Brown Snaps Cornell’s Streak
Saturday, March 02, 2013
It had been a long time since the Brown University men’s basketball team had defeated Cornell. Heading into Friday’s game in Ithaca, New York, the Bears had lost 13 consecutive games to the Big Red. The streak is over!
A great team effort propelled Brown to an easy 84-65 win over Cornell and lifted the Bears into a third place tie with the Big Red and Yale in the Ivy League standings.
Bears coach Mike Martin emphasized “energy” following his team’s loss to Harvard last Friday and his team has responded.
Brown came out of the gates fast in their win over Dartmouth last Saturday night and did the same against Cornell last night.
Fueled by sophomore center Rafael Maia who scored the team’s first six points, the Bears took the game to Cornell from the outset.
Brown enjoyed single digit leads for most of the half but was able to extend it to double figures just before halftime 43-31.
Amazingly, the Bears increased what was a 5-point lead (20-15) when Sean McGonagill went out of the game at 13:24 of the first half. McGonagill picked up his second personal foul forcing Martin to go to his bench.
Sophomore Joe Sharkey and the rest of the team was able to not only hold down the fort, but also build the lead before half time.
A big reason for Brown’s success was their crisp offensive execution which led to many players having a good night.
Maia scored a career-high 22 points to go along with 13 rebounds. Junior forward Tucker Halpern looked like the player who torched Providence for 28 points with his 22-point effort which included six three-pointers.
Senior captain Matt Sullivan scored 16 points and is now just 10 points shy of 1,000 for his career at 990.
But even those Brown players who didn’t score a lot were able to make big contributions in other ways.
Sharkey had 5 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists spelling McGonagill and senior forward Tyler Ponticelli brought his usual toughness to the floor diving for loose balls. Ponticelli finished with 5 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals.
But the biggest story of the night may have been the performance of freshman forward Cedric Kualumemnsah (8 points, 7 rebounds) who tied his school record with 7 blocked shots in a single game. The 7 blocks also gives Kuakumensah 60 for the year which is a new single-season record at Brown. Matt Mullery (class of 2009) had held the previous record with 59 blocked shots in a single season.
Kuakumensah’s ability to block and alter shots clearly effected many of the Cornell players who either changed their shots of simply gave up the basketball so as not to be victimized by the Brown big man.
With the win, Brown improves to (11-14, 5-6 Ivy League) while Cornell falls to (13-15, 5-6).
The Bears battle Columbia in Manhattan tonight at 7pm. Brown will be going for the season sweep of the Lions after beating them 58-55 at the Pizzitola Center earlier this season.
-Halpern’s 6 three’s are three shy of Damon Huffman’s school record of 9 three-pointers in a single game. Huffman connected on nine three’s against Tim O’Shea’s Ohio Bobcats in the opening round of the College Basketball Invitational postseason tournament in 2008.
-Kuakumensah also blocked 7 shots against the Penn Quakers earlier this season at the Palestra in Philadelphia. Andrew McCarthy also blocked 7 shots for the Bears last year versus Dartmouth.
-Neither of Brown’s previous two head coaches (Jesse Agel and Craig Robinson) were able to beat Cornell. Glenn Miller was the last Brown coach to defeat the Big Red with Mike Martin serving as an assistant coach on his bench. In fact, as a player, assistant coach and now the head coach at Brown, Martin has never lost a game to Cornell at the Neumann Arena in Ithaca, New York.
-Brown’s win paired with Yale’s loss at Columbia places the Bears in a three-way tie for third place in the Ivy League standings at (5-6). Had Penn defeated Dartmouth at the Palestra Friday night, the Quakers would have been in third place alone at (5-5). Instead, the Quakers are (4-6) and in sixth place in the league standings.
-In a battle of the league’s top two teams Friday, Princeton outlasted Harvard 58-53. The loss drops first place Harvard to (9-2) in the league while the Tigers improve to (8-2). The two teams split the regular season series with each winning on their home floor. Harvard visits Penn tonight while Princeton hosts Dartmouth. The Crimson will finish the regular season at home against Columbia and Cornell next weekend while Princeton visits Yale and Brown next weekend before wrapping up their regular season at Penn March 12th. Should the two teams finish tied atop the standings, there would be a one-game playoff to determine who gets the Ivy League’s automatic bid to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The game would be played on a neutral court, likely at Yale as it was two years ago.
-Harvard has now lost 24 straight games to Princeton at Jadwin Gym dating back to the 1988-89 season.