February 9, 2009

Princeton Snaps Red’s Ancient Eight Win Streak

Print More

The bigger they are, the harder they fall, or so the saying goes. The men’s basketball team, the preseason pick to repeat as Ivy League champion and owners of a 19-game Ivy win streak, fell hard on Friday, 61-41, to Princeton. Cornell (15-7, 5-1 Ivy League), the heavy favorite heading into the game, only had one player score double figures in a game that was defined by tough Princeton (9-8, 4-0) defense. The Tigers had four players in double figures and shot 50 percent from the field and 57 percent from behind the 3-point line.
[img_assist|nid=34871|title=Keep your head up|desc=Men’s basketball dropped their first Ancient Eight matchup in 20 games against Princeton this weekend.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“Most of the shots we took were very hard shots, they were challenging and we didn’t get many open looks,” said junior guard Louis Dale, the Red’s leading scorer with 12 points, five rebounds and three assists. “When we did get open looks we didn’t make them.”
The Red got off to a slow start at Jadwin Gymnasium with four turnovers and the team found itself down 13-8 midway through the first half. According to junior forward Alex Tyler, the Red’s troubles just got worse as it tried to climb out of its shooting slump.
“A lot of us were trying to do too much too early,” Tyler said. “Once we got in a rut our guys started putting too much pressure on themselves.”
Cornell’s leading scorer, junior forward Ryan Wittman, was held to 4-of-10 from the field and just 1-of-6 from beyond the arc. He finished with nine points and four rebounds.
Cornell only assisted on four of the team’s 14 baskets, which reflects the trouble the Red had moving the ball.
“I feel like we didn’t play offense particularly well, we didn’t move the ball well on offense,” Dale said.
On the other bench, Princeton’s leading scorer Doug Davis only scored two points on 1-of-5 shooting, but the rest of the Tiger lineup more than made up for Davis’s low output. Princeton’s junior center Pawel Buczak grabbed six boards and matched a career-high with 15 points. Three others finished in double figures and all but one of the Tigers that saw playing time scored in the contest.
The game was not clearly decided until late. Cornell’s explosive offense could fuel an impressive comeback, but Princeton outscored the Red 10-0 over the last 3:07. The Tigers are the only team remaining undefeated in Ancient Eight play.
“There’s always pressure to win whenever you’re picked to win the league but all we can do is worry about ourselves and we feel like we can win the rest of the games,” Tyler said. “We’re going to be more focused now, not going to take anything for granted.”