Nearing the midway point of the Ivy League season, the Cornell men’s basketball team is currently on the outside looking in on the inaugural Ivy League Tournament. After a pair of home losses to Brown and Yale, the Red is tied with the Bears for fifth place in the league, and the Bulldogs sit in second place behind Princeton.
Brown (11-11, 2-4 Ivy) had an impressive offensive night on Friday, with five players scoring in double figures and shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc to come out with a 81-70 victory.
The Red (6-15, 2-4 Ivy) placed three players in double figures, with junior guard/forward Wil Bathurst leading the way with 13 points and four boards, and sophomore guards Matt Morgan and Troy Whiteside putting up 10 each. The Red shot 49 percent overall, but only went 29 percent (6-21) from deep, including a 1-10 performance in the first half from three.
Head coach Brian Earl gave credit to Brown for forcing the Red’s shooting percentage.
“Sometimes you can say we had a bad shooting night, but I think [Brown] had something to do with it,” he said. “They got out to our shooters, they were physical [and they] just competed harder than we did.”
The game was relatively back-and-forth within the first 12 minutes, until Brown put on a 9-0 run, giving the Bears a lead that the Red could not recover from.
There were times that the Red came close to tying the score, but was not able to overcome the hump. After a 35-26 halftime deficit, sophomore forward Stone Gettings scored eight quick points out of the gate, cutting the lead to 41-37 within the first two minutes and remained within five (49-44) five minutes later.
The Bears responded with a 13-3 run, putting the team up by 15. The Red was not able to cut the lead to less than nine after that point.
In addition to giving credit to Brown, Earl criticized his team for a lack of spirit.
“I just thought we didn’t come ready to play — there was just a level of intensity that they brought that we didn’t, and it was evident,” Earl said. “It’s not something I’ve had to work on in my career, but we just have to bring more energy for a game like that — it’s a little bit of a learning experience for me.”
The Red came back the next day to start the game against Yale (13-6, 5-1 Ivy). After a town-wide power outage left Newman completely dark, the lights came back for less than an hour, giving the teams a chance to warm up and play for 89 seconds, in which Yale got up to a 2-0 lead, before the power went out again.
The game was resumed Sunday at noon, becoming only the second Division I game to be suspended this year.
Gettings said that the delay did not affect the team’s mindset, but, if anything, gave the team a boost.
“It was definitely a weird situation, but the power outage did not change our mindset going into the game or our game plan,” he said. “If anything, the power outage was beneficial because it gave us a longer period of rest after the game against Brown.”
Cornell led by as many as seven points, with a 31-24 lead in the first half. But Yale came back to tie the game at 36 heading into the break. The Red shot 52 percent from the floor overall, but only shot 1-11 from three-point range. Meanwhile, Yale connected on all nine of its free throw attempts.
The second half began with back-and-forth play from both teams, but Yale took the lead with 11:35 remaining, a lead that would remain for the Bulldogs. The Red got within one point twice, but was not able to tie or recapture the lead.
Gettings led the way for the Red with 28 points, topping his career-best of 23. He also added on a career-high four steals and eight rebounds. Against Brown, Gettings posted a career-high 9 rebounds.
Despite the individual performance, Gettings was “disappointed in the outcome of the game,” but still highlighted the bright points of the game.
“I thought our team had great energy and showed that we can play with Yale, who is one of the best teams in the league,” Gettings said. “At the end of the day, Yale simply made a few more plays than us to win the game.”
The Red will look to rebound when it hits the road to continue Ivy play, taking on Princeton and Penn next weekend.