March 6, 2006

Red Ends Up Third in Ivies, Wins Final Two

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The men’s basketball team showcased both its outgoing veterans and its rising stars, closing out its 2005-2006 season with the Red’s only road sweep of the year – thrashing Harvard, 71-44, on Friday and holding on, 64-60, against Dartmouth Saturday.

Freshman Adam Gore drained five 3-pointers on the weekend, setting a new Cornell single-season record for 3s with 83 treys in his rookie year, while senior tri-captain Lenny Collins put up 20 points in his final game with Cornell (13-15, 8-6 Ivy), leading the Red past Dartmouth (6-21, 4-10).

“[Gore has] had a tremendous season and I think he can get a whole lot better,” said head coach Steve Donahue. “He worked extremely hard on offense and did a good job on the defensive end. He had a tremendous year.”

After barely beating the Crimson (13-14, 5-9) in the final seconds of the two teams’ last meeting on Feb. 4, Cornell quickly put Harvard away the second time around, leading from start to finish.

Gore paced the Red with 16 points and three assists, while freshman Brian Kreefer knocked down four 3s on his way to scoring 14 points.

Senior tri-captain David Lisle also added 10.

Cornell held Harvard’s shooters to only single-digit scoring, with Matt Stehle, Brian Cusworth and Michael Beal each contributing nine points in the effort.

Opening the game with five straight 3s, the Red quickly pulled out to a 15-5 lead just five minutes into the game.

While Cornell’s shooting cooled after the opening barrage, Harvard remained ice-cold from floor, scoring only nine points in the first 13 minutes of the game.

A driving layup from Lisle put the Red up 30-11 with 4:20 left in the half.

Kreefer’s third trey of the half gave Cornell a 37-20 lead with four seconds to play in the stanza, but Harvard’s Drew Housman hit a running jumper as time expired to cut the Red’s lead to 15 at the break.

Cornell started the second half in similar fashion, scoring the first six points, and never looked back. An 8-0 run from the Red, including five points from Gore in the span of 21 seconds pushed Cornell’s lead to 59-34 with 9:03 to play. A free throw from junior Jason Mitchell at the 2:15 mark of the second half gave the cagers their largest lead of the game, 71-42, as the Red cruised on to victory.

Cornell forced 20 turnovers and limited the Crimson to only 28 percent shooting from the floor.

“I thought we were very active in the half court,” Donahue said. “We did an excellent job really swarming [Jim] Goffredo and Stehle. We played very good team defense for most of the game.”

Cornell’s second game of the weekend proved to be a more challenging contest, as the Red held on for the 64-60 win.

Junior Andrew Naeve led Cornell on the boards with eight caroms, including five offensive rebounds.

The Green’s Mike Lang and Leon Pattman had 15 and 13 points, respectively, while Alex Barnett added 10 points off the bench.

Cornell took a 6-2 lead off a pair of freethrows from Collins, but a steal and easy layup by Lang knotted the score at 6-6 at the 16:49 mark.

Lang would hit a 3-pointer less than two minutes later to put Dartmouth up 13-11.

The lead proved to be the Green’s last of the game as a jumper from Rourke put Cornell up for good, 15-13 at the 11:56 mark.

A layup from Collins in the final minute of the half gave Cornell an 11-point lead, but Dartmouth’s Paul Bode would cut Cornell’s margin to single digits, spotting up a jumper to make the score 34-25 at the half.

“I thought we came out of the gate and were really ready to go,” Donahue said.

Cornell maintained a comfortable lead for most of the second half, but the Red turned cold from the floor after a layup from Lisle at the 7:57 mark gave Cornell a 13-point lead.

However, the Red went scoreless for the next six minutes, allowing Dartmouth to pull within one, before a pair of free throws from Gore broke the Red’s scoring drought with 1:57 left to play.

A dunk by Barnett made it 61-60 with nine seconds to play, but foul shots from Gore and Lisle sealed the victory for Cornell.

“I think we really struggled with the ball and they got a lot of confidence,” Donahue said. “I thought it was our defensive stops that really made a difference down the stretch. I thought we did a good job guarding the three and then we made our foul shots down the stretch.”

Cornell finishes its season in sole possession of third place in the Ivy League, matching both its overall and conference win totals from last year.

Archived article by Paul Testa
Sun Assistant Sports Editor