Ming DeMers/Sun Assistant Photography Editor

Junior guard Nazir Williams led the team in scoring with 15 points.

November 13, 2023

Men’s Basketball Survives Fordham’s Second Half Surge, Improves to 3-0

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On Saturday, Nov. 11, Cornell (3-0, 0-0 Ivy) faced Fordham (1-1, 0-0 Atlantic 10). After a dominant win over SUNY Morrisville, the Red looked to improve to three straight wins to start its season.

In the opening minutes of the game, however, it was the Rams that got off to a quick start. After Cornell turned the ball over twice in the first three minutes, Fordham knocked down back-to-back shots from behind the arc. With 15:56 left in the first half, the Rams led, 11-4.

Cornell did not take long to cut into this deficit, though. Sophomore guard AK Okereke rattled off five consecutive points, cutting Fordham’s lead to two. At 13:28 left in the half, senior forward Keller Boothby scored an easy layup to give Cornell a one-point lead.

This lead change was part of a 16-0 scoring run by the Red. The team was sharp on both sides of the ball during the stretch. Cornell converted seven of its 11 shots from the field. This included three-pointers from junior guard Nazir Williams, freshman Jake Fiegen and sophomore guard Cooper Noard.

On the defensive end, the Rams did not have an answer to Cornell’s full-court press defense, turning the ball over six times. By the end of the half, the Red forced 15 turnovers, leading to an extra 19 points for Cornell.

The Red went into halftime with a commanding 45-24 lead.

Early in the second half, senior guard Chirs Manon converted two three-point shots to help Cornell expand its lead. With 17:22 left in the half, Fordham faced a 27-point deficit.

At this point, the Red stopped trapping the Rams in the backcourt and slowed down its pace of play. Fordham simultaneously started playing full-court press, effectively changing the momentum of the game.

Fordham went on to score 11 unanswered points, quickly cutting the Red’s lead to 16. In the next seven minutes, Cornell scored just eight points, with Noard accounting for six of them.

With one minute left in the game, the Red led by just three points. On Cornell’s following possession, senior forward Sean Hansen got fouled and converted one of two free throws to extend the lead to four. Noard hit both of his shots from the charity stripes with eight seconds left to seal the win for Cornell.

Cornell defeated Fordham, 78-73, improving to 3-0 on the year.

The Red and the Rams both struggled with their free throws, shooting 63 and 56 percent, respectively.

Cornell will continue its season on Wednesday, Nov. 15, against George Mason University at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia.