February 11, 2009

Harsh Loss Drops Red to Second

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After the Red’s loss on Friday halted the team’s 19-game Ivy League win streak, the sports world took notice of Princeton’s upset of the defending champions, and some writers and bracketologists have revised their predictions to include the Tigers as the 2008-09 Ivy League champions. Friday’s loss is only one game of a 14-game conference season, but just how badly did the team play? [img_assist|nid=34952|title=Above the curve|desc=Senior guard Adam Gore (23) dribbles down court during the Red’s 64-36 win at home over Yale on Jan. 31|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Princeton’s 61-41 trouncing of the men’s basketball team on Friday not only handed the Red its first Ivy League loss in nearly two years, it also was an offensive performance that ranked statistically worse than any the team has had in a long while.
Cornell shot uncharacteristically poorly — 31.8 percent from the field and 11.8 percent from behind the 3-point line. During the team’s Ivy win streak, the Red shot an average of 50.2 percent from the field and 38.7 percent from long range. Friday was the Red’s worst shooting performance since Feb. 7, 2004, when the team shot 28.3 percent from the field at Yale.
Princeton’s defense effectively contained senior center Jeff Foote, the Red’s leader in field goal percentage who has made 53.4 percent on the season, to six points on 2-of-5 shooting. This season, junior guard Louis Dale, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year, is shooting 51.7 percent from the field and 46.8 percent from behind the arc — Dale was held to 2-of-11 from the field and missed all four of his 3-point attempts. Junior forward Ryan Wittman, who was named one of the country’s best shooters during the offseason, shot 4-of-10 from the field and just 1-of-6 from long range.
The Tigers not only clamped down on the Red’s top scoring threats, they kept the rest of the team in check, too. Cornell’s 41 points represented the team’s lowest score since a 56-40 loss at Columbia on Jan. 19, 2002.
While Princeton’s defense was stifling the Red’s shooters, Cornell’s defense couldn’t manage to keep the score close. The 20-point margin of victory for the Tigers was the Red’s worst Ivy League loss since a 40-point blowout to eventual league champion Penn, 84-44, in the Ivy opener of the 2005-06 season.