NCAA Tournament: Cornell's Poor Shooting Leads to Sweet 16 Demise Vs. Kentucky

Sam BlumCorrespondent IMarch 26, 2010

SYRACUSE, NY - MARCH 25: Ryan Wittman #20 of the Cornell Big Red walks on the court with his head down against the Kentucky Wildcats during the east regional semifinal of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Carrier Dome on March 25, 2010 in Syracuse, New York.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

It was a bad night at the Carrier Dome this evening.

With fans stacked to the rafters in the bloated arena, Cornell could not get the job done, leaving many upset hopefuls gravely saddened.

The fans in Syracuse had already taken one blow earlier with their bad loss to Butler, a game that took place over in Utah.

However, most of that had been forgotten by 10:06 p.m., which was the tip-off for what was considered one of the most interesting games of the Sweet 16 round. 

It was truly a David vs. Goliath matchup: the kings of college basketball against an Ivy League team.

The Dome was very much in favor of the Cornell boys, with many Big Red fans making the 55-mile trek to Syracuse. Many of the West Virginia and Washington fans also were taking the side of the underdog.

The game started off great. The Big Red took a 10-2 lead early, and the building was shaking. The run would quickly end though, as Kentucky reeled off 12 straight to take a 14-10 lead.

Those 12 points would be part of a 30-6 run that ended the half for Kentucky, with the score oddly 32-16. The score was odd because both schools feature high-powered offenses. Cornell's star shooter Ryan Wittman was held to just three points. 

The second half started off not too differently for Cornell. The only change was that UK couldn't do anything offensively. Cornell would get it back to 40-34 with 5:30 left. Cornell allowed eight points in the first 15 minutes of the second half against a team that averages over 80 points a game. 

Cornell's defense was amazing. It was just that Kentucky's was better. They kept Cornell off the perimeter all game, with Wittman going 3-of-10 on his field goals. Louis Dale led all scorers with 17. 

The UK offense was led by John Wall, who had eight assists and eight points. DeMarcus Cousins had 16 points, and Eric Bledsoe added 12. Amazingly, the Wildcats shot 2-of-16 from behind the arc; Cornell was 5-of-21. 

The final score was 62-45. 

It was a good effort for Cornell, who had a magical season, the best in school history. They were led by an eight-player senior class. One of those players, Mark Coury, started 29 games for Kentucky a couple years ago before transferring to Cornell. 

This might mark the ending of Steve Donahue's time in Ithaca, as many offers are sure to come in from Big East schools such as St. John's and Seton Hall. 

So this is the end of an era in Cornell Basketball. They will likely not win the Ivy League next year, as the rebuilding process will begin. However, this amazing run and this incredible season will live in the minds of Newman Nation for years to come.