- Brown team report-"at Cornell, March 4 Key Matchups: Look for a rousing chorus of “Watch the shooter!” coming from the Bears bench when these teams tip off in Ithaca. When they first met on Feb. 5, the Big Red earned a 91-79 win by making 16 of its 34 3-point attempts."
- Dartmouth team report-"By The Numbers: 9—Dartmouth’s losing streak heading into the season’s final weekend. The Big Green went 0-for-February, and it hadn’t won since it knocked off Cornell 64-57 on Jan. 28."
- Penn team report-"...Both games against Cornell, for example, saw the Quakers come back from double-digit deficits to be in the game at the final whistle. Both times, Penn fell short. After losing in double overtime when the team first met, Penn fell by two at home when Tyler Bernardini’s shot rimmed out at the buzzer... "
- Princeton team report-"The Tigers’ lone loss in Ivy play through Feb. 26 came on the road, as it dropped a 75-65 decision at Brown on Feb. 19. Princeton also barely won at Cornell, and it struggled at Yale before earning a Feb. 18 victory."
- Yale team report-"But even though Yale won’t win the NCAA Tournament bid that goes to the Ivy League champion, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the team will be absent from postseason play entirely. Three Ivy League teams made March tournaments in 2009-10, with Cornell, Harvard and Princeton all getting the chance to play on. Yale has a clear claim on third in the conference, which it could secure with a strong performance in the final weekend at Columbia and Cornell. If it sweeps those road games, it would finish 16-12, 9-5 in the Ivy League, which might be good enough for the College Basketball Invitational or the CollegeInsider.com tournaments... at Cornell, March 5 Key Matchups: The Bulldogs’ home victory over Cornell on Feb. 4 was one for the ages, as Yale came back from 10 down with less than two minutes to play to earn the one-point win. Yale prevailed despite allowing Cornell to make nine 3-pointers in 21 attempts. The Bulldogs will need to do a better job there, and also pay more attention to Errick Peck, who had 16 points, six rebounds and a pair of steals and blocks in the initial meeting."
Senior center Mark Coury got a nice memory in his senior season, scoring with one second left on the shot clock to give the Big Red a 74-72 win over Penn at the Palestra.
That will go down as one of the few highlights of a 2010-11 season that hasn’t gone as anyone in the Cornell program expected. As Coury and the rest of the seniors prepare for their final home game in the last weekend of the regular season, they face the knowledge that for the first time in their college careers the season will end with the final whistle of the March 5 game against Yale.
Cornell’s press release says that it has all five starters back next season, and that is technically true. But Bill Courtney relies on his bench to come in and dominate the opposition, and the graduating class has done a very good job in that regard.
Coury came to campus as a transfer from Kentucky, and he has become one of the key post players. He’s finishing his career on a role, with back-to-back 13-point efforts over his past two games through Feb. 26.
Adam Wire hasn’t been in the headlines much, but he will still finish among the top 20 in Big Red history in both steals and field-goal percentage. He’s brought a lot of energy off the bench, especially on the defensive end.
Aaron Osgood will undoubtedly be the most frustrated of the three. After barely playing his first three seasons, the forward was having a breakout senior year only to have it derailed by injuries. He’s been sidelined for the past eight games, and he likely will miss his final two as well.
This season isn’t going to end as well for the seniors as it did for the graduating class a year ago, but if the Big Red continue to play well down the stretch, at least the seniors can say they helped get things prepared for what the program hopes will be better days down the road.
• Cornell earned a two-point victory over Pennsylvania on Feb. 26 thanks to Mark Coury’s last-minute basket. That marked the first time all season that the Big Red came out on top in a game decided by three points or fewer.
• The Big Red was a model of efficiency in the victory over Penn. It had 25 assists on its 28 made baskets, with Chris Wroblewski alone totaling 11.
By The Numbers: 49-20—The advantage in bench points that Cornell had in its victory over Penn.
Quote To Note: “I think we’re making a lot of strides. We’ll be much better next year.”— Cornell F Errick Peck, to the Cornell Daily Sun.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
This Week's Games:
• vs. Brown, March 4
Key Matchups: Cornell’s first Ivy League win of the season came at Brown on Feb. 5, so the Big Red know it can beat this team. That will be especially true if it shoots the ball as well from the outside as it did the first time around, when it knocked down 16 of its 34 attempts from 3-point range.
• vs. Yale, March 5
Key Matchups: Cornell’s seniors get the chance to end their college careers by giving some payback to the team that gave it perhaps its worse loss of the year. When the teams met in New Haven, Yale came back from 10 points down with two minutes to play to earn the victory. A better performance at the free-throw line would help, as Cornell made just 15 of its 26 attempts from the stripe in that first meeting.
• Sophomore F Errick Peck made impressive strides after a slow start to the season. He’d been in double figures in 16 of the past 20 games heading into the final weekend.
• Senior F Adam Wire broke the century mark for career steals by grabbing two in the loss to Princeton. He’s just the 11th player in school history to crack that barrier.