Jason Wu/Sun Staff Photographer

Men's basketball upset Princeton, a team that made a run in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, in dominating fashion on Saturday.

January 28, 2024

Men’s Basketball Dominates Princeton 83-68, Remains Undefeated in Conference Play

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On Saturday, Jan. 27, Cornell (15-3, 4-0 Ivy) defeated Princeton (15-2, 3-1 Ivy) 83-68, extending its current win streak to five. Coming into the game, the Tigers owned the highest winning percentage — .938 — in Division I basketball. In recent years, the Red has struggled to defeat Princeton, falling short in four of its five previous contests against the Tigers. 

After senior guard Matt Allocco scored the first points of the game for the Tigers, senior forward Sean Hansen put the Red on the board, converting his signature baby hook shot. The first 10 minutes of the game saw four ties and four lead changes. The Red struggled offensively during this stretch, scoring just 15 points.

With 10:29 left in the first half, Cornell trailed Princeton 17-13. A layup from senior guard Chris Manon and a three-pointer from senior forward Keller Boothby over the following minute of play put Cornell back in the lead, 18-17. This was the start of 10 unanswered Cornell points, and the Red went on to hold its lead for the remainder of the game.

Cornell finished the half on an impressive 30-7 run and headed to the locker room with a commanding 43-24 lead. 

Dominance from behind the three-point line proved to be a key in Cornell’s success late in the first half. After missing its first six attempts from behind the arc, the Red converted six of its next 10 to close out the half. The Red converted 36 percent of its three-point attempts by the end of the game. The Tigers — on the other hand — went cold from deep, knocking down just five of its 27 attempts throughout the game. 

Due to Cornell’s fast-paced play style, one consistent issue for the Red is turning over the ball too often. The Red has been better of late in this stat category. After averaging 15 turnovers in its first 11 games, the team has averaged just under 11 turnovers per game in its last seven contests.

In the opening minutes of the second half, Cornell extended its lead to 21 points. The Tigers would not go out without a fight, though. Once Princeton switched to a full-court press, a couple of turnovers by the Red helped the Tigers claw its way back into the game. With 7:16 left in the game, Cornell’s lead dwindled down to 11.

Hansen played a big role in thwarting Princeton’s momentum, knocking down two layups and assisting a third one to give the Red a little breathing room. Hansen finished the game with 12 points, four rebounds, five assists and a steal.

It was all Cornell from there, as the Red would go on to win the game, 83-68. Cornell has now won its first four in-conference games, putting the team in a tie for first in the Ivy League with Yale. The 15-point difference was Princeton’s largest margin of defeat this season. 

Junior guard Nazir Williams was Cornell’s top performer of the game, finishing with 20 points, eight rebounds, two assists and a steal. Williams was extremely efficient with his scoring, shooting eight for 11 from the field and knocking down all four of his attempts from behind the arc.

Manon also had an impressive outing, ending with a stat line of 16 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks, leading the team in the latter four categories.

The referees did not do the Red any favors in the game, awarding 33 free throw attempts to the Tigers compared to Cornell’s nine. Despite the discrepancy, the Red took down a Princeton team that was ranked 32nd in the AP Top 25 Men’s College Basketball Poll.

Men’s Basketball will continue its season on Friday, Feb. 2 against Dartmouth at Leede Arena in Hanover, New Hampshire. This game starts at 7 p.m. and can be streamed live on ESPN+.