Harvard (19-4) at Cornell (2-19)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 15, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Newman Arena (4,473) -- Ithaca, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Harvard 9-1, Cornell 2-6. Away Record: Harvard 6-3, Cornell 0-13. Neutral Record: Harvard 4-0, Cornell 0-0. Conference Record: Harvard 6-1, Cornell 1-6. Series Record: Cornell leads, 90-74.
GAME NOTES: In the second part of their respective weekend series, the Harvard Crimson and the Cornell Big Red will meet in an Ivy League bout at Newman Arena.
Harvard will need to dig deep into the tank after a brutal double-overtime marathon against Columbia on Friday night. The Crimson managed to pull out an 88-84 victory in the contest, their fifth in the last six games. They will visit Penn and Princeton next weekend to wrap up a four-game road trip.
In its weekend opener, Cornell earned just its second win of the season and first against a Division I foe, beating Dartmouth, 70-67, at home. The Big Red are still a miserable 2-19 overall, with home dates against Yale and Brown looming next weekend.
It has been awhile since the Big Red was able to top the Crimson, with Harvard claiming victories in six straight meetings. However, Cornell leads the all- time series, 90-74.
Harvard led by as many as 12 points in the second half against Columbia, but it allowed the Lions to rally by allowing 52 percent shooting. In fact, if it were not for a tip-in from Steve Moundou-Missi in the final minute, the game would not have gone to overtime, tied at 68-68. After an even first extra period, the Crimson finally pulled away, hitting 8-of-12 free-throw attempts in the session.
The Crimson is a solid offensive team in comparison to the rest of the Ivy League, netting 73 ppg on 45.3 percent shooting. However, they have been more successful on defense, with foes posting only 61.6 ppg and shooting 41.2 percent from the field. Wesley Saunders (15 ppg, 4 apg) and Siyani Chambers (11.2 ppg, 4.3 apg) form a solid backcourt duo. The two are ranked second and third, respectively, in the Ivy League in assists, Chambers had 22 points and Saunders put in 19 to go with seven helpers. Moundou-Missi (9.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg) is another important contributor, coming off a team-high 22 points on Friday.
Dartmouth's Tyler Melville scored on a layup with nine seconds to play to tie the score at 67-67 on Friday against Cornell. The Big Red did not panic, however, knocking down 3-of-4 free throws in the final seconds to escape with the win.
It should come as no surprise that a team with only two wins would be one of the weakest offensive squads in not only the Ivy League, but the country as well. The Big Red are netting only 65.2 ppg and shooting 41.5 percent from the field. Their shooting efficiency includes a paltry 31.1 percent shooting from 3-point range, averaging fewer than seven triples a contest. Nolan Cressler (16.5 ppg) and Devin Cherry (11.4 ppg) are the only reliable scoring threats. Cressler finished with 17 points on Friday and Cherry added 12. Dwight Tarwater (6.4 ppg, 6 rpg) leads on the boards, but did much more against Dartmouth with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Even if Harvard comes out slowly after its tough contest on Friday night, the Crimson are just too strong at both ends of the court for a Cornell team, which has been overmatched all season long.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Harvard 77, Cornell 63
02/15 10:47:53 ET