Sports

Bears earn first weekend sweep in play against Cornell and Columbia

Halpern’s hot hand led Bruno to a buzzer-beating win over Columbia

By
Sports Staff Writer
Monday, March 4, 2013

The men’s basketball team posted two big road wins in Ivy League play this weekend, toppling Cornell Friday and Columbia Saturday. Rafael Maia ’15 and Tucker Halpern ’13.5 led the Bears (12-14, 6-6 Ivy) against the Big Red (13-15, 5-6), netting 22 points each in a 84-65 win. Halpern was Bruno’s key man again against the Lions (12-14, 4-8) after hitting a trey at the buzzer to bring the squad its third win in a row.  After his 17-point performance against Columbia, co-captain Matt Sullivan ’13 became the 26th player in Brown basketball history to score 1,000 points, joining co-captain Sean McGonagill ’14.

 

Brown 84, Cornell 65

While the Big Red took an early lead in the Feb. 16 matchup, Bruno was the team in front during the first half Friday. Halpern set the tone for the offense, knocking down three treys in the first seven minutes and going 4-6 from deep in the half. His fourth three-pointer put the Bears up 30-21 midway through the first.

“I had been having a tough little stretch of shooting, so it felt really good to get back to shooting the ball well,” Halpern said. “I felt every one I was shooting was going to go.”

Bruno continued to dominate offensively in the second half, this time behind strong play in the paint from Maia. Maia went 5-8 in the second, and his tip-in at the six-minute mark gave Bruno a 29-point advantage, 81-52.

“We were really efficient offensively, and able to score inside and outside,” said Head Coach Mike Martin ’04. “We got off to a really good start getting the ball inside, and obviously that opened up some perimeter shooting.”

Halpern and Maia were joined in double-digit scoring by Sullivan, who had 16 points and three three-pointers of his own. Cedric Kuakumensah ’16 contributed on the defensive end with seven blocks to prevent any chance of a Big Red comeback.

“We came out with a lot of intensity and a lot of aggressiveness,” Halpern said. “That really carried us.”

Cornell made a 13-3 run to close out the game, but Bruno’s lead was too large to overcome, and the game ended 84-65.

 

Brown 61, Columbia 58

Bruno completed a comeback from a double-digit deficit to beat the Lions in dramatic fashion Saturday. Sullivan and McGonagill were the only scorers in double-digits for the Bears, while Kuakumensah again chipped in on the defensive end with nine rebounds.

Unlike the night before, the Bears struggled to get the upper hand in the first half. A jump shot from Kuakumensah put the squad up 16-11, but the lead quickly disintegrated, thanks to a 20-4 run from the Lions to close out the half.

“We were stagnant, and we didn’t move the ball or our bodies as well as we needed to,” Martin said.

“We came out a little flat, and they came out really hard,” Halpern said. “We sort of dug ourselves a hole.”

But the Bears did not fold and were more aggressive in the second half. Inside scoring from Maia and a three from McGonagill brought the Bears within four in just seven minutes. Sullivan also contributed to the comeback, netting six straight points at the nine-minute mark to tie up the game.

“In the second half we really turned up the defensive intensity,” Halpern said. “It was more of a defensive battle as opposed to Friday night, which was more of a scoring fest.”

The two sides swapped leads down the stretch, with the Lions doing most of their scoring from the foul line. A free throw by Sullivan put Bruno up 58-56 with 39 seconds on the clock, but a pair of free throws from Columbia’s Alex Rosenberg evened the score with just three seconds remaining.

“At the end of the game, Matt Sullivan and Sean McGonagill really carried us through the comeback, and we put ourselves in position to win,” Halpern said.

Halpern provided the heroics in the game’s final play. While Stephen Albrecht ’13 and McGonagill made decoying cuts, Sullivan inbounded the ball to Halpern off a staggered screen from Kuakamensah. Halpern then sank a three at the buzzer to win the game for Bruno, 61-58.

The Bears will play their final two games of the 2013 season next weekend, hosting Penn (8-20, 5-6) Friday and Princeton (16-9, 9-2) Saturday. Albrecht, Sullivan and Tyler Ponticelli ’13 will be honored at Saturday’s Senior Night for their contributions to the program.

“It’s a huge weekend,” Halpern said. “To finish that high (in the league), for the seniors to go out on a great note and to build for next year — that’s huge.”