Coming off its first losing streak since Ivy League play began, Cornell got back to its winning ways this past Saturday night as the Red defeated Brown 79-67. The Red’s (15-13, 8-4) effort on the offensive end was paced by freshmen Ryan Wittman and Louis Dale who netted 22 points apiece — including a combined 37 in the second half. Senior tri-captain Andrew Naeve continued his solid contribution at both ends of the floor adding 12 points to go along with seven rebounds and 4 blocks. Junior Mark McAndrew had a career night for the Bears (10-17, 5-7) as the Rhode Island native poured in 33 points and helped keep Brown within striking distance throughout much of the game.
“I think we showed great poise, particularly Dale, [senior tri-captain Graham] Dow and Wittman,” said Cornell head coach Steve Donahue. “They were very aggressive against [Brown’s] press and were able to get us a lot of open looks.”
[img_assist|nid=21672|title=High-percentage shot.|desc=Freshman Alex Tyler (33) added three points and a rebound in minimal playing time during the Red’s 79-67 win over Brown on Saturday.|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=77]
The Red was unable to convert many of those looks in the first half, however, as it went 1-of-9 from beyond the arc. Yet the Red’s marksmen were able to catch fire in the second half as they hit 10-of-13 from 3-point range. Brown also turned around an equally feeble first-half effort from long range— where the Bears shot 1-of-7— to go 7-of-9 in the game’s final 20 minutes.
“I was pleased with how our defense played. I thought we had a terrific first half,” Donahue said. “[Brown] started shooting really well and it turned into a wild second half.”
The Red was able to open up a quick seven-point lead in the game’s first five minutes as senior Ugo Ihekweazu scored his only five points of the game. Cornell’s defense hounded the Bears and the Red gained its first double-digit advantage midway through the first half when Dow was able to find Wittman for an easy layup to put Cornell ahead 22-12.
The Bears fought back and lowered the Red’s lead to four points, 24-20, with five minutes to play. That was as close as the Bears would get, however, as Dale converted a three-point play and sophomore Jason Battle added a put-back to give the Red a 33-22 cushion going into the second half.
Brown cut the lead to four in the first minutes of the second half, but freshman Geoff Reeves’ 3-pointer halted the Bears’ rally and put the Red back up by 10. About five minutes into the half, Dale and Wittman each hit a 3 to extend the margin to 48-34. But the Bears refused to be tamed as they went on a 9-0 run behind seven points from McAndrew.
“McAndrew was so aggressive all game going to the basket,” Donahue said. “I thought he did a great job.”
With the lead down to a slender four points, Brown was hit with a technical foul and after Wittman hit the two free throws the Red never looked back. Dale sunk three more from beyond the arc and Wittman nailed a 3 as the shot clock expired to put the Red on top, 76-59, with less than four minutes to play.
“Any time you lose on Friday night in this league, you’re anxious to get back out on the court,” Donahue said. “We were very motivated and played with a great sense of purpose.”