Cornell men’s basketball’s record fell to 3-11 following a road loss to Columbia on Saturday, allowing the Lions to hold the lead by double digits for nearly the entire night. The Red’s lone Division I victory came in its first game of the season against Binghamton.
The Lions (6-11) defeated Cornell, 75-61, led by freshman guard Jack Forrest, who scored 23 points. The Red succeeded in just over one-third of scoring attempts from the field.
Columbia got off to a hot start against the Red, which has only one win over a Division I opponent this season. The home team shot 61 percent from the field in the first half, while visiting Cornell was only able to shoot 25 percent from the field. As a result, the Lions took a 48-29 lead into halftime.
Even though the Red was able to outscore the Lions 32-27 in the second half, this effort was not enough to close the ultimately insurmountable deficit. The Lions were up by 22 points when only nine minutes were left on the clock.
Columbia ended the night shooting 51 percent from the field and 44 percent from the three-point range. Cornell, on the other hand, missed 20 three-point attempts, including going 2-13 from behind the arc in the second half.
Despite the loss for Cornell, the Ivy opener did mark the return of its leading scorer, junior forward Jimmy Boeheim, who was out due to injury during the team’s previous two contests.
Boeheim certainly left his mark after his two-game departure; he scored 14 points and added four rebounds against Columbia, helping to carry the Red offensively alongside junior guard Terrance McBride, who scored 17 points and seven rebounds.
However, the effort from the junior duo was no match for Columbia and certainly not enough to give Cornell its first Ivy League victory of the decade. The Lions’ Forrest’s 23 points were particularly noteworthy, given that the match was just his third career start.
Columbia’s leading scorer, senior guard Mike Smith, also contributed 15 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals to bolster the Lions’ score. Junior guard Tai Bibbs chipped in with another 12 points toward Columbia’s victory.
Against the Lions, junior forward Riley Voss was given the chance to be in the Red’s starting lineup, but he went 0-6 from the field and ended the game with zero points. At various points throughout the season, Head Coach Brian Earl has tinkered with this fifth spot on the starting lineup.
Boeheim, McBride, senior forward Josh Warren and junior guard Bryan Knapp have been stalwarts in the starting five, but the final spot has been filled by various players, none of whom appear to be holding onto the position. Jordan Jones, Dean Noll and Thurston McCarty are all players who stepped into the fifth starting sport earlier in the year.
Earl has also elected to give freshmen Marcus Filien and Greg Dolan more playing time as the season has progressed. Each player scored two points against Columbia. As Cornell prepares for the heart of its Ivy League schedule, eyes will be on how Earl utilizes his bench and fifth starting spot.
Columbia will look to sweep the season series between the two New York rivals when the Lions make the return trip to Ithaca this Saturday at 4 p.m. Columbia has not swept Cornell since the 2015-16 season, with the two teams splitting each series since.