Boris Tsang / Sun Photography Editor

Cornell has dropped five consecutive league contests.

March 6, 2019

Men’s Basketball Takes Last Shot at Ivy Bid

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Heading into the final weekend of Ivy League regular season play, the Red is on the outside of the cutline to qualify for the conference tournament Mar. 16-17 at Yale.

Cornell, coming off of five consecutive league losses, will host Harvard (9-3 Ivy) and Dartmouth (2-10 Ivy) this weekend in a last-ditch attempt to turn things around and qualify for its second consecutive conference tournament appearance.

The Red is in a fifth-place tie with Penn at 5-7 in the Ivy League. Only the top four teams in the conference earn bids to the league tournament, and Yale, Princeton and Harvard have already clinched their spots in New Haven.

That leaves Cornell, Brown and Penn battling for the fourth and final spot in the Ivy League tournament. To secure the final spot, the Red will need to win both games this weekend and receive some help. Cornell needs Brown and Penn to lose their games against Princeton and Yale on Friday, then needs Penn to beat Brown on Saturday.

The situation is comparable to last season’s final weekend of Ivy League play. The Red was tied with Columbia in fourth place and earned a spot in the tournament by defeating Dartmouth on the final day of the regular season. A similar scenario could be in store this year.

Cornell is looking to salvage a once-promising season. The Red started out league play strong, sitting at 5-2 and in second place halfway through the Ivy slate. But after a tough home loss to then first-place Yale in a battle of the top two seeds in the league, Cornell began its free fall down the Ivy standings.

The Red played four consecutive road games and dropped all of them, three of which were double-digit losses.

Even though the squad has been struggling of late, it has had plenty of recent success against Dartmouth and Harvard. Earlier this season, the Red defeated both squads on the road on back-to-back days.

Against the Big Green, Cornell eked out an 83-80 victory in Hanover behind a career-high 41 points from senior guard Matt Morgan. Morgan’s performance was the first time that a Cornell player had scored over 40 points since 1960.

The next night, Cornell beat Harvard in Cambridge for the first time since 2016, overcoming a 13-point halftime hole to come back and defeat the Crimson 67-61.

Cornell will look to replicate its weekend sweep of its New England foes when it hosts Harvard on Friday and Dartmouth on Saturday. Both games will start at 7 p.m.

While the weekend’s results will ultimately decide Cornell’s postseason fate, Saturday’s game against Dartmouth will also serve as senior night for the Red. Matt Morgan, the school’s all-time leading scorer, will be honored alongside fellow seniors Joel Davis, Jack Gordon, Steven Julian and Troy Whiteside.