After a tumultuous week that started with a close loss to Columbia and ended with sophomore Khaliq Gant in the hospital after suffering a serious injury in practice, the men’s basketball team will travel to New York City tomorrow for a rematch with the Lions.
“I think we all know our responsibility is to go out and represent Cornell and Cornell basketball and we’re going to do that to the best of our abilities,” said head coach Steve Donahue.
The Red (6-11, 2-1 Ivy) led by as many as 11 points in the second half of last weekend’s contest against Columbia (8-8, 1-2), but the Lions refused to fade away and eventually stole a victory, 58-57, as Draguton Kravic knocked down a 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds remaining.
“I thought Columbia did a good job – when they fell behind by 11 – of hustling for loose balls and second-chance opportunities,” Donahue said. “I thought they just made the tough plays when they had to and I think we just have to do a better job, if we do get a lead, of fighting through that, getting the loose balls, and doing the little things.”
The Red did out-hustle Columbia on the court last weekend at times, as the team was able to put together a 12-3 run to open the second half.
Junior Graham Dow was a key factor in this spurt, as he scored all seven of his points in this period.
Freshman Adam Gore, who was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week for the fifth time this past Monday, had five 3-pointers and a total of 17 points against the Lions, and was also a prominent figure in the Red’s surge to open the second half. Despite notching his fifth game of the year with at least five 3-pointers last Saturday, Gore was held scoreless by the Lions in the final 10 minutes of the game.
“I think Graham and Adam were so aggressive the first 30 minutes of the game and we kind of got away from that,” Donahue said. “Obviously, to win games, we’re going to have to play well for 40 minutes.”
Senior Lenny Collins had a game-high 18 points in the two teams’ last matchup, and has been a steady force for the Red, currently pacing the team with 13.0 points per game. Juniors Andrew Naeve and Jason Hartford have given Cornell a one-two punch in the paint, with Naeve leading the team with 6.7 boards per game and Hartford chipping in 4.8 rebounds and 9.4 points per game.
The Lions offer an inside threat of their own in John Baumann, who paced Columbia with 17 points and eight rebounds a week ago. Brett Loscalzo was the key playmaker for the Lions in the come-from-behind victory, finishing with 12 points – 10 of which came in the second half.
Columbia also held a 36-26 edge on the glass, where it has out-rebounded opponents by a 5.5 margin up to this point in the season.
“With two teams so evenly matched I think it depends on who outworks the other one,” Donahue said.
Gant still stable
As of late last night, there was no update on Gant’s condition.
After injurying his neck during a drill in practice on Tuesday, he was airlifted from Alumni Fields to Arnot Ogden Medical Center in Elmira, N.Y., where he remains hospitalized.
Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Assistant Sports Editor