The Cornell men’s basketball team scored the game’s first 19 points and led wire-to-wire against four-time defending Patriot League champion Colgate, knocking off its Central New York rival 77-64 on Saturday afternoon at Newman Arena. The Big Red improved to 10-2 on the season and extended its non-conference win streak in non-guarantee games to 29 and its non-conference home win streak to 16 contests with the victory. The Raiders slipped to 6-7 while suffering its third consecutive loss to the Big Red.
Cornell shot 54 percent from the floor overall and assisted on 19 baskets while collecting 12 steals in the victory. The Big Red held big advantages in paint points (46-28), points off turnovers (25-12), bench points (33-24) and fastbreak points (21-12). Sean Hansen’s 15 points led four double figure scorers, with Chris Manon adding 14 points, four assists, four steals and three rebounds. Guy Ragland Jr. (12 points, four rebounds) and Nazir Williams (11 points, four rebounds, three assists) also reached double figures. Isaiah Gray set the tone early and finished with six points, eight assists, five steals, three rebounds and a blocked shot before fouling out in the second half. Cornell improved to 3-0 at home this season (24-4 over the past three years) and picked up the 250th victory all-time at Newman Arena (250-169, .597).
Braden Smith led Colgate with 12 points, five assists and four rebounds, while Ryan Moffatt netted 11 points and four boards. Keegan Records had six points, 10 rebounds and four blocks, with nine of his 10 boards coming on the offensive end. Jeff Woodward added nine points and nine boards. All told, the Raiders had 25 offensive rebounds, the most allowed by a Big Red team since VMI had 27 during the 2006-07 season, and Colgate held a 47-31 edge on the glass. The visitors outscored Cornell 23-8 edge in second chance points.
Cornell raced out to a 19-0 lead over the first 4:43 in large part due to Gray’s energy from the jump. After the Raiders won the tip, Gray stole the ball and got it ahead to Cooper Noard, whose 3-pointer rimmed out. Gray was there to tip in the miss. Gray then stole the ball in the backcourt and his layup made it 4-0. After a Big Red bucket to push it to 6-0, Gray against stole the ball and found Manon for a three-point bucket, earning the assist. He earned his fourth steal of the game’s opening three minutes and scored again on the fastbreak and Cornell was off and running.
Colgate’s slow start would only last so long, as the Raiders chipped away at the lead after going down 20 (30-10) midway through the first. It got within 10 with 5:51 remaining, then ultimately seven at halftime (40-33).
The Raiders whittled the lead to three at 40-37 just 76 seconds into the second half, but Sean Hansen answered with a 3-pointer to double the lead. Colgate again scored to make it a four-point game, but Hansen’s dunk from a behind-the-back feed from Manon again brought it back to six. Colgate’s last charge got the visitors within five (49-44), but a Nazir Williams 3-pointer triggered an 11-0 Big Red run – Williams scored the first seven and Hansen the final four. Colgate would only briefly get back to 10 and never within single digits over the final 12 minutes.
Colgate ended the second half with more offensive rebounds (17) than the Big Red had total boards (16), but was limited to just 3-of-18 from beyond the arc and made just 4-of-11 free throws to prevent a comeback.
The win gave Cornell its best 12-game start (10-2) since 1964 and extended its win streak over Patriot League opponents to eight games.
• Cornell will kick off the new year when it helps christen Foster Pavilion when it meets nationally-ranked Baylor on Tuesday, Jan. 2 at 7 p.m. CT in Waco, Texas.
• It will be the Bears’ first contest at their new facility and the first-ever meeting between the schools.
• Cornell has never defeated an active Big 12 opponent, and its last win over a school currently in the conference came on Dec. 27, 1969 when it topped BYU 68-62 in the first round of the Quaker City Tournament in Philadelphia.