The men’s basketball team (7-8, 2-0 Ivy) is looking to do something it hasn’t done in close to twenty years, start the Ivy League season 3-0. After defeating Columbia 51-38 Jan. 18 and then 55-53 Jan. 25, the Red will put its undefeated record on the line as it takes on Brown (7-9, 2-0 Ivy) tonight and Yale (6-9, 0-2 Ivy) tomorrow night at Newman Arena.
Brown is currently on a four-game winning streak and is also unbeaten in league play after a 78-66 win and a 94-84 win over Yale.
Cornell will look to build on its three game winning streak this weekend and will continue with junior Ka’Ron Barnes at the point. This week’s Ivy Player of the Week averaged 19 points and 5.5 assists in the team’s two victories over Columbia and Bucknell. Joining Barnes up top is sophomore Cody Toppert and freshman Lenny Collins. Collins is this week’s Ivy Rookie of the Week, his fourth such honor this season. Inside, sophomore Eric Taylor continues to play well, leading the team in rebounds.
Head coach Steve Donahue recognizes that his team will be playing against some strong offensive squads this weekend.
“We have to do a terrific job understanding each person’s strength,” said Donahue.
The one player who could be the true test for the Red’s defense is senior Earl Hunt, last week’s Ivy Player of the Week; his second honor of the season. Hunt, a two-time first-team All-Ivy selection is Brown’s all-time leading scorer, and ranks eighth on the all-time Ivy-list. In Brown’s first game against Yale, Hunt had 32 points, and in the rematch, netted 20 while grabbing six rebounds. In 14 starts, he leads the league in scoring with 19.6 ppg and is over 80 percent from the line. Joining Hunt up top is sophomore Jason Forte, who had 23 points in the team’s most recent win over Yale and is averaging 11.7 ppg. Also an important factor for the Bears is senior Alai Nualiitia, a 6-7 forward who is averaging 12.3 ppg.
Of Brown Donahue said, “[They are] arguably the best offensive team in the league for the past couple of years. Earl Hunt is one of the best flat out scorers there is, he makes shots. He is very hard to guard.”
Tomorrow’s match up features one of last year’s Ivy League Champions, Yale (6-9, 0-2 Ivy). The Bulldogs shared the title with Princeton and Penn last year. Two sophomores who had an immediate impact as freshman last year, Edwin Draughan and Alex Gamboa are back this season. Draughn currently tops Yale’s statistics with 13.1 ppg and 21 steals. Gamboa, last year’s Ivy League Rookie of the Year, however, is only playing limited minutes after having his appendix removed. Joining Draughan up top is the team’s captain, senior Chris Leanza who is averaging 7.9 ppg. Down low senior T. J. McHugh is controlling the lane, shooting 60.6 percent from the field, averaging 10.9 ppg.
With two opposing rosters full of depth, Cornell will need to show up and play for the entire 40 minutes in each game if it hopes to remain at the top of the Ivy rankings. Tonight’s game starts at 7 p.m. and tomorrow night’s game is at 8 p.m.
Archived article by Kristen Haunss