January 25, 2002

M. Basketball Looks to Avenge Loss to Lions

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It wasn’t the defense. It wasn’t the offense. It wasn’t even the shooting. No, this loss could only be attributed to intensity, or specifically a lack thereof.

After improving in each of its last seven games, Cornell deflated and stumbled against Columbia last weekend, 56-40. The team fell behind early and never caught up.

But with a raucous home crowd at its back, the Red will look to get back on its feet and back to putting Ws in the standings in its second game in a row against the Lions.

“We’ll have more overall intensity, and our focus will be greater,” said freshman guard A.J. Castro. “We’ll be more physical and press our style of play, which is to run the floor.”

Castro has been an integral part of that offense, as he is second on the team in 3-point field goal percentage (.440) on top of his 4.3 points per game. His 12 steals are also fourth on the team behind classmate Cody Toppert (17), sophomore Ka’Ron Barnes (16) and senior Wallace Prather (25).

Millennium Club

Prather has been on a tear of late, becoming the 17th Red basketball player to top the career 1,000-point mark, and establishing a school record for steals. He was also named to the All-Spider Tournament team in December. In his last eight starts, the guard is averaging 13.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game.

To beat Columbia, Cornell will not only need brilliant defense from its guards but also a solid inside game to match that of the Lions’ Craig Austin and Chris Wiedemann.

“We need to limit their inside presence,” Castro added, “and have our inside players produce against theirs so we can let our guards run the courts and pass to the big men.”

After a good week of practice, the Red will be ready.

“We’re very focused on our game and their personnel,” Castro assured. “We’ve had a chance to make adjustments after reviewing the game film. We practiced a lot of shooting.”

Archived article by Sumeet Sarin