December 2, 2004

M. Cagers Drop Heartbreaker at Quinnipiac

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After notching its first win of the year Monday night at home against Ithaca College, the men’s basketball team looked to start a winning streak at Quinnipiac last night.

It didn’t happen.

Despite solid individual efforts, the Red fell to the Bobcats (3-2), 83-76, to fall to 1-4 on the season.

Cornell was led in scoring by junior Lenny Collins, who netted 27 points, pulled down four rebounds, and made a pair of steals. Senior co-captain Eric Taylor chipped in with his second straight double-double, while converting on all seven of his field goal attempts. He finished with 14 points, 11 boards, one block, and one steal.

The Red’s only other player in double figures in scoring was senior Cody Toppert, who tallied 15 points, and became just the 19th player in school history to notch 1,000 career points.

“[Toppert’s] a great player,” Taylor said. “He’s started every game in his four years here. He’s always in the gym working on his shot, and he and I are trying to provide leadership for this team.”

The Red’s effort was not enough though, as Qunnipiac’s guards — Rob Monroe and Craig Benson — finished with a season-high 32 points and a career-high 24 points, respectively.

“They were able to do what they wanted to do in transition,” Taylor said. “They were able to knock down some shots too.”

As a team, the Bobcats shot 59 percent from the field and from 3-point range, including 16-of-24 from the floor in the second half.

Quinnipiac started the game strong, jumping out to a 13-8 lead, before the Red went on a 6-0 run to go up by one.

The Bobcats went up by as many as eight points in the first half before Toppert buried two 3-pointers and netted two of three free throws after being fouled on another attempt. The flurry was followed by dunks by junior Ryan Rourke and Taylor to pull the Red within a bucket at the break.

In the second half, the Red came out on fire, as Taylor hit the team’s first three baskets, and Toppert hit another three to even the score at 44-44. Cornell took its first lead of the half on freshman Jason Canady’s jumper, but Quinnipiac responded with a 12-3 run to take a 56-49 lead.

The Red answered right back with an 8-0 run to reclaim the lead, but it was the last lead it would hold, as Quinnipiac went on another run — this time a 10-3 spurt, to go up, 66-60.

The Red came as close as five points on a Collins basket, but the Bobcats went 5-of-6 from the free throw line to ice the game.

According to Taylor, one of the Red’s main problems this season has been on the defensive end.

“If we tighten some things up defensively we’ll be alright,” he said. “We just need to start helping each other out more.”

In each of its four losses this season, the Red has failed to hold its opponent to under 70 points, while last night’s game was the third time that its opponent has shot 50 percent or better from the field.

Archived article by hris Mascaro
Sun Assistant Sports Editor