Jan. 6, 2009
ITHACA, N.Y. - Bryan Cohen (20 points) and G.W. Boon (15 points) tried to shoot Bucknell back in the game after falling behind by 22 points, but in the end the hole was just too big and Cornell prevailed 75-64 Tuesday night at Newman Arena. The Bison pulled within six in the final minute, but the defending Ivy League champions made enough free throws down the stretch to win their 14th straight home game.
Louis Dale scored 20 points and leading scorer Ryan Wittman scored 14 of his 17 in the second half for Cornell (9-6), which snapped a five-game losing streak to Bucknell (3-11). Center Jeff Foote, after going 0-for-5 in the first half, finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and five blocks.
After neither team could get anything going offensively early on, Cornell began to open things up about four minutes into the second half. Nursing a 28-27 lead, Wittman hit back-to-back 3-pointers to spur a 10-2 run. A Dale trey and a 3-point play by Adam Wire extended the run to 18-7 and gave Cornell its first double-digit lead.
While Bucknell continued to come up empty at the offensive end, Cornell built on its lead behind the play of Foote inside and more solid 3-point shooting. Foote scored inside three times, with treys by Chris Wroblewski and Geoff Reeves interspersed, and the Big Red went up by 20.
Bucknell made a valiant comeback attempt, scoring 12 straight points in one stretch and pulling within six after a late scoring flurry by Boon. Cohen and Shazier hit 3-pointers, Shazier scored inside and Castleberry picked Dale's pocket and made a layup. Cohen's jumper at the 1:57 mark cut the 20-point deficit to eight at 61-53.
Wittman's 15-foot jumper stopped the run, and after a Bison miss Dale hit two free throws to push the lead back to 12. But Boon scored nine straight Bucknell points on a 3-point play and two contested 3-pointers, the last of which made it a 68-62 game with 40 seconds left.
The Bison had the ball down seven with 23 seconds left when they were whistled for a moving screen. Zach Evans
stole the inbounds pass but double dribbled, and Cornell iced it at the free-throw line.
Bucknell stayed in the game in the first half despite making only two of its first 14 shots and 8 of 30 (.267) overall. The Bison played its best defensive half of the year in the opening 20 minutes, forcing nine Cornell turnovers while holding the Big Red to 7-for-25 (.280) shooting from the field.
The Big Red led 10-4 early but then managed only one field goal over an eight-minute span as the Bison crawled back within one. A 7-0 run for Cornell, capped by Wroblewski 3-pointer, gave it a 23-15 lead, but the Bison scored the last five of the half, all from Cohen, to pull within 23-20.
Cornell shot 65.2 percent in the second half, including five threes in six attempts, and shot 45.8 percent overall. The Bison shot 37.5 percent, even with the late flurry.
Castleberry added eight points and Shazier had seven and three assists. Shazier was held to 24 minutes, well below his season average, due to foul trouble.
Bucknell's Patriot League opener takes place Saturday at Navy. Game time is 5 p.m. at Alumni Hall, with the contest to air live on ESPNU.