A home split with Dartmouth and Harvard has Cornell men’s basketball looking to get back in contention for the Ivy League tournament as they travel to Brown and Yale this weekend.
After two consecutive one-point victories over Ivy League foes Columbia and Dartmouth, Cornell (8-11, 2-4 Ivy) hosted Ivy League preseason favorite Harvard Saturday with a chance to attain its first three game winning streak under head coach Brian Earl.
Despite juniors Matt Morgan and Stone Gettings combining for 48 points against the Crimson, a late missed Gettings free throw was too much for Cornell to overcome, as they dropped their fourth Ivy League contest of the year.
“I was actually more proud of our guys following the loss to Harvard than after the win over Dartmouth, because we showed a high level of effort,” Earl said. “If you think about us trying to build a competitive program, I think that this actually might be a step forward.”
Currently, the Red is tied for sixth place in the Ivy League, but are just one game out of a three-way tie for third place in the Ancient Eight.
Cornell will first attempt to climb in the standings when they travel to Brown (10-9, 3-3) Friday. The Bears are coming off a miraculous 102-100 overtime victory against Princeton, a night after an overtime loss to first-place Penn.
Offensively, Brown relies on guards Brandon Anderson and Desmond Cambridge, both of whom average over 17 points per game. Last weekend against the Quakers and the Tigers, Cambridge averaged 30.5 points.
Cornell will also look to take advantage of a down year for Yale (9-13, 2-4). Just two years off of an Ivy League title and an upset of Baylor in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, the Bulldogs are tied with the Red for sixth place in the league.
During the first week of the season, the Bulldogs suffered a pair of devastating injuries to stars Makai Mason and Jordan Bruner. Yale has depended on the duo of Miye Oni and Alex Copeland to take over the scoring load after the season-ending injuries to the Bulldogs’ two best players. Copeland has averaged 12.6 points per game through 21 contests.
“As long as we fight and execute like we did this past weekend against Dartmouth and Harvard, I think that we will be fine,” Morgan said. “Yale is really talented defensively, and they really move well, but it is going to come down to how we stop them on defense. They have some really good offensive players, but I think that we will have a game plan for it, and we just have to stick to it for 40 minutes.”
Despite a 6-2 record at home, the Red is 2-9 away from Newman Arena. Additionally, Cornell has dropped all three of its away games in Ivy League play.
Cornell will need to make up ground quickly, as after this weekend, Cornell will have just six more league games before the conference tournament.
The games tip off at 7 p.m. Friday at Brown and Saturday at Yale.