November 19, 2008

Red Outlasts Loyola to Win

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BOSTON — Junior guard Ryan Wittman scored a game high 24 points, including all seven of his free throws, to lead Cornell over Loyola of Maryland 82-72 in a game that showcased two teams exhausted from a long weekend of tournament play that resulted in the match-up in the consolation game of the East Region at the NIT Season Tip-Off, held at Boston College.[img_assist|nid=33726|title=Calling the shots|desc=Junior forward Ryan Wittman’s game-high 24 points propelled the Red past Loyola, 82-72, in Boston yesterday.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Cornell had played a game 19 hours earlier, a close 80-75 loss to St. Johns, while Loyola had played four games in five days, including a blowout loss to the host Eagles Monday.
Wittman has scored at least 24 points in all three games so far this season. He has only tallied that many points twice in his first two seasons for the Red.
Seven-foot senior Jeff Foote scored 19 of his own, the second highest output of his career topped only by his 20 in the first round against St. Johns. Foote added eight rebounds and a career high seven blocks against a team whose tallest player is six-foot-nine. In Boston Foote proved himself a reliable second option in the absence of last year’s Ivy League player of the year Louis Dale.
The win makes Cornell 1-1 on its trip to Boston College’s Conte Forum for the Dick’s NIT Season Tip-Off, and 2-1 overall. Loyola falls to 1-3 on the season.
The Red found itself leading by double digits for much of the game. Winning by ten with 2:32 remaining on the clock, Foote was fouled in the post by Jawaan Wright. The foul was the fifth on Wright, the Greyhounds’ most physically imposing player.
Foote missed both from the stripe and the Greyhounds picked up momentum without their center. Led by junior guard Brett Harvey and his timely three of three from downtown, Loyola fought back.
Despite Harvey’s best efforts the Red was able to keep the pressure on, however, and make important free throws down the stretch. With just over 90 seconds remaining Harvey’s three brought the Greyhounds within six at 73-67. That was as close as Loyola would get the rest of the night.
Harvey finished the game with 18, including 16 after the break. Sophomore Tony Lewis paced the Greyhounds, putting in 23 of his own on 10-of-21 shooting. Lewis and Isaac Reid both had eight rebounds.
Loyola scored the first points of the game but after a few minutes of back and forth play, as well as some timely back-to-back threes by Wittman and Geoff Reeves, Cornell remained on top with a four-point lead. The Greyhounds called a timeout. Lewis responded with a lay-up but Loyola would never regain the lead.
Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos found little to be happy about in his teams play for much of the day. Patsos spent much of Monday’s loss to Boston College walking up and down the sideline, visibly irate and yelling at anyone who would give him their ear. Tuesday’s game saw a more subdued Patsos sitting at the end of the bench and counseling players as they came off the court, while letting assistant Matt Kovarik run the bench.
The Red also received solid contributions in the frontcourt from Brian Kreefer and Adam Wire, both finishing the game with seven boards. Behind the strength of Kreefer, Wire, Foote and starting forward Alex Tyler, Cornell out-rebounded Loyola 41-32.
Cornell returns to New York for its next game at Siena College. The Red will then continue its play in the pre-season NIT with consolation rounds on November 24 and 25. The site for these games is to be determined.