Author: Emily Tripodi
Coming off of a not-so-hot 2013-2014 season, the Big Red men’s basketball team turned things around to close out this past season with a relatively successful 13-18 record. Not to mention the games that they did lose this season were close deficits, with losses at an average margin of 9.7 points per game.
Eight of these losses were by less than seven points – St. Peters, Drexel, Pennsylvania State University (twice), Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania (twice) and Brown University. Digging even further, Cornell lost to Drexel and University of Pennsylvania by only two, and Pennsylvania State and Brown University by one point.
While there is a lot to talk about considering the overall relative success of this team, we’ll focus specifically on what this team did well, where this team struggled, and things to look forward to with Big Red men’s basketball in their 2015-2016 season.
What went well:
There is no doubt that this team had a successful season. With thirteen wins (five of which were in conference), the Big Red had moments of positive playing. Senior guard Galal Cancer noted that the team found the most success when they pushed the speed, explaining that “Our speed was an advantage for us at almost every position in the majority of our games, so when we effectively pressured teams on defense we were able to create steals or force [bad] shots.”
This can be backed up with statistical evidence.
In the Ivy League, Cornell was ranked number one in defensive field goals with a percentage of 38.9%, meaning that other teams in the league shot at that percentage against Cornell defense. Cornell was also ranked number one in turnover margin; Cornell turned the ball over 359 times this season while their opponents turned the ball over to Cornell 392 times, creating a positive 1.10 margin that Cornell should be proud of. Other relevant points of pride for the season are the league-leading 74.9% free throw percentage and 4.7 blocks per game, and the league-running-up 24.4 defensive rebounds per game.
Individually, Shonn Miller ended his senior campaign second in points in the league with 505, second in rebounds with 254, and first in defensive rebounds with 226. Robert Hatter was ninth in points for the league with 315, and Devin Cherry ended 16th in points with 300, seventh in assists with a notable 103, and fifth in minutes played per game with 33.4, proving Cherry’s reliability as a player and teammate.
What went not so well:
Though sports appear mainly physical on the surface, there is an important mental factor as well which sophomore Robert Hatter reported as an issue for this season.
“We struggled in a couple of close games that we should have won but ended up losing because of many mental mistakes,” Hatter explained, which can be observed through the aforementioned loss average of 9.7 points per game. However, Hatter also reported that the team did a nice job “bouncing back,” which was helpful to continue the season positively.
Cancer also commented on a lack of consistency, which deterred Cornell from staying on winning streaks that could have influenced their end of season outcome.
What to look forward to:
As the men head into their off-season, they look forward to competing again in 2015-2016 and feel optimistic about their return. Hatter reported that he is sure that the team will continue to work hard, and the goal for the team remain the same: landing a spot in the Ivy League Championship.
The Cornell men’s basketball team had a great 2014-2015 run. In the end, they stood at sixth place in the Ivy League, which is certainly a great deal to be proud of collectively – something which they and their fans have not lost sight of. Cornell’s men’s basketball attendance ranked third in the league with an average of 2,752 attendees per game — crowds which Hatter reported as “amazing,” altering the atmosphere from just the season before.
As they improve, I think we can expect that number to only increase. Be one of those supporters next year and come see what I’m talking about. Your Big Red men’s basketball team will not disappoint you.