February 29, 2008
Photo Gallery (Photos by Patrick Shanahan)
ITHACA, N.Y. -- The Cornell men's basketball team clinched a share of the Ivy League title with a dominating second-half effort in a 75-59 victory over Dartmouth on Friday evening at Newman Arena. The win improved the home team to 19-5 (11-0 Ivy), while the Big Green slipped to 9-16 (3-8 Ivy). The championship is the first since the 1987-88 season and just the fifth league title of any kind in program history. Cornell can become the first team in the nation to earn an automatic bid to the 2007-08 NCAA men’s basketball tournament with a victorytomorrow night against Harvard, or a Brown loss to Penn.
Sophomore Louis Dale had 22 points, 11 rebounds and six assists to lead the home team, while Ryan Wittman added 14 points, including 10 after halftime. Junior Jeff Foote had 11 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots while blocking up the middle in the win. Cornell held a decisive 48-28 edge on the backboards and shot 66 percent from the floor in the second half to pick up the victory. Adam Gore chipped in with eight points and three assists, while Geoff Reeves had seven points and three rebounds.
Dartmouth was led by Elgin Fitzgerald's 15 points, while DeVon Mosley chipped in with 11 points. The Cornell defense held the Big Green to 39 percent shooting in remaining unbeaten in Ivy play. Team leading scorer Alex Barnett, who missed the first game between the two teams, was held to seven points on 3-of-14 shooting, but added seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.
The Big Green kept the game close through much of the first half, but a follow-up jumper by Dale at the halftime buzzer sent the home team into the break with a 32-27 lead. Cornell lead 19-9 11 minutes into the game after an 8-0 spurt was triggered by a Foote half-hook off glass followed by 3-pointers by Reeves and Gore. A pair of turnovers and a rare missed free throw by Wittman turned into five quick points to push it to 19-14, then a missed front end of a one-and-one quickly turned into an Elgin Fitzgerald basket. Feeling the turning momentum, Gore cashed in on a great pump fake, drawing a foul on a 3-point attempt and canning all three efforts from the charity stripe, part of a 5-of-12 day from the line by the team that entered the contest leading the country in free-throw percentage. Dartmouth cut it to three, but Dale hit a 16-footer after rebounding a Wittman missed trey to send the home team to the locker room with momentum.
Dale led the way for the Big Red at halftime with nine points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal in 14 minutes of action. Foote added four points, six rebounds and two blocked shots to the cause. Elgin Fitzgerald led the tally sheet for the Big Green with 11 points and four rebounds, while Barnett had all seven of his points in the first 20 minutes.
It got much better after halftime for the 4,227 fans in attendance, as the Big Red opened the half on a 23-7 run that knocked the wind out of Dartmouth’s sails, turning a meager five-point lead into a 21-point bulge over the first eight minutes. A pair of thunderous dunks by Foote, including the second on an alley-oop pass from Wittman, whipped the crowd into a frenzy. The lead grew to as many as 25 before the visitors went on a late 10-2 run for the final advantage.
With the victory, Cornell improved several streaks, including winning uts win streak to 13 games, the longest by the Big Red in 43 years. The 13-game win streak remains the second-longest in the country behind only Davidson (18 games). The 11-0 record in conference play is the team's best since that same 1964-65 squad also opened with that mark.
Cornell goes for its first NCAA tournament bid in 20 years tomorrow when it meets Harvard at 7 p.m. at Newman Arena.
ITHACA, N.Y. (AP)—Louis Dale scored 22 points and had 11 rebounds and Ryan Wittman added 14 points as Cornell beat Dartmouth 75-59 Friday to clinch a share of the Ivy League title for the first time since 1988.
Brown’s 64-57 win over Princeton means Cornell (19-5, 11-0 Ivy) must wait a day to try for the Ivy League crown with a win over Harvard on Saturday.
Since Cornell’s 1988 championship season, only Penn and Princeton have won the league title. It’s the first time Cornell has had 11 league wins since the 1964-65 season and now has a 13-game winning streak, second-longest in the nation to Davidson’s 17-game streak.
Elgin Fitzgerald led Dartmouth (9-16, 2-9) with 15 points and DeVon Mosley added nine. Cornell held Dartmouth’s leading scorer Alex Barnett to just seven points.
Cornell’s Jeff Foote scored 11 points and pulled down 10 rebounds as the Big Red dominated the Big Green on the boards 48-28.
Leading 32-27 at halftime, Cornell built a 23-point lead on a 25-5 run in the second half. Foote, Cornell’s 7-foot center, had two slam dunks to start the run five minutes into the half and Dale hit two 3-pointers the next two Cornell possessions.
March 1, 2008
One of two Division I teams to be undefeated in league play along with Memphis, the Big Red routed Dartmouth, 75-59, to claim a share of their first Ivy League title in 20 years.
Cornell (19-5, 11-0 Ivy) was denied sole possession of the conference crown when second-place Brown (16-9, 8-3) defeated Princeton on Friday night.
