Big Red blow out Harvard
ITHACA, N.Y. - Cornell put all five players into double figures and led from wire-to-wire, remaining unbeaten in Ivy League play with an 86-50 victory over Harvard on Saturday evening at Newman Arena. The Big Red improved to 18-3 (4-0 Ivy), while the Crimson had its seven-game win streak snapped and fell to 14-4 (3-1 Ivy).
While Cornell had things clicking offensively, it was their defense that impressed their coach the most.
"Everything we wanted to do defensively made them struggle" Cornell coach Steve Donahue said.
Senior Jeff Foote was dominant in the paint to lead Cornell on both ends of the floor, recording 16 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots, while Jon Jaques netter 14 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Chris Wroblewski and Louis Dale each chipped in with 13 points and Ryan Wittman scored 11 to round out the lineup. Cornell assisted on 22 of its 30 field goals and turned the ball over just eight times despite Harvard's consistent pressure. Defensively, the Big Red turned the young and talented Crimson group over 25 times and collected 14 steals, while limiting Harvard to .361 shooting from the floor. Cornell owned the rebounding edge, 37-28.
Harvard's star, Jeremy Lin, had 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting, but also turned the ball over eight times with just one assist. No other Harvard player had more than Dee Giger's eight points.
While the scorers got the acclaim, the box score hid the contributions of several other players. Geoff Reeves provided his usual stellar defense and scored three points with two rebounds and an assist, while Mark Coury and Alex Tyler were their usual steady selves, but the play of Adam Wire stood out. He had five points, two offensive rebounds, two assists and three key steals in 14 energy-filled minutes. Errick Peck added two points, a rebound and an assist without a turnover.
Cornell dominated the key stats of points in the paint (32-14) and points off of turnovers (29-6), while also posting a large 18-8 edge in second chance points.
While billed nationally as an early season determination on the Ivy race, Cornell's upperclassmen treated it like any other game ... an important one in the 14-game Ivy League tournament. With a raucous sell-out crowd behind them, Cornell scored eight seconds into the game when Foote found Wroblewski for a 3-pointer. The Crimson tied the game at 3-3, then again at 5-5, but a quick 8-0 run over 1:18 that included consecutive treys by Jaques, sent the home team up 13-5 three minutes into the game. Harvard briefly got within two at 19-17 at the 11-minute mark, but that was as good as it would get for the upstart Crimson.
The Big Red exploded on a 14-0 run that spanned 7:16 as the defense created offense for Cornell. Five turnovers by Harvard during that span did damage, as did Foote, who started the run with a vicious dunk, then hit a six-footer in the lane before finding Jaques underneath with a brilliant pass that earned his senior classmate two free throws. When Dale hit a 3-pointer from the left corner with 3:43 left in the first half, Cornell more than doubled up Harvard at 35-17.
The Crimson clawed back to 14 at the break, and with two early buckets by Lin, got within 10 just 1:17 into the second half. Jaques stemmed the tide with a free throw, but the second one was missed and grabbed by Foote. That led to three consecutive offensive boards by the Big Red, and the four-shot, 30-second possession ended with Wroblewski draining a jumper to push the lead back to 13 and give the home team the momentum. Up 46-36 with 12:56 remaining, Cornell took control and turned a game still very much in question to a decisive victory. A pair of Wroblewski free throws triggered a 17-0 run over a span of just 3:08, with a three-point play by Wire being trumped by long distance bombs by Dale, Jaques and Wittman. Suddenly, a 10-point game was a 63-36 contest with 9:48 left. Harvard never got back within 24 points and watched the lead swell to as many as 37 with both team's subs in the contest.
The Big Red will stay at home to face both Yale and Brown next weekend at Newman Arena.