Despite a chance to redeem itself after dropping its first two Ivy League matchups last weekend, the Cornell men’s basketball found itself unable to overcome sensational shooting by Columbia.
Columbia (4-12, 1-2 Ivy) put on an offensive matinee in the Saturday evening match, hitting 16 three pointers en route to its 88-62 blowout win over the Red (6-10, 0-3).
“We had lapses on defense where we gave [Columbia] many opportunities and they just really capitalized,” said junior guard Matt Morgan. “By the time we got into a rhythm, it was too late. The one good thing is that we’ll have another opportunity against them next week.”
Cornell dug itself into a hole almost immediately following tipoff, with the Red allowing seven threes and trailing 43-29 heading into the locker room. Regrouping during the halftime break was ultimately ineffective as the Red was unable to cut to lead to less than 13 points in the second half.
“A lot of [the Columbia shooting] can just be attributed to our lack of defense,” said junior forward Stone Gettings. “There were a lot of defensive miscues … which allowed them to get hot and score almost 90 points.”
In its wire-to-wire win, Columbia shot blistering percentages of 52.5 percent from the field and 57.1 from beyond the arc. The overall poor defensive effort by the Red allowed the Lions to field five players in double figures and seven with at least one three pointer made.
“There’s a lack of talk and miscommunication where we’re scrambling to switch or get over screens [and that] is leading to a lot of wide open layups and threes,” Gettings said. “If we can just talk and stick to the game plan, we’ll be able to compete.
Compounding the defensive inefficiencies, the Red struggled with its ball handling as well. Cornell committed an abysmal 20 turnovers on the night, leading to 13 fewer shot attempts on the night. Morgan was the sole Red player in double figures with 20 points on 50 percent shooting.
“We have to make sure we’re locked into every single possession and not give these many easy opportunities,” Morgan said. “There’s no way we can win in this league if …. we’re turning the ball over and giving up [high percentage shooting] from both the field and three point line.”
With the loss, Cornell has now dropped all three of its Ivy matchups from the beginning of league play. Fortunately, the Red will also have the opportunity to make a quick turnaround when it plays the same squad again next weekend at home.
“We have to take the season one game at a time,” Morgan said. “No one is down right now … we still have a lot more games and we just have to keep on improving in practice.”
Cornell will have a chance to redeem itself this weekend when it hosts Columbia at Newman Arena on Saturday, Jan. 27 at 4 p.m.