- Dartmouth team report-"Dartmouth earned a home split against Cornell and Columbia at the end of January, not a bad result for a squad that played just about half a game each time. The Big Green led by 17 at the half against the Big Red but had to hold off a late charge to win....Dartmouth had its best defensive half of the season in the victory over Cornell. The Big Red were held to just four baskets—all from 3-point range—before halftime. Cornell did not hit a 2-point shot until the second half."
- Harvard team report-"With three-time defending champion Cornell having dropped to 0-4 following a loss to the Crimson on Jan. 29, there will be a new champion this season, and these are the three leading contenders to take that crown... 17:4—Harvard’s assist-to-turnover ratio in its Jan. 30 victory over Cornell. The four turnovers marked the lowest total for the Crimson this season... 'They smacked us last year (on the road), and then we had a tough loss at home to them. We all came in here with a little extra juice and a little extra fire, and I think we executed pretty well.'-Sophomore forward Kyle Casey, to the Harvard Crimson, after the win over Cornell."
- Penn team report-Dartmouth "caught Cornell looking ahead to earn its first Ivy League win of the season, a cautionary tale for the Quakers."
- Yale team report-"The Big Red enter the week winless in the league, a big change from the squad that won the Ivy title three years in a row. Cornell, however, is one of the few Ivy League opponents with the size to match up against Greg Mangano underneath, so the paint should provide many of the storylines for this one."
February 1, 2011
A disappointing season for the three-time defending champions hit rock bottom on Jan. 28, when Cornell didn’t look ready to play against a Dartmouth team that it was expected to beat even on the road.
The Big Red had just 14 points at the half against the Big Green, and Cornell was down by 17 at the break and 28 in the second half. Though it finally mounted a comeback that was enough to make the final score respectable, the 64-57 defeat made the glory days of the Sweet 16 trip seem like a lot further back in history than last March.
The result had coach Bill Courtney as angry as he had been all season. He talked about the need for the team to do some soul-searching in the 20-plus hours before the team next took the court at Harvard. Given the lack of energy Cornell showed, it was reasonable to assume that the following night would be ugly.
But the Big Red looked better against Harvard, though it ultimately fell victim to a team that was eager for payback against a Cornell squad that had kept it from its dreams of the Ivy title over the past couple of seasons. Courtney said afterward that he was happier with how his team competed, if not the final result.
That’s an illustration of the hurdles the team faces this season, however. With most of the core of the title-winning teams gone, Cornell doesn’t have the talent of a contender. But because the team has dominated the conference lately, it remains the hunted, a team that its opponents will be extra motivated to defeat. That has helped keep it from sneaking up on anyone, and is one reason why the Big Red is all but eliminated from the race four games into the Ivy League season.
• Former Cornell coach Steve Donahue was in attendance for the team’s game against Harvard on Jan. 29. Current coach Bill Courtney had the Boston College boss speak to his team after the loss to the Crimson, trying to offer some encouragement after the squad dropped to 0-4 in league play.
• Sophomore F Errick Peck had 30 offensive rebounds over his last 11 games through Jan. 30, nearly three per contest. He began the season with just one offensive board in the squad’s first seven contests.
By The Numbers: 47-13—Cornell’s Ivy League record over the past five seasons through Jan. 30. Despite its 0-4 start to the current campaign, the Big Red still led second-place Pennsylvania by 12 games in that stretch.
Quote To Note: “We’ve got to do a lot of soul-searching as a group.” —Cornell coach Bill Courtney, to the Ithaca Journal, following his team’s Jan. 28 loss to Dartmouth.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
This Week's Games
• at Yale, Feb. 4
Key Matchups: Yale has dreams of taking over from Cornell as the Ivy champ, but is coming off a pair of road losses at Penn and Princeton. The Bulldogs have a tough crew to defend, with a top big man in Greg Mangano and a host of strong guards, but the Big Red might have success taking the ball at Mangano to try to get him into foul trouble. Mangano’s aggressiveness sometimes gets the better of him and results in quick whistles.
• at Brown, Feb. 5
Key Matchups: For three years, going to Providence has been a pit stop on Cornell’s road to the Ivy title. Now, it’s a simple quest to stay out of last. The Bears are rebuilding under Jesse Agel and aren’t a great team, but they have an exceptional young point guard, Sean McGonagill, who will be tough to contain.
• Sophomore F Errick Peck was slowed by flu-like symptoms in the games against Dartmouth and Harvard. But despite being limited to 17 minutes each night because of fatigue, he had 20 points against the Big Green and 15 against the Crimson.
• Junior G Drew Ferry was Cornell’s second-leading scorer on the season through Jan. 30, but he was mired in a shooting slump. He was 6-for-28 from the field and 4-for-22 from 3-point range over his past three games.