Cornell-Harvard: Big Red Takes Command of Ivy League with Win

Sam BlumCorrespondent IFebruary 19, 2010

ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 20:  Ryan Wittman #20 of the Cornell Big Red moves against the defense of Fred Washington #44 of the Stanford Cardinal during the South Region first round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament at the Honda Center on March 20, 2008 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Ryan Wittman scored 27 points to lead the Cornell Big Red to a huge win tonight against Harvard. 

Cornell, who defeated Harvard by 36 just a matter of weeks ago, came into this game with just as much pressure on them. They weren't heavily favored after a dismal performance against Penn and a near loss to Ivy co-leader Princeton.

The difference this time was only nine; however, the dominance was still there, as the Crimson were trying to claw back all night.

The Big Red would stretch a nine-point halftime lead to 16—and it looked like the game would be over soon. However, Harvard cut it to five—just like that—with eight minutes to play.

Of course, Cornell would answer with two-straight three-pointers from Wittman and Louis Dale.

Cornell would have pulled away earlier, but it was in foul trouble all night, as Wittman was the only one not to feel the wrath of the refs' whistles. The Crimson benefited by shooting 32-of-34 from the free-throw line, while the Big Red would make just 11.

The Crimson made just two of 10 from three, while the Big Red were 12-of-23—half of those coming from Wittman.

Jeremy Lin would not be denied tonight, showing off with 24, while Kyle Casey had 14.

With the loss, Harvard falls two games behind Cornell—and basically out of the running, because Cornell has only one major test remaining with Princeton. 

Elsewhere in Ivy play, there was some interesting action. Princeton continued its surprise season with a 82-58 blowout of a very solid Yale team on national television. Four players were in double figures for the Tigers, while the Bulldogs had just one.

Dartmouth got its first Ivy win of the season with a laugher against Columbia. The Dartmouth defense held Columbia scoreless for the first 9:30 of the first half. The halftime score would be a two-point 17-15 lead for the Big Green, as they held the Lions to 2-of-23 (8.7 percent) three-point shooting. The final was 48-44.

Brown hung on to beat Penn, who have now dropped three straight—all at home—after defeating Cornell last Friday. Brown had a 16-point halftime lead stay solid in the second half until the 6:41 mark, when Penn went on a tear to cut the lead to four with just less than two minutes to go. However, Brown would hang on for the win.