Men’s basketball pulled off arguably the biggest upset in the Ivy League this season, taking down Ivy unbeaten Princeton 73-62 at Newman Arena on Saturday afternoon. The unlikely victory came after a winless weekend at Brown and Yale.
After the game was postponed from Friday night due to inclement weather in Ithaca, the Red showed no signs of rust despite the change in schedule.
The home team got out to a quick 11-2 lead, and the Red never looked back, pulling off a wire-to-wire victory against one of the best teams in the league.
Cornell was led by forwards senior Josh Warren and junior Jimmy Boeheim. Boeheim led all scorers with 24 points, while Warren added 18 points and 10 rebounds. Additionally, junior guard Terrance McBride contributed 14 points and five assists.
“I’ve obviously been working on my shooting all season long, and earlier in the year they weren’t really falling,” Warren said. “But it was important for our team tonight for me to shoot some outside shots, in order to spread out the floor.”
Cornell led by as many as 18 points during the game, with the Red aided by an 11-0 run which spanned both halves.
As of late, Cornell has been shooting the ball better from the field than it had at the beginning of the season. This streak continued against Princeton, as Cornell shot 49 percent from the field, and went 39 percent from three.
While the Red’s shooting has begun to come around, the team has played superior defense throughout the year.
Cornell forced 16 turnovers and held the Tigers to just 43 percent shooting from the field and 30 percent from beyond the arc.
Junior guard Bryan Knapp — tasked with defending the other team’s best player each game — did his part to contribute to the Red’s success, only allowing Princeton point guard Jaelin Llewellyn to make five of his 15 shots.
“Knapp is one of the best defenders you will find, and he really takes it upon himself to guard a man,” said head coach Brian Earl. “And he did a pretty good job of that tonight.”
Despite his relatively poor shooting night, Llewellyn led the Tigers with 13 points. Center Richmond Aririguzoh and guard Ethan Wright chipped in with 10 points apiece. But the Tigers seemed out of rhythm the entire game, and their effort could not match the Red’s intensity on Saturday afternoon.
Princeton made the game interesting late with an 8-0 run to cut the Cornell lead to just six points with 2:36 remaining. However, Cornell made its free throws down the stretch to hold off the late push from the visitors.
“It was good to get a win, and I was proud of our team’s ability to finish out the game as they should,” Earl said. “It shows how much progress our team has made since the beginning of the season; Princeton is a really good team, so this finish and result was big for us.”
The game marked the first loss for Princeton in its last six contests. The Tigers had not dropped a matchup since its December 19 meeting with Hofstra.
Cornell will look to sweep the weekend when it hosts Penn on Sunday at 2 p.m. The Quakers downed Columbia on Saturday, 76-67.
“Penn has a really good team this year, so we are going to try to bring the same energy that we did tonight,” Boeheim said. “If we do that and execute well, I think that we will have a great chance to come away with another win.”