For three seniors, it is their last game.
For three warriors, it is their last battle.
For three men, it is the end of a long, and winding road.
Seniors Greg Barratt, Kevin Cuttica and Ray Mercedes have been the cornerstones for a program that has had its share of tough times.
“They’ve meant a great deal to this program. Especially Kevin and Ray, who’ve given it their all for four years,” head coach Steve Donahue said.
“Some people point fingers at them for some of the losses this team has had, but they really haven’t had the players around them to help. They’ve done everything they can, and they’ve done a terrific job. I’ve had the opportunity to watch them for three years and coach for one, and I’ve enjoyed it.”
These seniors, along with starting guards junior Wallace Prather and freshman Ka’ron Barnes, will face off against the cellar dwellers of the Ivies in Dartmouth (7-18, 2-10 Ivy) and Harvard (12-11, 5-6), this weekend.
While the opponents are both currently in the midst of five–game losing streaks, they each have its own season highlight.
Dartmouth beat Princeton and Cornell (7-18, 3-9) over one surprising weekend, recording their only two Ivy wins of the season.
In the game against Cornell, Ian McGinnis ran wild, recording 14 points and 11 rebounds.
“Dartmouth runs a Princeton–type offense,” Donahue commented. “They frustrated us with their zone last time. And we have to stop McGinnis.”
Greg Bath leads the Big Green with 16.7 points per game while McGinnis is its top rebounder.
Harvard knocked off Pennsylvania 77–62.
The team also held Georgia Tech to 90 points in a 31–point set back.
“Harvard runs a three–guard set that is very quick,” Donahue said. “They get steals and shoot three’s. We have to stop them on both ends. We should get decent shots but we need to get offensive rebounds.”
Barratt will be in charge of that statistic as he leads the team in overall rebounds as well as the offensive ones.
Cornell has lost four of its last five games, but there is a different feel around its locker room.
Each loss saw the team fight to the end, closing any open shots, and contesting every pass down the floor.
This intensity led to two two–point losses, both of which the Red led after one half.
“The guys have figured out that that is how we have to play,” Donahue concluded. Everyday they’re getting better at it. They’re giving 100% percent every time they’re out on the court.”
Mercedes and Barnes lead the team in points, recording 12.8 ppg and 10.8 ppg respectively. Barnes and Prather each have over 50 steals.
“It’s going to be emotional for the seniors on all three teams. You don’t get many opportunities to play college basketball, so they’ll enjoy it,” Donahue affirmed.
Archived article by Sumeet Sarin