February 4, 2005

Ivy Schedule Heats Up for Men's Cagers

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Two weeks ago, the men’s basketball team (7-10, 2-2 Ivy) began the home stretch of its season with two league contests against Columbia. The Red split its series with Lions, 1-1, and split another weekend doubleheader last weekend with a loss to Harvard and a win over Dartmouth. Now, with a 2-2 Ivy record and only ten games remaining on its schedule — all of them against Ancient Eight opponents — Cornell must make a push to secure a chance at the league championship.

That surge will have to start this weekend, when Cornell plays host to Brown (8-8, 1-1 Ivy) and Yale (4-11, 0-2 Ivy) at Newman Arena. Yale’s two league losses have come against perennially strong programs, Penn and Princeton. Likewise, the Bears suffered defeat at the hands of the Quakers last week in a battle for supremacy among the Ivy’s top teams. The loss, however, came only one day after the squad beat Princeton, 57-52.

Cornell head coach Steve Donahue knows that both teams will pose a strong challenge to his squad, but he nonetheless feels confident that the Red can pull off two victories.

“We’re coming off a good week of practice,” Donahue said. “It’s been a little bit different because we didn’t practice Monday, but the guys came in ready and worked hard.

“Both teams are extremely different. Brown is quick and a good three-point shooting team, so transitions will be important. Yale has a lot of veterans, and they’re playing well, but we know what to expect.”

Cornell’s win over Dartmouth gave the team a boost entering this week and proved crucial in creating a positive attitude on the court for the past three days. According to Donahue, that outlook will be more important in terms of winnnig this weekend than any new schemes the team plans to use.

“We don’t have any new strategies, we just plan to play to our strengths,” he said.

For Yale, a key strength comes from Edwin Draughan, who scored 12 points — including the 1,200th of his career — in the team’s loss to Princeton. Draughan is only the 12th player in Yale history to record such a feat. In addition, Brown’s defending Ivy League Player of the Year Jason Forte — known for his clutch shots and timely assists — will be watched closely by the Red’s defensive unit. Last year, he became the first player in Ivy history to lead the league in both scoring (21.4 ppg) and assists (5.79 apg).

Competition will begin tonight at 7:00 p.m., when Cornell takes on Brown, and continue tomorrow evening at the same time when the Red faces the Bulldogs.

Archived article by Everett Hullverson
Sun Assistant Sports Editor