Yale proved too resilient for Cornell men’s basketball, which fell to the first-place Bulldogs, 98-92, at home on Saturday night.
Senior guard Matt Morgan and Yale’s junior guard Miye Oni battled all night in front of a rowdy Newman Arena crowd. Morgan, who led all scorers, set a Cornell men’s basketball Newman Arena record with 35 points while Oni notched 20 points and 7 rebounds.
Cornell sophomore forward Jimmy Boeheim was the game’s second-leading scorer with a career-high 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting. The loss drops Cornell’s Ivy League record to 5-3.
“I think we did a good job coming out of halftime and figuring some things out,” said head coach Brian Earl, whose team opened the second half on a 19-6 run. “They just have a lot of good guys. I thought our guys played hard but [Yale’s] a really good team, talented in a lot of different ways so they’re a tough team to beat.”
As a group, the problems which tend to plague the Red were nonexistent on Saturday. The Red only committed nine turnovers and shot well from the field with a 52.6 percent overall mark, 45.5 percent from three and 88 percent from the charity stripe.
The Red struggled to contain the Bulldogs’ height, length, speed and depth on the offensive end, which ultimately led to the home team’s demise. As the Red had no trouble putting the ball in the basket in the second half, it had trouble preventing Yale from doing the same.
“We just have to regroup, they’re good players but we left a lot on the table,” Morgan said. “To lose by only six to a team like that is encouraging, but we would much rather come out with a win.”
The Red walked back onto the floor to start the second half with a renewed sense of energy and vigor, and the 19-6 run seemed to put the hosts in the driver’s seat (Cornell opened the game on an 8-0 run, forcing an early Yale timeout). The stretch was marked by tough defense, fluid offense and smart decision making.
Senior forward Steven Julian started the half with four blocks and the offensive end seemed to open up as the Red diced Yale for open shot after open shot. After the Red opened up a six-point lead with 14 minutes to play in the second half, Yale systematically broke the Red’s spirit with layup after layup and offensive rebounds galore.
“You can see they put the work in and they showed up tonight,” Morgan said. “We had some moments where we could have made a stop but they made some tough buckets or got an offensive rebound or they just knocked down an open shot.”
The Red struggled mightily with Yale’s height and length. The Bulldogs dominated the painted area with four blocks in the first half to the Red’s zero. It wasn’t until the second half, when Julian blocked four shots within the first two minutes and 21 seconds that the Red narrowed that gap. The Bulldogs also thoroughly dominated the Red on the glass, outrebounding Cornell on the offensive end, 15-6 and 38-27 in total.
“I think we needed to get more stops. They scored a lot of points,” Earl said. “It was an up and down game and they hurt us in transition. We have to take it game by game and practice by practice and see what’s going to work out. Tonight we just didn’t have enough.”
The Red will continue its Ivy campaign next weekend with a trip to Princeton on Friday and Penn on Saturday. Both games will tip off at 7 p.m.