered only three points.
Fortunately for the Red, its own defense held the Lions (6-11, 1-3 Ivy) to only 13 points, and by halftime the offense was able to close the gap to 17-11.
Early in the second half, Columbia jumped out to a 22-13 lead. And the way defense was being played, this advantage looked insurmountable. But over the next fourteen minutes, the Red put together a comeback like no other. It counter-punched every Lion move and pulled within two points, 34-32, with five minutes left in the game.
At the 4:37 mark, freshman guard Ka’Ron Barnes hit a jumper from the left side tying the game at 34 a piece. Two minutes later, Columbia regained the lead 38-36.
After a Cornell free-throw, the stage was set for a tense final minute, in which Columbia preserved its three-game home winning streak.
Throughout the game, the Red attempted to showcase their three-point prowess, but of its efforts were of no avail as the team shot a measly 3 for 19. Senior tri-captain Kevin Cuttica scored all three.
With the loss, Cornell lost an excellent opportunity to get back to .500 in conference action.
Cuttica led the team with nine points while senior Greg Barratt and Jake Rohe each had ten rebounds.
The Red must now make a quick turnaround, traveling to face a steaming Stony Brook squad. The Seawolves (11-9) have won five of their last seven games and are coming off of a 67-64 thriller at home. They are led by three players, who average over ten points a game. One, senior Josh Little, was ranked 20th in the nation in three-point field goal percentage.
Leon Brisport is their machine in the middle. His 16.5 points per game, 8.5 rebounds per game, and 23 total blocks lead the team. In comparison, Cornell holds 19 blocks as a team.
The Seawolves, wearing red jersey’s similar to Cornell’s, have been almost unstoppable at home, where they post a 7-1 record. They have crushed Brown and Medgar Evers, and lost to nationally-ranked UConn by only nine points.
Archived article by Sumeet Sarin