Saturday’s game between the men’s basketball team and Carleton University presented a matchup between a team which is in the midst of its regular season and another which is finding its direction during the preseason. For most of the evening, however, it was difficult to discern which squad had already played eight games, as Cornell, which has practiced for just three weeks, routed the Ravens (8-1) by a 101-68 score.
The Red’s only exhibition game of the preseason presented the Cornell community its first look at coach Steve Donahue’s improved squad. And the Red, which won just five of its 27 games a season ago, did not disappoint.
Cornell quickly jumped on the Ravens, Canada’s top-rated team, with an 11-3 run to start the game. Sophomore guard Cody Toppert fueled the spurt, scoring seven of his 14 points during the stretch. After Cornell opened up a 23-13 lead, Carleton used a 9-2 run to close to within three points at 25-22. However, the young Red squad, boasting primarily freshmen and sophomores, scored 21 more points before the end of the half to go into intermission with a comfortable 46-30 lead.
The Ravens, who suffered their first defeat of the season, would not get closer than 14 in the second half, as Cornell relied upon its deft outside shooting to garner the win.
“It definitely feels good,” said Donahue of the win. “When you know you have six weeks to work before your first game, and you throw one in the middle, it would’ve really been hard to deal with a loss and still build up for our game.”
Six members of the Red scored double digits, with tri-captain sophomore forward Eric Taylor leading the way, filling up the box score with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists. Toppert and freshman Lenny Collins added 14 apiece, while sophomore point guard A.J. Castro chipped in with 13 points and a team-high eight assists.