On a night that saw the Big Red struggle from beyond the arc and with turnovers, the Cornell men’s basketball team controlled the boards and made its free throws en route to a 79-71 win over Lafayette on Saturday afternoon at the Kirby Sports Center. The Big Red won its fourth straight to improve to 7-1, while the Leopards slipped to 1-8.
Sean Hansen paced three Big Red double-figure scorers with 19 points, while Isaiah Gray notched 13 points and five rebounds and Nazir Williams chipped in 10 points, six rebounds and three assists. Guy Ragland Jr.posted nine points and eight boards and Chris Manon was the fifth regular with at least nine points, scoring nine with five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Cornell held a 40-32 edge on the glass to overcome an 8-of-32 shooting night beyond the arc and a season-high 20 turnovers.
Kyle Jenkins scored 16 points with five rebounds and three steals to lead a Lafayette team that shot 43 percent overall and connected on nine 3-pointers, though players other than Jenkins made just 5-of-24 (21 percent).
The victory was Cornell’s 25th consecutive non-conference win in non-guarantee games dating back to 2019, and came despite the usual offensive efficiency it’s been used to. The Big Red did connect on 18-of-23 field goals inside the 3-point arc (78 percent). The win was Cornell’s fourth straight over the Leopards in Easton and the seventh consecutive against Patriot League foes overall.
For the second game in a row, Cornell seemingly was in control throughout, but couldn’t pull away from a pesky Leopards squad. The Big Red led for 34:29 of the game, but never by more than 10.
The Big Red led 41-35 at halftime with its primary post players Hansen and Ragland Jr. combining for 14 points and six rebounds. The visitors took the lead for good on Cooper Noard’s 3-pointer with six minutes left in the half, though Lafayette briefly tied the contest on the ensuing possession. The Leopards got 12 points from Hines in the first half, while Jenkins connected on all three shots, including a pair of 3-pointers.
A 4-0 spurt by the Big Red to start the second half put the visitors up 10 (45-35) and momentarily looked as though the game was getting away from Lafayette. A 10-2 run for the Leopards, including a pair of 3-pointers by Jenkins, brought the game back to within two and changed the complexion of the rest of the game, though not the outcome. It was only in the final minutes that the Big Red pushed its advantage up to eight and closed out the win.
• Cornell will head up I-81 to renew its series with Syracuse on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. at the JMA Wireless Dome.
• The contest will be broadcast live on the ACC Network.
• The Big Red will attempt to snap a 42-game losing streak to the Orange dating back to the 1968-69 campaign, the fourth-longest streak in NCAA history.
• Cornell is 0-28 in the Dome against the Orange (1-29 overall).