February 14, 2003

M. Cagers Visit Green, Crimson

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The men’s basketball team (7-12, 2-4 Ivy) is looking to end a four-game losing streak, as it heads to Dartmouth (4-15, 0-6 Ivy) tonight and then down to Cambridge to battle Harvard (10-9, 2-4 Ivy) tomorrow night.

In its last four games, Cornell has seen strong play from freshmen Lenny Collins and David Lisle, who jumped into the starting lineup in the team’s three-point loss to Penn last Friday. The pair combined for 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists in last weekend’s Ivy League losses.

Also a continuing presence is junior Ka’Ron Barnes, who had 19 points against Princeton and 11 points against Penn. Joining Barnes at the top of the statistics is sophomore Eric Taylor, who had 17 points against Penn and eight against Princeton, while grabbing nine rebounds in the two contests.

Rounding out the starting lineup is sophomore Cody Toppert, who came back into the Penn game after suffering an elbow to the forehead that required quite a few stitches following the game, and finished with six rebounds and six points.

Although the team has had a number of games in which a few members of the team played well, the squad will need to replicate the team effort it put forth last Friday against Penn to pull out two wins this weekend.

Applying what the team learned from last weekend’s loses, head coach Steve Donahue said, “I think guys realize after playing those games what we have to do to win the games on the road this weekend. All those things are things that we constantly work on in practice. I really just like to look forward to the things that we can accomplish from here on in.”

Of the road trip he commented, “This is a big weekend, to go on the road and try to win two basketball games, something we haven’t done yet.”

Barnes also recognizes the importance of this weekend stating, “Overall it’s a big weekend, because we have lost four straight. Playing against Dartmouth, they will try to slow the pace, so we are going to try and run the transition and get some easy baskets and some early offense. I think that is going to be the key to us winning.”

Against Harvard, Barnes says the team will need to execute well, because Crimson is a strong team defensively.

The first game of the trip pits the Red against the Green in Leede Arena at 7 p.m. tonight. Dartmouth has lost its last ten games, having its most recent win Dec. 29 in the Poinsettia Holiday Classic Championship game, in which it beat host Furman, 63-59.

Despite the streak, Dartmouth has had a strong showing in all of its games, losing six of those games by less than 10 points, including a 69-68 loss to Harvard and an 85-84 overtime loss to the University of Albany.

Leading the way for the Green is senior co-captain Charles Harris, who has started all 16 games for the team, and is shooting 46.4 percent from the floor, and 42 percent from behind the 3-point arc. He is averaging 12.9 points and 4.6 rebounds this season.

“Charlie is a terrific player,” explained Donahue. “I think he’s one of the best players in the league because he does so many different things. He has to rebound for them, he shoots the three, he can score. I think he knows how to play, he plays hard, and he’s had a really good career, and he’s had a very good season.”

Due to Harris’s versatility, Donahue said that the team has spent time this week concentrating on how it will guard him.

After tonight’s game, the team will head south to Cambridge to take on the Crimson. The game will be a good predictor of how Harvard will fare for the rest of its season, after the team announced that senior Patrick Harvey, who was averaging 16.7 points per game, and was a 2002 first team All-Ivy guard, left the university for academic reasons.

With Harvey out of the lineup, the Crimson will look to Brady Merchant who is shooting 43.3 percent and averaging 14.4 points per game. The team also boasts this week’s Rookie of the Week, freshman center Brian Cusworth. Coming off the bench, he had a career high 14 points and 12 rebounds in the team’s 91-86 loss to Brown. In Harvard’s 73-68 loss to Yale, he had four points, four rebounds and two blocks.

It is an important weekend for the Red, as it looks to earn two wins on the road. The team continues its road trip next weekend as it takes on Yale and Brown. The team returns home Feb. 28 to host Harvard.

Archived article by Kristen Haunss