Aaron Snyder/Sun Sports Editor

Sophomore guard Nazir Williams led the Red in scoring against Yale and Harvard.

January 23, 2023

Men’s Basketball Has Strong Start to Conference Play

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With conference play in full swing, Cornell has gotten off to a red-hot start. To begin the new year, the Red (14-5, 4-2 Ivy) defeated Dartmouth in Hanover and took down Penn in a 19-point victory. After suffering a close loss to Princeton, the team faced Yale on Friday, Jan. 13.

The Bulldogs (13-6, 3-3 Ivy) had a rocky start to kick off its conference schedule, losing two of its first three games. 

After a few minutes of play, Cornell established a 7-4 lead. However, this burst was followed by a four-minute scoring drought. The team found itself down seven early in the second half.

The Red trailed for the rest of the half, but they went on a run in the final minutes to cut the lead to six by halftime. There was a noticeable shift in momentum when Matt Knowling was assessed a technical foul with 3:46 remaining — at that point, the Red was down by 10.

The Red’s bench players stepped up to keep the game close. At halftime, 19 of Cornell’s 43 points had come from the bench. Senior forward Marcus Filien, who is generally known for his defensive prowess, shot well in the first half, going three of three from deep.

The first eight minutes of the second half did not look good for the Red. The Bulldogs started the half on a 19-10 run, stretching its lead to 15. Soon after, junior forward Keller Boothby and freshman guard Josh Baldwin knocked down clutch three point shots, quickly cutting into Yale’s lead. 

After this, Cornell made five consecutive field goals and forced several turnovers on the defensive end. The Red took its first lead since early in the first half, and did not relinquish it for the rest of the game.

A huge factor for this win was the team’s ability to get to the free throw line. The Red had 34 free throw attempts, converting on 31 of them.

Cornell ended the game on a 41-14 streak, winning by a final score of 94-82. Sophomore guard Nazir Williams led the team in scoring with 27 points, five rebounds, five assists and a steal.

The Red Handled Columbia, Winning by 20

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Red faced off against Columbia (6-15, 1-5 Ivy). In the opening minutes of the game, the two teams seemed to be evenly matched. With 13:42 left in the half, the score was knotted up at 11. Cornell held the Lions scoreless for the next three minutes, building its lead to 25-11. 

This run was in large part due to Cornell’s three point shooting. The Red is second in the nation in three point attempts per game and leads the country in made three pointers per game. When these deep shots start to fall, Cornell is a tough team to beat.

With six minutes left in the first half, the Red stretched its lead to 17 points. Cornell was unable to keep this momentum to close out the half, making only one field goal. With a dramatic buzzer beater three-point shot for the Lions, Cornell went to the locker room with only a slight lead, 42-38.

Once again, it was the long ball that reignited the Red’s offense. Junior forward Sean Hansen and Boothby each connected to start the second half, quickly extending the lead to double digits. This lead did not go below eight points for the rest of the game, and the Red won convincingly, 102-82.

Boothby finished with a notable performance, with 11 points and two rebounds, while going three of five from deep. Last season, he made 48.8 percent of his three-point attempts, one of the highest clips in the nation. Going into this game, this figure was at 32.7 percent. His performance against the Lions was a welcome sight for Cornell.

The bench was yet again a big part of Cornell’s high scoring afternoon. Out of its 102 points, only 50 came from the starters. In this game, no player attempted more than seven field goals, and six players scored at least 10 points.

Cornell Came up Short Against Harvard

On Saturday, Jan. 21, Cornell played Harvard (12-8, 3-3 Ivy) at Lavietes Pavilion.

After back-to-back wins, the Red was not able to overcome the Crimson, falling 95-89.

Williams was the lead scorer for the Red with 23 points, hitting five of seven from behind the arc.

The team also racked up 20 assists during the course of the game. Cornell averages 19.6 assists per game, the second highest mark in the country.

The team continues its season on Saturday, Jan. 28, when it hosts Brown at Newman Arena.