The younger members of the men’s basketball team wasted no time making an impact, as two sophomores led the White team to a 61-50 victory in the annual Red/White intrasquad scrimmage Saturday afternoon in Newman Arena.
The winners were coached by assistant coach Zach Spiker and were led by a pair of sophomores, as guard Collin Robinson — a transfer from USC who will sit out the 2006-07 season — and forward Brian Kreefer each scored 14 points. Senior tri-captain Andrew Naeve provided a steady presence in the paint, scoring eight points and grabbing four rebounds for the White team. A pair of rookies also contributed to the win, as Alex Tyler and Ryan Wittman had eight points and three boards apiece, while Tyler added three assists. Senior tri-captain Kevin App rounded out the scoring with a pair of treys.
[img_assist|nid=19628|title=All the way|desc=Senior Ugo Ihekweazu (1) scores on a breakaway dunk for the Red team in Saturday’s scrimmage.|link=popup|align=left|width=57|height=100]
“I thought the White team executed really well,” said head coach Steve Donahue. “I’m trying to evaluate guys … this is a dress rehearsal in a lot of ways.”
The Red team, coached by assistant coaches Nat Graham and Mark Vershaw, also featured a balanced effort, led by freshman guard Louis Dale, who had 14 points and two steals in the loss. Sophomore Conor Mullen further demonstrated the talent of the underclassmen on the roster for Cornell by tallying 10 points, while a pair of seniors also played a significant role for the Red, as Jason Mitchell connected for nine points on 4-of-7 shooting and Grahm Down had a solid all-around game with six points, a game-high five rebounds, and three assists. Senior Ugo Ihekweazu and freshman Pete Reynolds split duties in the post, and rookie Jon Jacques also got on the floor for the Red.
“We have a lot of guys competing for spots who are playing well in stretches,” Donahue said. “That bodes well for our team — there’s a lot of competition — but it’s difficult for me to figure out exactly what our rotation is and we have four days of practice left before we play.”
The task of nailing down a consistent rotation was complicated by the fact that sophomores Adam Gore and Jason Battle and freshman Geoff Reeves were sidelined with injuries. Senior center Jason Hartford is also in recovery from a foot injury and did not play this weekend. While Donahue expects Gore to be 100 percent for the season opener at Northwestern this Friday, Battle and Reeves are questionable.
The White squad opened the scoring on Saturday, scoring on consecutive possessions with a bucket in the paint from Kreefer and a 3-pointer from Robinson to take a lead it would never relinquish. The “home” team led by as many as 14 points in the first 15-minute half, and went into the break with a 35-22 lead. The Red team pulled within nine points in the second half, and despite a flurry of shots from Mullen and Dale in the closing minutes, the Red used foul shots from Robinson and Tyler to fend off the rally and win by a comfortable margin.
“I think they shared the ball well [and] defense is much more solid than it’s been,” Donahue said. “I think we’re prepared to play. Now, I think we need to obviously get better and understand who our opponents are.”