January 29, 2010

Cornell Hammers Harvard To Remain Atop Ivy League Standings

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Check Monday’s edition of The Cornell Daily Sun for additional coverage of the men’s basketball team.

It was billed by many college basketball analysts as the early season Ivy League game that will ultimately decide the 2009-10 conference champion. It was the game that would decide which of the eight Ivies will be dancing in March. Although Cornell has 10 conference games remaining, the Red took a significant step forward in claiming its third-consecutive Ancient Eight championship tonight with an 86-50 drubbing of Harvard.

The Red (18-3, 4-0 Ivy) snapped the Crimson’s (14-4, 3-1 Ivy) seven-game win streak with a complete team effort. All five Cornell starters posted double figures while senior center Jeff Foote registered a team-high 16 points and nine rebounds. Foote proved to be a dominating inside presence on both ends of the court.

Harvard’s sloppy play was exploited by a stout Cornell defense, which has vastly improved in recent weeks. The Crimson turned the ball over 25 times, including 14 steals. Harvard senior guard Jeremy Lin, a leading candidate for Ivy League Player of the Year honors, dropped a game-high 19 points. However, Lin’s ballhandling was problematic as he withered under the Red’s pressure and committed eight turnovers.

“They were very aggressive,” said Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker. “They took us out of anything we wanted to run and knocked the ball off of us. You can see that with eight turnovers by Jeremy and five by [freshman forward] Kyle [Casey]. Obviously, having 25 turnovers and only seven assists is not a very good formula for positive basketball.”

There was certainly an elevated sense of importance attached to this game as the sold-out 4,473 raucous fans in attendance were well aware that early season Ivy League bragging rights were on the line. The Red remained dominant on its home floor in the Ancient Eight, extending an 18-game home conference winning streak with the victory.

“I would compare it to the first time we won the Ivy League title,” Foote said. “The crowd was rocking. They gave us tremendous energy and made it a great college basketball atmosphere. It really fires us up and we really like to play in front of a lot of people.”

Check Monday’s edition of The Cornell Daily Sun for additional coverage of the men’s basketball team.

Original Author: Matthew Manacher