That victory may have just delayed the coronation 24 hours for Cornell, which can wrap up its first Ivy championship since the 1987-88 season by beating Harvard at home on Saturday night.
The Big Red, who swept the season series with Brown following a 74-65 road win last Saturday, also would be the first team to seal a berth in the NCAA Tournament with either a victory or a loss by the Bears.
The Ivy League is the only Division I conference that does not have a postseason tournament, so the regular-season champion earns one of the 31 automatic berths in the 65-team field.
Cornell last appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 1988. Prior to that, the only other time it played in the "Big Dance" was 1954.
The Big Red, who have won their last 13 games, are the last team other than Princeton or Pennsylvania to represent the Ivy League in the NCAAs.
The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee will make 34 at-large selections to complete the field of 65, which will be announced on March 16.
His sly, one-handed dish to Foote on the break resulted in an emphatic two-handed slam, sending the crowd of 4,224 into a frenzy as Cornell's lead surged well into double digits. “They always say you've got to reward the big man when he runs the floor,” said Dale, who finished with just two turnovers.
Second-place Brown beat Princeton, 64-57, on Friday to keep its slim title hopes alive. Cornell (19-5, 11-0 Ivy League), whose winning streak reached 13, can capture the title outright tonight with a win over Harvard (8-19, 3-8), or by beating either Penn or Princeton next weekend — or if Brown loses another game. That would give the Red the title, regardless of what Cornell does.
A title for Cornell would end Penn and Princeton's 20-year reign of league championships.
“I didn't know that. Is that true?” Cornell coach Steve Donahue joked in the post-game press conference. “It's obviously something that keeps creeping in my mind. I try to put it back away and just let the routine of the day take place.”
Cornell, which entered the game ranked in the top 10 nationally in field-goal shooting, 3-point shooting and free-throw shooting, did none of those things well in Friday's first half. The hosts shot 42 percent and missed nine of 11 from beyond the arc. While Cornell struggled, Dartmouth (9-16, 2-9) kept things close behind 11 points from forward Elgin Fitzgerald.
But Dale livened things up at the first-half buzzer, picking up a loose ball and draining a desperation heave from inside the arc to send Cornell into the locker room with a 32-27 lead.
“That follow-up was a big play,” Donahue said.
Dale then opened the second half with a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Wittman (14 points) followed suit with three quick buckets, doubling Cornell's lead.
That's when Foote changed the game.
After his first dunk forced Dartmouth coach Terry Dunn into a timeout, the junior center — who nearly missed the game with a bacterial infection — provided a worthy encore.
Wittman chased down a defensive rebound and pushed the ball up the right wing. On the opposite side, Foote streaked toward the basket, leapt and finished off Wittman's alley-oop pass for a resounding dunk. He finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. That bucket exemplified Cornell's offensive execution in the second half, which featured 65.5 percent shooting by the hosts.
“Anytime you have a seven-footer that can run the floor as he can, as he does, it adds to your offense, particularly transition,” Dunn said. “It puts a lot of pressure on your big guy.”
Said Donahue: “We see that all the time in practice. He's always the first guy sprinting down the floor.”
Wittman's defense helped hold Dartmouth leading scorer Alex Barnett to seven points on 3-of-14 shooting.
That kind of defensive effort will be needed again at 7 tonight against a high-scoring Harvard team that Cornell stunned in the final seconds, 72-71, two weeks ago. Harvard is 0-14 on the road this year.
“I just can't allow myself or my team to go that way,” Donahue said. “We've got such a hard game (today).”
Cornell's Jeff Foote high fives the crowd after Cornell beat Dartmouth 75-59 Friday at Newman Arena.DartmouthSports.com
ITHACA, N.Y. – Dartmouth men’s basketball fell 75-59 to the Cornell on Friday, Feb. 29, when it took on the Big Red in Newman Arena.
Sophomore Elgin Fitzgerald (Colorado Springs, Colo.) put a team-high 15 points on the board for the Big Green with one assist. Junior Alex Barnett (St. Louis, Mo.) pulled down a game-high seven rebounds, followed by Fitzgerald and captain Johnathan Ball (Memphis, Tenn.)) with four apiece.
Defense ruled as the game began. Although the Big Green did not score until nearly two minutes in, Cornell had even more difficulty sinking its first shot. At 15:57 left to play, the score was still just 4-4.
From then on, Cornell was able to stay ahead of Dartmouth for most of the first half, but the Big Green was never far behind.
Although a trey from Ronnie Dixon (Danville, Ill.) tied the game up at 26 with 2:25 left to play, the Big Red was able to pull ahead again. Still, it was still anyone’s game, as the Big Green trailed by just five going into halftime, 32-27.
Cornell came out strong in the second half, however, quickly driving up the score. By 9:25 left to play, the Big Red had built up a 21-point margin, 62-41. Although Dartmouth was able to close the margin slightly, at the final buzzer, Cornell had won 75-59.
The Big Green travels to New York tomorrow to take on the Columbia Lions at 7:00 pm.