This past week, the Red (13-8, 5-5 Ivy) continued to hold its fourth place position in the Ivy League with a win against Columbia (4-18, 1-9 Ivy) and a buzzer-beater loss to Brown (12-13, 4-6 Ivy). With only four games left in the season, the Red have a one game lead over Brown, who they will challenge for the final spot in the Ivy Playoffs.
On Wednesday, the Red hosted the Columbia Lions and got off to a blazing hot start, leading by 16 points after only eight minutes of play and finding themselves up by 18 just five minutes later. The 65 percent field goal percentage and the 55 percent three point percentage helped the Red score 50 points in the first half, but the Lions did not give up.
“I think it’s important, with the pace that we play with, to build momentum,” said Head Coach Brian Earl. “We were able to start attacking early, giving us a cushion. Columbia was able to hang with us down the stretch and played a really good game against our style of play. They were short handed, so we have some stuff we need to build on. It’s very important for us to set the pace early.”
In the second half, Columbia began to fight and was able to shorten the Red’s lead to four points on two separate occasions. Nevertheless, good defense, solid shooting and grit helped Cornell seal the victory at the end.
Senior guard Dean Noll led the Red with 23 points in the 88-75 win, adding five rebounds and two steals to his totals. He was joined by sophomore forward Keller Boothby, who added 17 points off the bench.
On Saturday, the Red hosted the Brown Bears in arguably the craziest game of the season, a bold statement considering how tumultuous the Red’s games have been all year. In a game with sixteen lead changes, the Red 81-10.
Just two weeks ago, the Red toppled Brown in Providence by way of a heroic putback layup at the buzzer. Last weekend, Brown won the game with a go-ahead putback dunk with three seconds left, though the Red nearly completed their comeback after being down eight points at halftime.
“I think that even with our inexperience, we have to know that every team is going to fight it out with us –– and Brown is one of the tougher teams that we play,” Earl said. “Having gone up big in our last game and almost losing it, knowing that a team like that isn’t going to lay down is important for guys who haven’t seen what this league is all about. My hope is that we learn by winning these games instead of losing them, but like I said, most teams are going to fight to the end.”
Sophomore guard Chris Manon led the team with 17 points and seven rebounds with support from senior forward Kobe Dickson, who scored 14 on perfect shooting, sophomore guard Jordan Jones, who tallied 13 points and five assists and Noll, who added six assists.
The Red will look forward to closing its Ivy campaign on a strong note, but Earl stated it will take each game one step at a time.
“We have to recover from a tough loss,” Earl said. “This league is probably the most competitive in the country, so we aren’t even looking towards the next four. We’re just looking at the next game and that’s the way it’s always got to be. So we’ll keep going that way, living moment to moment rather than looking at the big picture.”
The Red will hit the road this weekend to face Dartmouth and Harvard at 7:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, respectively.