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Cornell Threes Send Men to 70-57 Loss

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Freshman Jvonte Brooks     By Mark Washburn
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ITHACA, N.Y. — The Cornell Big Red buried 11 three-pointers to send visiting Dartmouth to a 70-57 loss in men’s basketball action on Friday night at Newman Arena. Freshman Jvonte Brooks led the Big Green with 15 points, but he could not help Dartmouth avoid falling to 5-24 on the season and 1-12 in the Ivy League. Cornell (12-15, 7-6 Ivy) was led by Johnathan Gray’s 20 points and four three-pointers.

The Big Green offense struggled shooting the ball on this night, hitting just 16-of-47 (.340) field goals and 6-of-23 (.261) in the first half. At the free throw line, Dartmouth got plenty of opportunities due to 25 Big Red fouls, but converted only 22-of-35 (.629).

Things began well for the Green as they jumped out to an early 5-0 lead on a Brooks layup and three free throws. But Drew Ferry and Gray gave a taste of what was to come with back-to-back three-pointers. Dartmouth rookie John Golden answered with a trey of his own, but after a Brooks free throw, Chris Wroblewski drilled two more trifectas for the Big Red to start a 12-0 run.

Cornell extended its lead to 13 points at 28-15 with 4:40 left, but the Big Green battled back, scoring the final nine points of the stanza to close within four at the intermission. Brooks sank 1-of-2 at the line, then senior David Rufful and freshman Gabas Maldunas each knocked down a jumper. Maldunas added two more foul shots before dishing off to senior Kirk Crecco for a layup to cap the run.

In the second half, the Big Red briefly made it a nine-point game before Golden popped another trifecta and Brooks laid one in to once again make it a four-point contest at 35-31. Then the Cornell three-pointers started up again, first by Ferry then Galal Cancer for another nine-point advantage, 41-32.

The two teams traded free throws back and forth twice before Golden threw down a tremendous dunk. But a three-point play by Cancer just 10 seconds later boosted the lead back to 10. Rufful canned a foul shot to get the deficit back to nine, but Gray came right back with another long ball to keep the difference in double digits the rest of the night.

The Big Red lead ballooned to as many as 22 as Ferry and Gray each hit another three-pointer, but as in the first half, Dartmouth scored the final nine points of the period with Crecco drilling a three and adding a layup.

Gray was only 6-of-15 shooting on the night for Cornell, but 4-of-7 on three-pointers and 4-of-4 at the charity stripe to put up his 20 points. Ferry also hit four treys in scoring 16, and Wroblewski — who did not have a field goal after his two early threes — finished with 12 thanks to a perfect 6-for-6 night at the line.

Although Cornell shot under 40 percent for the evening (22-of-56, .393), its 11 triples came in just 23 attempts, a 47.8 percent clip. The Big Red also converted 15-of-19 (.789) at the line.

Brooks just missed out on a double-double, leading all players with nine boards. Of his 15 points, nine came at the foul line in 12 attempts. Maldunas was the only other Big Green player to top 10 points (11), and he led the team with three assists. Dartmouth had the edge in the rebounding department, 39-35, but committed 16 turnovers to 12 for the host Big Red.

Dartmouth will conclude its season tomorrow night at Columbia (14-15, 3-10 Ivy) at 7 p.m. Cornell finishes up by hosting league-leading Harvard (25-4, 11-2 Ivy) with a chance to spoil the Crimson’s hopes of earning at least a share of the conference crown.