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Cornell vs. Harvard Men’s Basketball: Weeked Recap & Analysis

Another day, another men’s basketball game going down to the wire as Cornell faced off against the Harvard. Although the Big Red unfortunately took the loss, there were some good things that came from this matchup which will bode well for results in the future.

Cornell started fast and with a purpose which allowed the team to accumulate a nine-point lead with 12:18 left in the first half. The pace and tempo at which it played allowed the Big Red to put pressure not only on the transition defense of Harvard, but also on the tempo at which the Crimson wanted to play. This type of fast-paced play proved to be very vital for Cornell throughout the game. The Crimson, however, started to heat up from behind the arc, putting in 7-12 in the first half which allowed it to climb back into the game despite the pressure the Big Red placed on it. At half, the score was 40-38 in favor of the Crimson; however, with the intensity and effort Cornell gave in the first half, a second-half showing looked to be on the horizon against the best defense in the Ivy League division.

Once again, as the second half started, Cornell began with a heavy pace, allowing the team to god on a 7-0 run beginning at 18:43, which gave them a 47-44 lead at the 17:44 mark. This run was created by two fast-break points which were made possible by the pace Cornell set. Cornell continued to take good shots and maintain its pace until the 12:56 mark when the team suffered a stretch of bad shooting and turnovers. As a result, Cornell was unable to truly punish the Crimson while it suffered from a shooting slump during the game. The match continued to go back and forth from this point until the final few minutes of the game when Cornell had several chances to ice the game or at least tie it up. Missed free-throws plagued Cornell as it went 1-4 in the final minutes of the game (10-18 overall) from the charity stripe, ultimately losing the game for us.

Going forward, there are many things to draw from the game. First of all, free-throws must be made consistently throughout the game, especially down the stretch. Shooting close to 50 percent on free-throws allows opposing defenses to be lazier than usual and to foul when out of position without fear of giving up free points. Second, Cornell must find more ways to get Matt Morgan open off-ball since the Crimson continuously double-teamed him as he would dribble up the court, and in pick-and-rolls. Finally, the pace at which Cornell played throughout the game must be sustained since it allowed the Big Red to play very fluidly and to get easy buckets not only in transition, but also in half-court play.

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