- Columbia team report-"Columbia’s life of living dangerously paid off in its Ivy League opener, as the Lions managed to hold off a furious comeback bid by Cornell to earn a 79-75 victory over its travel partner...Against Cornell, Columbia also won a test of strength against a team that is its opposite in a lot of ways, and it now faces the challenging task of repeating that feat in the rematch. Columbia is one of the biggest teams in the Ivy League, if not the biggest. It will depend on strong performances on the glass to keep the rest of the league from getting multiple chances at the basket, and it blasted Cornell on the boards 40-30. Cornell only had 12 defensive rebounds all game, which helped Columbia break out to its early lead. The Lions are also one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country, and they went 7-for-17 (41.2 percent) against Cornell. But the Big Red also have a lot of shooters, and the Lions have had problems all season defending opponents from beyond the arc. The Big Red went 1-for-11 from long range in the first half, helping Columbia break out to a 14-point lead. The second half was a different story, as Cornell went 7-for-10 from long range … and shot itself right back in the game. That led to another close win for the Lions. Exciting though Columbia has been this season, it will need to defend the 3-point arc for longer than one 20-minute stretch to topple the elite teams in the Ivy League... Columbia’s victory in its Ivy League opener was particularly sweet because of the Lions’ lack of success against the Big Red in recent years. The 79-75 victory broke a 10-game losing streak against Cornell...Columbia was prepared for Cornell G Chris Wroblewski, holding the Big Red star to 0-for-10 shooting from the field in the first half during the teams’ first meeting. The Lions were less effective at slowing down Drew Ferry, who torched them in the second half and nearly was enough to stage a one-man comeback. Now that the Lions have seen him up close and personal, perhaps he won’t find it so easy to find the basket. However, Columbia may not find it so easy to win a close game in the hostile confines of Newman Arena."
- Harvard team report-"Another run to the Sweet 16 is a longshot for anyone in the Ivy League, so it will be tough to match what Cornell did a year ago. But one thing is for sure—if Harvard is the Ivy League representative, it won’t be intimidated by its opponent."
January 18, 2011
It’s a new era in the Ivy League, one in which the Big Red will have to come from behind if it hopes to win its fourth Ivy League title in a row.
And the opening loss to Columbia illustrated exactly how little margin for error Cornell has in 2010-11.
The Big Red gave up a 20-5 run to the Lions to end the first half, in part because it stopped attacking the basket. Mark Coury and Adam Wire, as well as top reserve Aaron Osgood, were all on the bench with two fouls. In their absence, Cornell had just four points in the paint over the final 9:20 of the opening half.
Coach Bill Courtney said after the game that the decision to bench the frontcourt players with two fouls was situational. However, a side effect was that changes destroyed the ability of the team to score inside against the Lions.
In fairness, that was not just because of the lack of big men on the court. The guards also settled for jump shots, a passive attack that hurt the team on the boards and didn’t allow for many put-back opportunities. It dug Cornell a hole that it could not work its way out of.
The Big Red came close. Several possessions saw Cornell have a chance to tie the game late, with the final one being Chris Wroblewski’s 3-point attempt that was just a little bit long with 13 seconds to play. But unlike a year ago, when the Big Red had so many scoring threats that extended droughts were rare, points have been harder to come by this year. And the record reflects that.
• Junior G Andrew Ferry nearly brought the Big Red back by himself against Columbia. He finished with a team-high 23 points and made seven of his eight shots in the second half. Six of the second-half baskets were 3-pointers.
• In the second half against Columbia, the Cornell guards led the comeback by shooting 12-for-15. That helped make up for a struggling frontcourt that battled foul trouble all night and shot just 2-for-8 after intermission.
By The Numbers: 9—Games in which a Cornell guard had scored 15 or more points and his team had still lost, through Jan. 16. The latest came in the Ivy League opener, when Andrew Ferry’s 23 points weren’t enough for the Big Red to complete its comeback against Columbia.
Quote To Note: “Sometimes when our shots don’t fall, that kind of gets into our heads. We can’t think so much. We just have to play like we know how to play.”—Junior guard Andrew Ferry, to the Ithaca Journal.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
This Week's Game:
• vs. Columbia, Jan. 15
Key Matchups: The big task for the Big Red if the team hopes to split its season series with the Lions is to do better on the boards. Cornell had just 11 defensive boards against the Lions, and its big men spent most of the game battling foul trouble as well as the opposition. Cornell presumably will shoot better in his home gym, but unless it can grab a rebound every now and then, the team will find it tough to win.
• Senior G Max Groebe returned to the court for the Ivy League opener after missing three games with a concussion suffered Dec. 29 against New Hampshire. He wound up playing six minutes against Columbia, with one assist.
• Junior G Chris Wroblewski had a brutal first half against Columbia, missing all 10 of his shots. All of his 14 points came after intermission.