February 9, 2001

Basketball Faces Weekend of Elis, Bears

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It’s towards the end of the season and practically half way through the 2000-01 Ivy campaign and the men’s basketball team (5-14, 1-5 Ivy) is far removed from where it wants to be. This weekend, the men have a chance to climb up out of the basement of the Ivies, a position it currently shares with Dartmouth– a team who beat Cornell last Saturday evening, 58-53.

Today the men travel to New Haven, Conn. before going to Providence, R.I. to try to win a vital pair of games against the only conference teams that they have not yet faced, Yale and Brown.

The Red is hoping that history repeats itself during the weekend road trip. Last year, the team embarked upon the annual road trip sporting a 1-9 Ivy record. Fortunately for Cornell, the weekend gave it two decisive victories against the Elis and the Bears, 64-58 and 79-76, respectively. In the weekend, Derek Kruse ’00 scored a combined 47 points to overcome the league rivals.

The only team that Cornell swept last year was Yale, but tonight when it plays the Elis it will face an entirely new and more intimidating squad. Yale (6-12, 3-2) boasts wins against Harvard, Dartmouth and Brown. All three games were decided by fewer than six points.

Brown is one spot up from the Red in the Ivy League standings. Its 9-10, 1-4 places it in the sixth spot. Its sole conference win came against Dartmouth. Despite its poor record, Brown has two of the most feared scorers in the Ivies in Earl Hunt and Alai Nuualiitia. Hunt averages 19.6 points per game. Nuualiitia’s field goal percentage is a fearsome 56 percent.

Cornell is coming off two disappointing losses from last weekend. The Red hustled, but poor shooting, missed free throws and sluggish play thwarted the team.

There are some glimpses of hope left in the Red’s game, such as the surprisingly positive turnover and steals ratio. Also freshman guard Ka’Ron leads all rookies in the league in total scoring.

Also, senior tri-captain Greg Barratt was given Ivy Honors of the Week. The center captured 15 rebounds in each game last weekend and currently resides as the second highest rebounder in the Ivy League — averaging 7.6 boards a game.

But each positive statistic is drowned in a sea of offensive incapabilities. After both losses to Harvard and Dartmouth, head coach Steve Donahue was frank about his team’s troubles getting points.

“We are having trouble executing, [though] we are playing hard,” Donahue said, adding “We were just stagnant [in the Dartmouth game]. We don’t move the ball.”

Senior tri-captain Kevin Cuttica agreed with Donahue’s assessment.

“We can’t get our offense going. We weren’t executing what coach asked us to execute, for whatever reason,” he said, elaborating, “We’re not getting it done. [Our movement] is not sharp and then you look at the [shot] clock and toss up a bad shot.”

The Red can expect two more close games, as is the trend in league games. It can also expect Yale and Brown to have the means to stopping the Cornell offense.

“The Ivy League does a terrific job of knowing each other’s teams,” Donahue explained. “You have intelligent kids who can use a scouting report. We aren’t the most athletic team and we don’t have the best players, but we scout out the other teams. So our underachieving offense is really put under scrutiny within the league.”

Next weekend, the team comes back to Newman Arena as it hosts Penn and Princeton, both undefeated in conference action

Archived article by Amanda Angel