Boris Tsang / Sun Photography Editor

Junior guard Terrance McBride scored 35 points across two games over the weekend.

March 1, 2020

Home Sweep Dashes Men’s Basketball’s Ivy Tournament Dreams

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Men’s basketball closed out its home slate with defeat at the hands of New England Ivies Dartmouth and Harvard. The Green defeated the Red 82-70 on Friday, while the Crimson beat Cornell 67-58 on Saturday.

The pair of losses over the weekend officially eliminated the Red from Ivy League Tournament contention, as it is now mathematically impossible for Cornell’s record to break the top four in the conference.

On Friday night, Dartmouth senior Ian Sistare guided the Green, leading the team with a career-high 25 points. He went 8-10 from the field and made six three-pointers.

“We didn’t play any defense against Dartmouth, and they made a lot of shots,” said head coach Brian Earl. “They played a really good game, and Sistare, in particular, who had not shot the ball that well coming into this game, was great.

“They do what they do, and they did it against us,” he continued.

Sistare was aided by Dartmouth junior Aaryn Rai, who ended with 18 points, while junior Chris Knight finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

“It is really hard to defend a team with so many scoring options,” said junior guard Bryan Knapp. “The whole team has to be really involved, and we have to know the other team’s strengths and weaknesses very well.”

With star junior forward Jimmy Boeheim out for both games on the weekend with an ankle injury, Cornell relied on the scoring capabilities of junior guards Terrance McBride and Knapp. McBride scored 20 points against the Green, while Knapp posted a career-high 17 points on Friday night.

However, the scoring outbursts from the two guards were not enough to lift the Red over the Green in its 82-70 defeat.

The following night, Cornell was not able to salvage a split against its two Ivy foes.

While neither Harvard nor Cornell shot the ball particularly well from the field — both squads were under 40 percent from the field — Crimson’s free-throw shooting proved to be the difference-maker in the game

“We were able to turn them over 19 times, and our team fought really hard tonight,” Earl said. “Harvard is just a big group of athletic guys, and our guys played hard, but they are just a tough team to face.”

The visitors shot 26-33 from the free throw line as the Red committed 27 fouls. Three members of Cornell fouled out of the game, with Knapp himself picking up four fouls.

But the Red went just 10-15 from the charity stripe and shot 26 percent from three-point range.

Saturday night, McBride had the game-high 15 points, while Knapp was the only other Cornell player scoring in double figures with 10 points. Harvard was led by senior forward Robert Baker’s 12 points.

The game against Harvard marked Cornell’s final home game of the season, honoring seniors Josh Warren, Noah Gear and Thurston McCarty prior to the contest.

Cornell will wrap up its season on the road at Penn on Friday night and at Princeton on Saturday night. Earlier this year, the Red defeated the Tigers at home, but couldn’t solve the Quakers.

Cornell will look to right the ship this weekend — as the Red has lost five out of its last six games and is 0-13 on the road this season.

“We are looking to get two wins in a row this upcoming weekend,” McBride said. “We haven’t won a game on the road yet this season, so I think it would be big for the guys coming back next year to get some wins on the road and end on a high note going into next year.”

This year marks the first time since the 2016-17 season that the Red will not be participating in any postseason. Last year, Cornell lost to Robert Morris in the first round of the Postseason Tournament, and the prior season, the Red lost to Harvard in the semifinals of the Ivy League Tournament.