In yet another back-and-forth non-conference contest, Cornell men’s basketball came out on the wrong end of a one-possession game. Lafayette entered Newman Arena and handed the Red its seventh consecutive loss.
Leopards senior Myles Cherry hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with three seconds remaining in the game to clinch a 62-59 win for the visitors.
The Red (1-7) were able to get off a three-point attempt at the buzzer, but freshman Jordan Jones’s shot fell short, giving Lafayette (6-2) its fourth win this season against Ivy League opponents.
Cornell was led by junior forward Jimmy Boeheim, who scored a season-high 27 points, 18 of which came in the second half.
“The second half is winning time, that is when you want to step up and try to help your team as much as possible,” Boeheim said. “It is all about getting a win — we came up short today, which is tough, but all I want to do is win, and I do whatever I can do to try to help us accomplish that.”
Boeheim also collected eight rebounds in 30 minutes on the court. Boeheim kept the Red in the game late — he was very efficient in his scoring, going 13-of-22 from the field, with most of those attempts coming within a few feet of the basket.
Neither team led by more than seven points the entire game, as both sides shot the ball very poorly from beyond the arc. There were 20 lead changes and 14 ties throughout the contest, as each team led the game for nearly the same amount of time.
As has been the theme all season for the Red, the squad struggled mightily from three-point range despite a plethora of open looks.
“This has never happened to me before,” said head coach Brian Earl. “On the spectrum of guys that I have coached and played with, these guys are not bad shooters. We shoot the ball very well in practice, but for some reason when we get into games it is an epic drought like I’ve never seen before. I don’t know if it is coaching or recruiting or something else, but honestly I don’t know.”
Cornell was just 2-of-11 from deep in the first half and converted just one 3-pointer on 10 attempts in the second half. Overall on the afternoon, it shot 14.3 percent from deep.
“As a Division-I basketball team, you can’t shoot 14 percent from three and expect to win any games,” Earl said. “We’ve had two one-point losses, one two-point loss, and now a three-point loss, so four 3-pointers made would be very helpful for us at this point in the season. But, this is sort of uncharted territory for me — I’ve never been a part of something quite like this before.”
Luckily for the Red, the Leopards were not much better in this department, shooting 33 percent from three.
While scoring was difficult for the Red, its defense was admirable. Cornell forced 14 turnovers and had nine steals. Additionally, junior guard Bryan Knapp held Lafayette’s Justin Jaworski, the leading scorer in the Patriot League this season, to just 10 points, none of which came after halftime.
“It was really a team effort on defense today, we switched when we had to, and as always we went hard on that side of the ball, which made it really difficult for [Jaworski] to score,” Knapp said.
Cornell also handled the ball very well and gave itself ample opportunities to score. The Red only committed three turnovers and came down with 10 offensive rebounds. But despite its stellar play across the board, it simply could not knock down shots, especially when it mattered most down the stretch.
Cornell will look to get back into the win column for the first time in over a month when it travels to Colgate Wednesday in its last action before the winter break. The Raiders have won three straight contests against the Red.