February 6, 2011

Red Follows Up Close Loss With Impressive Win

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Sixteen 3-pointers and six double-figure scorers propelled the Cornell’s men’s basketball team to its first Ivy League win of the season on Saturday night. Twenty-four hours after squandering a 10 point-lead in the final two minutes to lose at Yale, 71-70, the Red produced a season-high point total to capture the long-awaited victory, 91-79, at Brown.

Junior guard Andrew Ferry led Cornell (5-15, 1-5 Ivy League) with 20 points off the bench, helping offset a 26-point, nine-rebound, five-assist effort from Brown (8-12, 1-5) sophomore forward Tucker Halpern. Junior guard and tri-captain Chris Wroblewski added 13 points for the Red, as did sophomore guard Jonathan Gray. It was Gray’s second straight double-digit scoring game after being held to under 10 points in every contest since the season-opener. Sophomore forward Errick Peck and senior guard Max Groebe chipped in 11 points apiece. Groebe had been held scoreless in six of his previous nine games, including Friday night at Yale (11-9, 4-2).

“Before the game [against Brown], the coaches told me to just go out and play loose,” Groebe said. “I was able to get into a rhythm and hit some shots.”

Senior forward Mark Coury scored 10 points, grabbed nine rebounds, blocked two shots and tallied a steal in 18 productive minutes off the bench. Cornell outrebounded Brown, 42-30. The efficient performance against the Bears — making 49.1 percent of shots from the floor, 46.7 percent from behind the arc and hitting 19 of 23 free throws — went a long way towards erasing nightmares of the Red’s collapse the night before.

Seemingly on its way to earning the elusive Ivy League victory against the Bulldogs, Cornell committed multiple ill-timed fouls and one costly turnover in the final minutes, handing extra possessions to Yale.

Bulldogs sophomore guard Austin Morgan completed a 3-point play with 12 seconds remaining, giving Yale all it needed to stun the Red in a one-point victory in New Haven, Conn — arguably the toughest loss for Cornell to swallow in a season consisting of nine losses by a margin of five points or fewer.

Cornell made sure no such repeat happened Saturday night in Providence, R.I. After consecutive 3-pointers from Gray midway through the second half gave the Red a 64-59 lead, Cornell built a lead it would not relinquish. Brown twice got the margin within four, but each time the Red had an answer in the form of a successful shot from distance. The second time, when the Bears made it 78-74 with 3:17 left, Cornell ripped off a 10-0 run to put the game away.

The Red was able to hold Brown freshman guard Sean McGonagill to 11 points on 4-of-16 shooting one night after he scored 39 in the Bears’ first Ivy League win. That victory temporarily left Cornell alone in last place in the Ancient Eight.

But the Red got its chance in the head-to-head matchup against Brown, took advantage of the opportunity and now sits in seventh place. “It feels like we have a monkey off our back,” Groebe said. “It feels really good after all the close losses we’ve had to put together a good game that resulted in a win.”

The one constant in Cornell’s roller-coaster weekend was its bench. The Red reserves outscored Yale, 42-10, and Brown, 64-16. First-year head coach Bill Courtney again switched up his starting lineup this weekend, opening each game with Wroblewski, Peck, sophomore guard Miles Asafo-Adjei, freshman guard Jake Matthews and sophomore forward Josh Figini.

Cornell will look to feed off the momentum from its first Ivy win when it hosts Penn on Friday night, followed by another home matchup against Princeton on Saturday.

Original Author: Quintin Schwab