For four years, senior David Lisle has shone in practice but struggled in games for the men’s basketball team. But on Friday night, the crowd at Newman Arena got to see what coaches and teammates have always known Lisle to be capable of, as he led the Red to a 68-64 victory over Yale with a career-high 16 points.
“It’s coming down to the end now, and I just don’t want to have those regrets in my head,” Lisle said. “I went out there tonight, and I have been for the last three games, just playing, not thinking too much, and just doing what I’ve been doing since I was seven years old.”
“Obviously, David Lisle was tremendous,” said Cornell head coach Steve Donahue. “No one deserves it more than him. What he’s done for our program – whether he plays the whole game or whether he plays absolute zero – I mean he’s had that as much as anybody, a rollercoaster to his career. But never attitude, [his] attitude has been unbelievable.”
It was a night of breakout performances for the Red (11-15, 6-6 Ivy), as freshman Brian Kreefer came off the bench and registered a career-high 10 points – including eight points in nine minutes on the floor in the first half – to go with two steals and two rebounds.
“I think [Kreefer] has does good things in practice and he deserves an opportunity,” Donahue said. “And at this time [of the year] some guys are tired and you need someone to come in and give you a lift, and he’s a player that can do that.”
Junior Jason Hartford rounded out the stellar play of the Red’s bench, scoring all nine of his points in the second half.
“I guess I just found myself open,” Hartford said. “Guys just passed the ball around and I was the one that was open, so I just shot it. Other than that, I don’t think there was anything different.”
The usual suspects also contributed in the victory, as senior Lenny Collins and junior Andrew Naeve each had a team-high eight boards to go with seven and six tallies, respectively.
The Red handed out 16 assists as a team – including four each from Collins and junior Graham Dow – and edged the Bulldogs on the glass, 35-32.
Yale’s Dominick Martin dominated in the paint, posting a double-double with 17 points and 15 caroms in the losing effort. Casey Hughes and Sam Kaplan tossed in 11 tallies each for the Bulldogs (15-12, 7-5).
Despite shooting just 45.5 percent from the field and 25 percent from beyond the arc, the Red held the Bulldogs to only 46 percent shooting from the field, including 30 percent from downtown. Eric Flato, who led Yale with 17 points in its 74-65 win over the Red on Feb. 10, was held to just four points on 1-of-8 shooting.
“We did a very good job of limiting their penetration,” Donahue said. “They have so many guys who can put it on the floor, and they make other players better. They had 20 assists down there, they had 11 here. I thought it was critical that we made guys take hard shots.”
“We did a better job of making shots in the first game at Yale,” said Yale head coach Scott Jones. “I thought that was a huge difference for us, making shots. Also defensively, I thought we did a really poor job of guarding their basket cuts.