Townsend, Sherrod With Career Nights
ITHACA, N.Y. – Yale's offensive struggles lasted just one night. After shooting 31.1 percent from the field against Columbia on Friday, the Bulldogs responded in a big way. Yale executed near flawlessly in the first half Saturday against Cornell, built a 14-point lead and went on to an impressive 79-70 victory over the Big Red before 2,150 at Newman Arena.
"We had much better offensive flow tonight," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball. "We got back to doing what we have been doing."
Sophomores Matt Townsend and Brandon Sherrod both had career nights to lead the way. Townsend was 7-of-10 from the field and scored 19 points, while Sherrod added 13 points, nine rebounds and five blocks in 24 minutes off the bench.
"Matt and Brandon really came up big for us," Jones said.
Yale shot 55.6 percent in the opening 20 minutes and had a 38-24 lead at the intermission.
"Coach [Jones] really emphasized after last night's game that our offense was stagnant," said Townsend, who scored 13 of his points in the first half. "We came out motivated to move and cut more. When our offense is flowing, we are tough to stop."
Townsend has played a big role in Yale's offensive improvement over the course of the season. In his last three games, he is averaging 14.7 points and shooting 65.4 percent from the field.
"Matt is relentless. He never stops working," Jones said. "He has gotten to the point where he is comfortable with what we are doing offensively."
Errick Peck and Nolan Cressler paced Cornell (13-16, 5-7 Ivy) with 19 points apiece.
The Bulldogs (12-17, 6-6 Ivy) will enter the final weekend in a tie with Brown for third place in the Ivy League.
Saturday's win was Yale's first in Newman Arena since 2004.
Despite the big halftime lead, there were some tense moments in the second half. Cressler hit a three-pointer that pulled the Big Red within 55-50 with eight minutes remaining. Sherrod answered with a bucket, but Peck hit a three-pointer to cut it to four.
Yale, though, scored the next four points. The Big Red got back within six, but Morgan's three-pointer with 3:30 left proved to be the dagger, giving the Bulldogs a nine-point lead. Before long, the advantage was 15 and Yale cruised home.
Morgan scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half.
NOTES: Yale was 6-of-11 (54.5 percent) from three-point range in the game… The Bulldogs outscored the Big Red 25-8 from the foul line… Cornell attempted 70 shots and shot just 37.1 percent… The Big Red grabbed 20 offensive rebounds but turned them into to only 15 second-chance points… Yale had 15 assists on its 24 field goals… The Bulldogs committed only nine turnovers… Yale closes out the regular season by hosting Princeton on Friday and Penn on Saturday. Tipoff on both nights is slated for 7 p.m… Yale's three seniors – Morgan, Michael Grace and Sam Martin -- will be honored before Saturday's game.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity