With a wire-to-wire 78-60 victory over Brown, the Cornell men’s basketball team welcomed the first painless win of its past four games.
Coming off three consecutive single digit decisions against Columbia, Dartmouth, and Harvard, the Red (9-11, 3-4 Ivy) led from the opening tip and never looked back. The squad led by 21 at one point, and finished the entire second half without letting the Bears (10-10, 3-4) cut the lead to single digits.
“It was all our defense,” said junior forward Steven Julian. “The pressure from our defense helped us start [the game 13-0] and led to our offense having easy shots.”
Julian highlighted the Red’s strong defensive night which held Brown to well below its season average of 79 points per game. The forward posted 10 points, three rebounds, one block, and one steal, while leading the impressive defensive front which held the Bears to just 31.3 percent from the field and 21.1 percent from long range.
“We were able to slow them down [and] stop them in the transition which is a big part of their game,” Julian said. “They had to start playing the half-court game and we didn’t give them any easy buckets.”
With the Red pinpointing Brown’s Desmond Cambridge as a key focus point on defense heading into the matchup, the squad was able to restrict the guard’s efficiency on his 26 points to just 38 percent shooting, while holding the rest of his team to no more than eight points.
“It was a total group effort,” said head coach Brian Earl. “[Brown] like[s] to turn on the speed and get to the rim, but we did a good job keeping them off the line. Cambridge did score, but he took a fair amount of shots to get those numbers and we were able to hold the rest [of the Bears] in check. ”
Stemming from the early defensive pressure, Cornell was able to kick-start its offense and build a quick double-digit lead with little resistance. Junior forward Stone Gettings finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season, and junior guard Matt Morgan added 19 points, seven boards, and three assists.
“We’re learning as we go that teams in our league are really focusing on [Gettings and Morgan],” Earl said. “They’ve really taken it upon themselves to understand the best ways they’re going to score well.”
Junior guard Jack Gordon also continued easing himself back into the lineup after being sidelined by injury for a few games. He finished with eight points, five rebounds, and four assists in 21 minutes.
“[Gordon] just had a small nagging injury which kept him out a few games, but he’s been able to ease his way back into the lineup,” Earl said. “He’s a big part of what we need here and he’s been able to figure out that how he fits into the rotation.
With the win, the Red now moves into a five-way tie for third place in the Ivy League. The squad has just five more league games before the conference tournament, and will look to continue its push to finish conference play on a high note tomorrow at Yale.
“All Ivy League games are tough so we just gotta start off right [against Yale] like we did today,” Julian said.
The Red tips off against Yale tomorrow at 7 p.m.