February 15, 2002

M. Hoops in Search of Ivy Wins

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Coming off of its first Ivy League win last weekend, Cornell looks to build its first winning streak of the season against the top two offenses in the Ancient Eight in Yale and Brown. At 7-1, Yale stands first in the Ivy League. Yale is the first Ivy school other than Penn or Princeton to earn that right since 1988, when the Red won the league.

Brown, projected to finish first by The Sun, currently stands in fifth at 4-4. The Bears started the season well by defeating Providence, Rhode Island and Navy, but were then defeated by Yale, Penn and Princeton. After starting the season 7-3, Brown has gone 6-5 in 2002.

The team holds one of the flashiest backcourts in the nation as senior Earl Hunt and freshman Jason Forte lead the team with a combined 30 points per game, 149 assists and 72 fouls. Hunt has hit 35 points twice this season, and his team scored a league-high 103 points against Wagner. The team’s 79.5 points per game is tops in the league. However, its defense is also giving up a league-worst 74.8 points per game.

Yale has shown an offensive flair of its own, scoring over 80 points in six of its first nine games. The Elis have defeated every Ivy League team and have only lost to Brown. They hold a five-game winning streak and have won eight of their last nine.

The team presents one of the most balanced attacks in the Ivy League, as all five starters average 10 or 11 points. Paul Vitelli leads the team with 8.1 rebounds while Edwin Draughan has recorded 62 assists.

But both of these teams must play at Newman Arena — the very place where Cornell has established a 4-4 record. Senior co-captain Wallace Prather leads the Red with 11 points per game.

The emergence of freshman Steve Cobb, who made his mark against the Crimson with 18 points, will be a key factor in this weekend’s games. With a 44.7% field goal percentage, Cobb’s youth and clutch talent is continuously maturing, as he shattered his previous career high of four points by netting 12 points in the first half against Harvard.

Junior Jacques Vigneault continues to impress from the outside, hitting 47.3% of his 3-pointers. He has hit 21 3-pointers in his last 9 games and went seven of eight in his last outing against Yale.

Freshmen Cody Toppert and Eric Taylor lead the team in rebounds, both averaging 4.4 per game.

With a solid defensive effort this weekend – crashing the boards and picking up steals – Cornell has a good shot at upsetting both Brown and Yale and establishing its first winning streak of the season.

Archived article by Sumeet Sarin