February 6, 2004

M. Cagers Take on Bears, Bulldogs

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It’s time for the men’s basketball team to turn its intensity up a notch. Whether or not the team wants it, its Ivy schedule is getting harder, and, while the season has a way to go until it climaxes with the Ivy championship, the weekend will still provide a new, harder test for the Red.

Cornell takes on Brown (7-10, 3-1 Ivy) this afternoon in Providence, and then travels south to New Haven to battle Yale (6-11, 1-3 Ivy) tomorrow.

The games finish a six-game road swing for the team, its longest stretch of away games this season. So far, the Red is 3-1 for the trip, including an undefeated mark against all three Ivy teams it has played.

But the Bears and the Bulldogs both represent Cornell’s toughest challenges to its 4-0 Ivy league mark yet.

“I think these two programs right now are playing well and have done well in the past couple years,” said head coach Steve Donahue.

Brown is in the midst of a 4-1 hot streak with a pair of wins over Yale and a victory over last year’s league champions, Penn.

“Brown is a very good transition team,” noted Donahue.

The bears are led by junior point guard Jason Forte, a first-team All-Ivy pick last year who leads the team with 14.1 points and 4.1 assists per game. Surrounding him is a solid, complimentary cast.

“They have a good balance,” said Donahue. “Each of their players can hurt you.”

In Yale, the Red will face a team that led then-No. 1 Connecticut by three points at half-time in the Bulldog’s first game of the year. More recently, Yale took down Penn last weekend and then lost by the slimmest of margins, 47-49, to Ivy-powerhouse Princeton.

“Yale has been up and down this year,” said Donahue, noting the team’s recent upswing.

The Red was putting in its work over the past week getting its game together for its new foes.

“We’ve just been working on our defense,” said Donahue.

In particular, the coach noted the team’s work on defending the transition game.

“Our defense is getting better, and it needs to get better,” concluded Donahue.

Otherwise, Cornell put in some time on its own transition offense and kept its focus on moving the ball around on the attack.

At stake for the Red this weekend will be its undefeated league record and possibly the continuation of its stand on top of the Ivy standings. But coach Donahue said the team isn’t worried about these contests more than any other.

“We’re trying to win a championship,” he concluded.

Archived article by Matt James