February 15, 2013

Fast Start Helps Cornell Edge Yale, 68-61

Bulldogs Struggle From Foul Line In Loss

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – After last weekend's sweep of the Penn-Princeton road trip, Yale head coach James Jones thought his team would come out with a little pep in its step Friday against Cornell. Instead, it was the Big Red that got off to a quick start. That and poor foul shouting doomed the Bulldogs in a 68-61 loss before 1,173 at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

"I expected us to start the game with a greater charge and more energy," said Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball at Yale. "They had us on our heels, and it should have been the other way around."

Cornell (12-12, 4-3 Ivy) led 11-2 just 6 minutes, 30 seconds in. To its credit, Yale fought back, but it seemed the Bulldogs were always playing from behind. Yale's largest lead was three early in the second half, but it only lasted two minutes.

To make matters worse, the Bulldogs were just 12-of-26 (46.2 percent) from the free throw line. Yale entered the game second in the Ivy League in free throw percentage (.728).

Freshman Justin Sears paced the Bulldogs with 13 points. Sam Martin added 10 points, and Austin Morgan had nine.

Shonn Miller, the reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Year, had 18 points, nine rebounds and three blocks to pace Cornell. Johnathan Gray also scored 18.

The poor free throw shooting really hurt Yale (9-15, 3-4 Ivy) down the stretch. The Bulldogs missed four straight free throws in the final 1:49.

The score was tied at 59 with 3:03 remaining, but Nolan Cressler's three-pointer gave the Big Red the lead for good. Gray hit another three-pointer on Cornell's next possession to increase the lead to six.

Brandon Sherrod answered with a dunk off a nice feed from Javier Duren, and Yale forced a quick turnover, but Morgan missed a three-pointer.

Galal Cancer made three free throws in the final 42 seconds to seal the victory for Cornell.

Martin kept the Bulldogs in the game in the first half. He was 3-of-4 from three-point range as all 10 of his points came in the opening 20 minutes as Yale rallied to trail by just three, 30-27, at the intermission.

"I was feeling good shooting the ball," said Martin, who has made eight of his last 11 three-point attempts.

After shooting just 33.3 percent from the field in the first half, the Bulldogs were 13-of-21 (61.9 percent) the rest of the way.

Yale will be right back in action on Saturday, hosting Columbia at 7 p.m. The Lions dropped a 58-55 decision at Brown on Friday.

"We just have to try and forget about [this game] and get ready to play Columbia," Martin said.

NOTES: The Bulldogs got another strong performance from their bench, which outscored Cornell's reserves 32-20… Duren finished with a career-high seven assists… Sears was 6-of-9 from the field… Yale outrebounded the Big Red 34-31. Armani Cotton led the way with six rebounds. 

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity

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