- Brown team report-"...the Bears with a 2-6 record in Ivy play, just a game up on the Big Green and tied with Cornell for sixth place through Feb. 13."
- Dartmouth team report-"Dartmouth had broken the 60-point barrier just three times in Ivy League play through Feb. 13, but it enters its road trip to Columbia and Cornell having done so in back-to-back contests. It had 66 against Brown and 60 against Yale, and was in both games until late in the second half... Key Matchups: The Big Green’s lone Ivy League win through Feb. 13 came over the Big Red back in January, but Cornell has looked a lot better since that unexpected defeat. Even in that game, however, Dartmouth nearly blew a 28-point lead with 12:01 to play, so a key here will be to not lose focus. Especially the way Cornell is playing now, any lapses on the defensive end could lead to a game-changing run."
- Harvard team report-"at Cornell, Feb. 18-Key Matchups: Cornell struggled to start the Ivy League season, but it looked much better over the past couple of weeks. While that resurgence comes too late for the team’s hopes in 2010-11, it could wreak havoc with the Crimson’s title shot along the way. A key will be the performance of the Harvard frontcourt, which takes on a less heralded but still effective Cornell paint presence."
- Penn team report-"...the Quakers were literally a bounce of the ball or a referee’s call away from beating Harvard, Princeton and Cornell... Tyler Bernardini saw his stretch of strong offensive efforts evaporate in a hurry during the Cornell-Columbia weekend... Freshman G Miles Cartwright has had a season worthy of Rookie of the Year consideration, but his game against Cornell on Feb. 11 won’t make that highlight film. He struggled against the Big Red defense and finished with nine turnovers."
- Princeton team report-"Princeton began a four-game road trip with an impressive victory over Columbia and a nail-biter over three-time defending champion Cornell... It also was the first time Princeton swept the Columbia-Cornell road swing since 2004... One of the keys this season has been top reserve Kareem Maddox. Maddox doesn’t show up on the court for the tip, but he gets starters minutes and has been a threat on both ends of the court. His 23 points against Cornell accounted for more than 40 percent of Princeton’s total for the game. He also made the defensive play of the game, blocking a shot by Cornell center Mark Coury in the final seconds that would have tied the score. It shows the versatility that makes him a tough matchup for other Ivy League teams. He has enough range to score from the outside, but he can both score and defend in the paint as well...Princeton accomplished something special for its senior class in the 57-55 win at Cornell on Feb. 12. That marked the first time in four years the Tigers had won at Newman Arena in Ithaca, meaning that the fourth-year students have now won in every building in the conference."
- Yale team report-"It doesn’t happen often, but three-loss teams sometimes do win the Ivy League title. Cornell did so just two years ago, as an 11-3 league mark was enough to give the Big Red the Ivy crown.And though Yale enters the final three weeks of the season with a 5-3 record, three games behind Princeton and two behind Harvard, the Bulldogs are not counting themselves out. Not by a long shot."
February 15, 2011
It happened too late to give the Big Red any chance at continuing its run of three consecutive Ivy League titles, or to make any postseason tournament at all. But Cornell found its rhythm in time to have an impact in the Ivy League race nonetheless.
The Big Red knocked off Penn on Feb. 11, then nearly upset league-leading Princeton the following night. Though the results left Cornell at 2-6 in the conference, they were a sign that teams can’t take the defending champions lightly.
One key has been the Big Red’s ability to dictate the pace of play. That was entirely absent for the first half of the season, but against two of the most talented teams in the league, Cornell more than held its own.
Against the Tigers, one of the most disciplined teams in the conference, Cornell forced a much faster pace than Princeton was comfortable with. The Big Red hounded Princeton into 18 turnovers, and it likely would have won had it not had a brutal day shooting the basketball.
Cornell is beyond moral victories as a program, and a 6-16 record isn’t going to cut it in the long term. Though the core of the roster is young, everyone has either experienced success firsthand on the court or was recruited to sustain it.
The Feb. 11-12 weekend was the first time all season that the 2010-11 edition of the Big Red showed that kind of potential, and if nothing else, it was a positive sign of what’s to come down the road.
• Cornell has struggled from 3-point range this season, a marked departure in an area that was a core strength of the Big Red squads from the previous three seasons. The team went just 3-for-17 from beyond the arc against Princeton, which was too much for even the strongest on-the-ball defensive effort of the season to overcome.
• The Big Red credits its new starting lineup as a factor in its recent success. Bill Courtney was going with a starting five of Chris Wroblewski, Errick Peck, Jake Matthews, Josh Figini and Miles Asafo-Adjei at the tip, then replacing the latter three at around the 16-minute mark. That has given the team more energy at the start of games, and it also caused the Red Storm to have one of the best benches in the conference.
By The Numbers: 1—Times all season, through Feb. 13, that Princeton had been held to fewer than 60 points. Cornell accomplished that feat Feb. 12, but the Big Red still suffered a 57-55 defeat.
Quote To Note: “There’s something we can build on even from this loss. We played a game against the best team in the league when we didn’t hit shots, and we’re still right there with a chance to win it. I’m very proud of my kids tonight.”—Cornell coach Bill Courtney, to the Ithaca Journal, after his team’s narrow loss to Princeton.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
This Week's Games:
• vs. Harvard, Feb. 18
Key Matchups: The Crimson embarrassed the Big Red when these teams first met, earning a 21-point victory on Jan. 29. There’s nothing Cornell would like better than to return the favor and hand its Ivy rival a critical blow to its title hopes.
• vs. Dartmouth, Feb. 19
Key Matchups: This pits the Big Red against the squad it faced at its low point of the season, when it sleepwalked most of the game and turned on the jets too late in handing Dartmouth its first (and through Feb. 13, only) Ivy League win of the season. Giving up 64 points to a team that would struggle to score that many in an empty gym was particularly mortifying, and the Big Red will need to do much better on that end of the court this time around.
• Senior C Aaron Osgood missed his fourth game in a row over the Princeton-Penn weekend. He suffered a knee injury in practice, and his return date was unknown.
• Junior G Chris Wroblewski was named to the Ivy League Honor Roll for his performances against Princeton and Penn. He averaged 17.5 points and 4 assists during that two-game stretch, including a 21-point effort against Penn.