Friday, February 11, 2011

Another Penn-Princeton Weekend

Get all the information you need about the Big Red's games this weekend in Ithaca vs. Penn (2/11/11) and Princeton (2/12/11) with The Cornell Basketball Blog's Game Preview Center. Above and below, covers of several issues of the Cornell Daily Sun during the 1953-1954 season, the final year of the Eastern Intercollegiate Basketball League.

With the Big Red having last won a league title in 1924, during '53-'54, Cornell desperately wanted to end its three decade championship drought. On February 6 and 7, Penn and Princeton both marched up to Ithaca handing the Big Red a pair of crushing defeats in Barton Hall, Penn blowing out Cornell 61-46 on Friday night followed by a Princeton 71-68 win on Saturday.

Cornell would then come together and roll, winning its next six conference games, including a 57-56 overtime revenge win over Penn in the Palestra on March 6, 1954. A Big Red win at Princeton on March 8 would secure a league title for Cornell and a bid to the NCAA Tournament. But the Tigers would not go quietly, snagging a 48-44 win in Dillon Gym forcing a 1-game playoff for the league bid to the Tournament. Cornell finished the regular season 11-3 in EIBL play.

On March 9, 1954, on the neutral floor of the Palestra, Cornell captured a thrilling 56-54 win over Princeton catapulting Cornell into the tournament with the program first league title in 30 years.

Above, legendary sports writer and Cornell alum, the late Dick Schaap, profiles the Ivy League's formation for basketball commencing with the 1954-1955 season. Cornell was the last EIBL champion before the conference transformed into the Ivy League.

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