March 12, 2008

Road to the NCAA Tournament: One Game at a Time, One Win at a Time

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Cornell 70, Columbia 64
Cornell overcame an early 10-point deficit. The Red was led by sophomore guard Louis Dale’s 18, but couldn’t stop Columbia’s John Baumann, who scored 21 points and pulled down 11 rebounds.

Cornell 72, Columbia 54
The Red burst out of the gate, running out to a 10-0 lead and never looked back. The Red swarmed Baumann with double teams and he did not hit one field goal and the Lions only shot 34 percent from the floor. Junior guard Adam Gore was aggressive going to the hoop and scored 17.

Cornell 75, Brown 64
Although the Red could not control the Bears’ guard Mark McAndrew, who dropped 22 points, Cornell scored the first seven points after halftime to pull ahead for good.

Cornell 66, Yale 45
The Red collected its first win at Yale since 2001. Cornell opened the game scoring the first 10 points, then later netted 11 straight to put the game away by halftime. Yale shot just 26 percent from the floor and 18 percent from behind the arc.

Cornell 72, Princeton 61
Junior center Jeff Foote had his coming out game, scoring a career high 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting. Sophomore guard Ryan Wittman also hit 7-of-10 for 20 points. Princeton’s 3-point shooting helped the Tigers make several runs, but Foote and Wittman answered each time.

Cornell 87, Penn 74
Wittman and Dale combined for 49 points and 15 rebounds, but it was Wittman who hit all the big shots in the second half. After climbing out of a typical first-half hole, Wittman hit a double-pump 3 when the lead was cut to two in the second half. The shot sparked a 7-0 run that put the game away. The win was Cornell’s first against Penn in nine years.

Cornell 72, Harvard 71
A patient Harvard offense led by as much as 11 with just under nine minutes to play, but Cornell came storming back, with the guards creating off penetration. Still, down five with just under 30 seconds left, the Red needed six points from junior Alex Tyler and several Crimson turnovers to pull out the improbable win. Tyler finished with 19 points.

Cornell 73, Dartmouth 63
The Red shot lights out, but the defense let the Green stay in the ballgame. So despite shooting 68 percent in the first stanza, Cornell led by just one at the break after overcoming a Dartmouth lead. A better defensive effort helped the Red pull away late for the double-digit win.

Cornell 85, Yale 65
The Red started slowly yet again, but was saved by Gore’s fearless shooting in the second half. Gore hit four 3s in the second stanza, and five on the night for 18 points. Shots opened up for Gore because of the strong inside play from Tyler and senior Jason Hartford. Hartford had his second career double, scoring 15 and pulling down 12 rebounds. Tyler added 12 points.

Cornell 74, Brown 65
Leading Brown by two games in the standings, Cornell put itself in the drivers seat for the Ivy Legaue title with only four games remaining. Gore provided the long disance shooting in the first half, scoring 15 of his 18 points in the first stanza. Sophomore Geoff Reeves provided the long range touch in the second half, scoring most of his 14 points after the break.

Cornell 75, Dartmouth 59
Cornell clinched a share of the Ivy League title as Dale put on a show, scoring 22 points, hauling in 11 rebounds and dishing out six assists. Dale also completed a decisive Red comeback heading into intermission, as he hit a jumper off an offensive rebound at the buzzer. Although the Red led by five at the break, the lead ballooned to 21 within eight minutes. Foote also connected on two authoritative dunks, including an alley oop from Wittman.

Cornell 86, Harvard 53
Cornell played arguably its best game of the year to clinch the Ivy League title. Up by 25 at halftime, head coach Steve Donahue started emptying his bench five minutes into the second half. Five Red players hit double-figures as the team shot 56 percent overall, including 66 percent in the first half. Havard managed just 24 percent from the floor.

Cornell 94, Penn 92
In what turned into a shootout, the Red ended an 18-year winless streak at the Palestra. A high-scoring first half left the teams tied at the break. Cornell responded to a 9-0 Penn run early in the second half with a 17-2 run of its own. Some ball control and free throw issues late in the game caused a 10 point lead to nearly evaporate.

Cornell 71, Princeton 64
The Red completed its perfect Ivy League season against the Tigers. The Red stuggled switching from attacking Penn’s man-to-man defense to Princeton’s matchup zone. Sloppy ball handling and poor free-throw shooting were overcome by a spectacular second half from Dale. His second-half play helped the team overcome a halftime deficit. Wittman scored 16 and Hartford had 15 points and eight rebounds in his last regular season game with Cornell.