March 9, 2009

Led by Seniors, Men’s Basketball Avenges Loss to Princeton at Home

Print More

Although the Ivy title was wrapped up a night earlier, the men’s basketball team kept the intensity level up and avenged its 20-point loss to Princeton earlier this season with a 60-51 victory over the Tigers on Saturday night at Newman Arena.
“We definitely wanted revenge,” said junior guard Louis Dale, who had 11 points and four rebounds on the night.
Princeton snapped the Red’s (21-9, 11-3 Ivy) Ivy League win streak on Feb. 6 with a 61-41 upset of the defending Ivy League champions.
The Tigers, a usual contender for the Ivy title, were still in the running until their 58-44 loss at Columbia on Friday night, which combined with the Red’s 83-58 win over Penn to hand Cornell its second-straight league championship.[img_assist|nid=35923|title=(Gore)ified leader|desc=Adam Gore (23) was one of five seniors honored in Saturday’s pregame ceremony.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Still, the loss to Princeton earlier this season cast a shadow of doubt upon the Red’s chances of repeating as league champions. “Bracketologists” and other experts reworked their projections to include Princeton, rather than Cornell, in the NCAA Tournament brackets. The Tigers, despite their tough defense, ultimately fell to 12-14 and 7-6 in the Ivy League, with their last game of the season to be played on Tuesday against Penn.
“I thought we did a great job — we didn’t turn the ball over, we shot over 50 percent, we got great looks,” said head coach Steve Donahue.
Junior Ryan Wittman led the team with 12 points and junior forward Alex Tyler and freshman guard Chris Wroblewski added 10 apiece. Cornell shot 51 percent from the field and held the Tigers to just 35 percent shooting.
“They’re going to draw out the possessions and make sure you work hard for your shots,” said senior forward Brian Kreefer. “We just had to stay patient and get good shots.”
Donahue deviated from his usual starting lineup to give his seniors a moment in the spotlight. The group made some big defensive plays early and got the Red out to a quick 7-0 lead to raise the energy level in Newman Arena.
“We were pretty energized from the start,” said senior center Jeff Foote, who finished with a well-rounded stat-line of six points, nine boards, three assists and three blocked shots. “Guys like [senior Jason Battle], [senior guard Adam Gore] and [senior Connor Mullen] made some big plays and that fired us up on defense.”
The five graduating seniors — all integral components of the team’s success throughout the past two years — on the Red’s roster were honored in a pregame ceremony.
“At the time, it didn’t seem very realistic,” Kreefer said of the Red’s recent success. “But that was definitely the goal when we came here.”