A blustery first half shooting performance by Colgate quickly ended Cornell’s hopes for its first 2-0 start since 1999, as the Red Raiders cruised to a 76-58 victory. The game was largely decided in the first half when Colgate shot 22-30 from the floor en-route to a 50-30 half-time lead.
Colgate forward Howard Blue was instrumental in the Red Raiders first half success, scoring 13 points on six of seven shooting. Nine Colgate players scored in the first half and the Red Raiders jumped out to a 16-6 advantage on the boards.
Head coach Steve Donahue commented on Colgate’s inside dominance saying, “We’ve got to give them a lot of credit. They came out tonight and really used their size against us. Blue was especially effective down low early and we didn’t have an answer defensively or on the boards.”
The game was close early on and Cornell was down only 21-17 with 10:41 left in the first half. After both teams traded baskets, Colgate went on a 12-4 run to increase the lead to 35-23.
Freshman Lenny Collins made consecutive shots for the Red, but each time he was countered by three-pointers which extended the Colgate lead to 41-27. The Red Raiders continued their torrid shooting, closing the half leading by 20 points.
Sophomore forward Grant Harrell began the second half auspiciously for the Red, draining a three-pointer to make it 50-33. However, an eight-point run by the Red Raiders increased their lead to 25 points. Not until Collins hit a three-pointer with 1:25 left, and made it 74-55 did Cornell cut the deficit to under 20 points.
Overall, both teams struggled in the final half, each shooting under 40 percent. Cornell was able to outscore the Red Raiders 28-26 in the second half, but many of these points came against the opposition’s reserves.
Overall, Cornell struggled to match up with a talented and deep Colgate squad which improved to 2-0 on the year. Blue finished with 17 points on the night while fellow forward Andrew Zidar contributed 13 points and seven rebounds. Additionally, Keith Williams added ten points for the Red Raiders
A disheartened Steve Donahue praised the Red Raiders while remaining critical of the Red.
“I think Colgate is a very good basketball team, but I was really disappointed in our lack of intensity especially on our defensive end. At times it seemed non existent and we really have to learn how hard we have to play in order to beat teams like this,” said Donahue.
Collins was the only Cornell player to reach double digits, scoring 12 points on the night. Harell contributed seven points including the Red’s first dunk of the year. Sophomore Eric Taylor, coming off a 30-point performance, was limited to just nine points.
“They played well tonight. Colgate hit the shots they had to, and they deserve credit for their tough defense, but we’ve got to learn that we just can’t come into places and walk over teams,” said Taylor. “For whatever reason, we just seemed to go through the motions tonight.”
The loss drops the Red to 1-1 on the season as they take the next few days off to enjoy the Thanksgiving break. Cornell returns to practice this weekend in preparation for Ithaca College, a D-III cross-town rival.
Archived article by Mark Fetzko