Sometimes it just comes down to the small things.
Following back-to-back one point wins over Columbia and Dartmouth, the Cornell men’s basketball team (8-11, 2-4 Ivy) once again found itself in a down-to-the-wire nailbiter during Saturday’s game against Harvard (10-11, 5-1).
But this time, the Red was unable to close out.
With Cornell down by three points in the final minute, junior Stone Gettings drained a jumper while getting fouled for the and-one opportunity. However, the forward was unable to convert on a potential game-tying free throw and the Red left the arena falling just short in a disappointing 76-73 decision.
“They knocked down tough shots and hit their free throws [at the end of the game],” Gettings said. “It was disappointing, but the end of the day, [we played] a better defensive game and I don’t think anyone walks out of that gym thinking Harvard’s that much better than Cornell.”
The missed game-tying free throw was an exclamation on the Red’s night-long struggle from the line. The squad was only able to sink 10 of its 18 free throws throughout the night, while the Crimson was able to go 15 for 16 at the charity stripe.
Nevertheless, despite its struggles from the line, Cornell fared quite well against the preseason Ivy League favorites. The squad fronted a solid defensive performance, forcing 13 turnovers and holding the Crimson to zero points in transition.
“We fought pretty hard and I was actually pleased with effort,” said head coach Brian Earl. “We did miss a few free throws in the end [but] hopefully in the future, this will be the way it will go rather than blowout losses.”
Gettings highlighted the night with 32 points and 10 rebounds, which represents the forward’s third 30-point game of the season. Junior Matt Morgan also added 16 points and 4 assists. The duo combined to drain all nine of the Red’s three-pointers on the night.
“My teammates did a great job getting me wide open shots and luckily I just knocked them in,” Gettings said. “That’s the greatest part of our team: we just take what we get and don’t force anything.”
With the loss to Harvard, Cornell ends its short three game homestand and will prepare to head back on the road to continue conference play against Brown and Yale next weekend.
”Tonight we took a loss, but really learned a lot about ourselves in the process,” Earl said. “We’ll have the opportunity to run some cool plays during practice [and] I think our guys will respond well.”
Tip off will be next Friday at 7 p.m. against Brown, and Saturday at 7 p.m. against Yale.