Cambridge, MA – The Cornell Big Red (12-10, 4-2) defeated the Harvard Crimson (11-8, 4-2) 67-61 after erasing a 15-point second half deficit at Laviettes Pavillion. After a tight start to the game, the hosts secured a 34-21 halftime lead by using a 17-2 run to end the half. In the second half, the Big Red rallied behind junior forward, Jimmy Boeheim’s 11 points. They eventually took the lead as senior star, Matt Morgan finally erupted on the offensive end of the floor for ten of his 15 points in the final five minutes. With 33 seconds remaining, Boeheim made a difficult pass on the move to a wide-open Terrence McBride for a game sealing triple from the right wing that put the visitors up by four. McBride also put the finishing touches on this win from the foul line, en route to nine points. Junior guard Bryce Aiken scored 24 points for the Crimson, while fellow backcourt junior, Christian Juzang added 12 points.
Boeheim led all Big Red players with 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting, including four triples out of eight attempts, all in spot up situations. Away from the ball he often cut hard to the basket and helped create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. Defensively, he did a good job moving his feet and was very active in the passing lanes, while deflecting several passes and disrupting the flow of the Harvard offense.
A night after scoring a career-high 41 points in an 83-80 road win at Dartmouth, Cornell’s Morgan struggled shooting the ball for most of the night but still managed to be a key contributor in this game. From his leadership skills to his scoring prowess, it was easy to notice his impact on the floor. He did a really nice job in letting the game come to him and did not force up many highly contested shots. Instead, he passed the ball, cut hard, and set screens for his teammates. On one of those cuts in the final five minutes he was held and converted the bonus free throws. Later, he put his head down and scored off the window through contact for a three-point play opportunity. On Cornell’s biggest possession of the game, he gave the ball to Boeheim, who made the pass leading to the game clinching triple from McBride. Offensively, he knows how to use his athleticism to get in the lane and finish as well as create his own shot. This was highlighted by one of his three makes from the field, as he rose over the top of Juzang for a tough 14-footer in the lane. He did a very nice job moving his feet for most of the night and forced driving Crimson guards to throw up tough off-balance shots. He also added two steals against the driving guards. Handling the ball was an ongoing issue for Morgan, as he turned it over seven times.
Harvard’s Aiken followed up his career-night (44 points in the triple overtime win last night against Columbia) with a 24-point effort on 9-of-12 shooting in a frustrating loss for the Crimson. He showed a nice array of dribble moves and got to the basket almost at will in the first half en route to 17 points. He also showed the ability to create his own shot off the dribble and converted on difficult, highly contested shots. Despite most of his offensive success, he managed to record seven turnovers on the night. On the defensive end of the floor, he had a solid night with three steals and moved his feet well, thus helping the Crimson keep the Big Red guards outside of the paint.
Point guard Juzang added tremendous defense on Morgan to his 12-point effort, which also included clutch shooting. The junior did a great job forcing Morgan to give up the ball over the course of the first 35 minutes of the night and helped make him almost a non-factor as Harvard appeared to be in control. He did a great job moving his feet and beating Morgan to the spot and was very active in the passing lanes on and off the ball. He did a great job denying Morgan touches in the first 20-23 seconds of the shot clock or forced a catch near half court when tasked with guarding him. Offensively he knocked down a huge triple off the dribble to help Harvard snap a game-tying rally by Cornell with just under 10 minutes to go.