Of the nearly 2,000 in attendance at Newman Arena, not one person was sitting as seniors Matt Morgan, Joel Davis, Jack Gordon, Steven Julian and Troy Whiteside were honored at half court in a senior night tradition before the final game of their collegiate careers.
“Senior night was one of the best moments I’ve had in a Cornell uniform,” said Morgan. “Being able to play for the last time in Newman Arena will be a moment I will never forget.”
Although the Cornell basketball team (15-15, 7-7 Ivy) narrowly missed the Ivy League Tournament, it finished the year strong by beating Harvard 72-59 and Dartmouth 66-51 this weekend.
The weekend also marked the end of one of the greatest careers in Red basketball history, as senior Matt Morgan laced up for the last time in a Cornell uniform.
Already the school’s all time leading scorer, Morgan poured in 31 points in just 29 minutes against Harvard on 9-16 shooting, coming up clutch down the stretch to seal the upset victory against the first-place Crimson.
Morgan finishes the season averaging 22.1 points per game, to lead the Ivy League in scoring for an unprecedented fourth consecutive year. His incredible performances and consistency throughout his career have earned him respect and admiration throughout the league.
“Matt Morgan is a gifted offensive player. He makes you pay for every mistake,” Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said. “His shotmaking, his confidence that he has, gives everybody else on their team confidence.”
In the Red’s final game of the season against Dartmouth on Saturday night, sophomore standout Jimmy Boeheim channeled some of that confidence when he dropped 21 points on an impressive 9-10 from the field.
Despite trailing by as much as ten in the first half, Cornell used its scrappy defense to force several shot clock violations and outscore Dartmouth 38-22 in the second half. Dartmouth shot just 5.6 percent from three-point range in the game.
From the opening play — in which Steven Julian threw down a perfectly executed alley-oop — to the final whistle as the seniors checked out one last time, the crowd was electrified, standing and cheering on the team every step of the way.
“I’m so glad we won,” Morgan said. “Being able to share that moment with my teammates was amazing. Thank you to Newman Nation.”
More than just Cornell’s all-time leading scorer, Morgan is the second all-time leading scorer in Ivy League history and sits in the top 15 in steals, 3-pointers made and free throws. Despite getting NBA attention earlier in his career, he has stayed at Cornell to torch opponents and delight fans for a full four years.
Looking ahead, Cornell will certainly feel a big loss next year. Morgan, Warren, Julian and Gordon accounted for 58 percent of the Red’s points this season. The squad will look to their young talent to help them move on, but Morgan’s legacy will certainly not fade anytime soon.