November 25, 2008

M. Basketball Starts Off Week With a Win

Print More

The men’s basketball team proved last night that it was capable of winning with both its defense and its offense in a resounding 78-53 win over Loyola University-Chicago. The win was the Red’s second straight of the NIT Preseason Tip-Off tournament after an opening round loss to St. John’s. The Red used staunch first-half defense, a high-scoring second-half offense and some aggressive rebounding to capture the win.[img_assist|nid=33874|title=The Geoff/Jeff show|desc=While junior guard Geoff Reeves (15) scored 26 points against Loyola-Chicago last night, senior center Jeff Foote controlled the glass for the Red.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“We ran into a team that out-hustled and out-executed us tonight,” said Loyola head coach Jim Whitesell to the Loyola athletics department. “We made a valiant run in the second half, but overall I was disappointed with our shot selection and we didn’t defend.”
Junior Geoff Reeves led a pack of four Cornell (3-2) players in double figures with a career-high 26 points. Reeves, averaging 13.5 points per game this season, is coming into his own as a prime offensive target after playing a supporting role his first two years. Reeves shot early and often and found the bottom of the net almost every time he shot, going 10-of-14 from the floor, including 5-of-6 from behind the arc.
Senior backcourt-mate Ryan Wittman was even more of a sniper, chipping in 15 of his own on 6-of-8 shooting.
But it was the Red’s defense and rebounding that really held the Ramblers (2-3) down throughout the contest. Cornell held Loyola to 36.8 percent shooting, including a paltry 21.4 percent from long range and held a 36-15 rebounding edge. Senior Jeff Foote controlled the glass, pulling down 10 boards to go along with 10 points and four blocks.
Loyola tried to slow the pace down in the first half, and controlled the tempo with a physical style of play. Despite dictating the pace, however, the Ramblers could not control the scoreboard.
With the score knotted at eight, a three from freshman Chris Wroblewski — who had maybe his best game so far of the season statistically with 13 points, five rebounds and three assists — and a 3-point play from Reeves were the bookends to a 21-10 run.
Integral to the run was a tenacious defense that held the Ramblers to only one free throw over the final 5:37 of the first half, giving the Red a 29-19 halftime lead. For the half, Loyola missed all eight of its 3-point attempts and shot only 31 percent from the floor.
Another impressive achievement for the defense was its ability to shut down Loyola’s leading scorer, J.B. Blount. Blount, who has in the past gone off for games of 42 and 25 points, was averaging 19.3 points per game coming into the contest. Last night, however, he made only 2-of-10 shots for five points.
While Cornell shot the ball well the whole evening — connecting to the tune of 60 percent — the second stanza would feature the explosive Red offense as the squad put up 49 points.
The Red netted the first two buckets out of the break to push its lead to 14, but the Ramblers spent the next four minutes cutting that in half.
That was the closest Loyola would get, however, as Reeves netted eight straight points en route to a 19-2 run to put the game on ice.