- Columbia team report-"The Lions had played four full weekends of league action, and they’d earned splits in three of them. They were swept in the fourth, and they’d also scored two wins against Cornell that came in two different weekends."
- Dartmouth team report-"Cornell conducted a clinic against the Dartmouth defense on Feb. 19. It went 16-for-29 from 3-point range, and it made the Big Green play every time Dartmouth’s defenders moved away from a shooter to help a teammate. The 96 points the Big Red scored marked the most Dartmouth has allowed all season."
- Penn team report-"vs. Cornell, Feb. 26 Key Matchups: Penn came back from 16 points down with less than eight minutes to play, but it ran out of gas in the overtime to drop an 82-71 decision when these two teams met earlier in February. The Quakers will look to do a better job of defending the Cornell backcourt. Chris Wroblewski, Max Groebe, Drew Ferry and Johnathan Gray combined for 61 of the 82 Cornell points."
- Princeton team report-"vs. Cornell, Feb. 25 Key Matchups: Princeton can’t take the Big Red lightly, especially since Cornell nearly won the first meeting between the teams, dropping a 57-55 decision on Feb. 11. The Tigers looked strong defensively in that one, holding Cornell to 39.2 percent from the field and 2-for-17 from 3-point range, but its own offense didn’t do much to speak of either. Kareem Maddox had 23 points, but nobody else finished in double figures."
The low point of Cornell’s season was probably the trip to Dartmouth on Jan. 28.
Playing a Big Green team that was winless in conference play, the Big Red looked as if it were going through the motions early, until it was behind by so many points that even a furious comeback attempt would fall short.
That remained Dartmouth’s only Ivy League win this season through President’s Day, but Cornell earned at least some measure of revenge with 96-76 home win over the Big Green on Feb. 19. Moreover, it was one of the few times this season that an observer could squint a bit and think that this squad was the same one that dominated the conference over the past three seasons, at least offensively.
Against a good defensive team, Cornell worked to get open 3-pointers and took full advantage when it got them. The Big Red went 16-for-29 from beyond the arc, tying its season high for made 3s and bringing the crowd to its feet with extended runs.
Cornell’s defense wasn’t as impressive. There have been plenty of nights this season when the Big Green looked like bad bets to score 75 points in an open gym, so allowing Dartmouth to shoot 54 percent from the field is a sign that the defensive intensity wasn’t quite there.
But the resulting slugfest made for a very entertaining game and a Cornell win, and during a season in which there hasn’t been much for the fans to cheer, at least Cornell gave the home crowd a show.
• Johnathan Gray had a double-double against Dartmouth, finishing with 10 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. That’s all the more impressive when considering he seemed to be the lone Big Red player who couldn’t hit an outside shot, going 0-for-4 from 3-point range.
• Cornell set a season high with its 96 points against Dartmouth. The Big Red shot 56.9 percent from the field, 55.2 percent from 3-point range and 70 percent from foul line.
By The Numbers: 16-for-29—Cornell’s performance from 3-point range against Dartmouth. That could have been even better had Johnathan Gray not gone cold: The guard went 0-for-4 from beyond the arc.
Quote To Note: “We’re trusting each other a lot more. Practices are going extremely well; we’re all playing extremely intense, and I think the level of intensity in practices is moving on to the games.”—G Johnathan Gray, to the Ithaca Journal, following the Feb. 19 victory over Dartmouth.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
This Week's Games:
• at Princeton, Feb. 25
Key Matchups: Cornell nearly scored the upset at home when these two teams met on Feb. 12, but it had no answer for Kareem Maddox. Maddox led all scorers with 23 points, making eight of his 10 shots from the floor and seven of his 10 free throws. He’s a tough matchup for Cornell because of his size and athleticism, but Cornell also has to be careful not to focus so much on him that it loses sight of the Tigers’ other weapons like Ian Hummer, Douglas Davis and Dan Mavraides.
• at Pennsylvania, Feb. 26
Key Matchups: The Big Red victimized the Quakers for its second win of the Ivy League season on Feb. 11, and it was mostly due to its backcourt. Chris Wroblewski had 21 points, Max Groebe 20 and Drew Ferry 11, but the Cornell frontcourt had a hard time getting anything going against the Penn big men. Errick Peck was held to three points in 19 minutes, while Mark Coury played an effective 24 minutes but took just three shots.
• Sophomore F Errick Peck set a career high with 22 points against Dartmouth. Twelve of those came in particularly impressive fashion, as he hit four 3-pointers in the first 4:05 of the second half.
• Freshman F Jake Matthews set a career high with 10 points in the victory over Dartmouth. He was perfect from 3-point range (1-for-1) and the free-throw line (3-for-3) along the way.