Sports

Men’s basketball fails to hold late leads in N.Y. split

Multiple Bears break records, but Ivy title hopes are slipping away as season winds down

By
Sports Staff Writer
Monday, February 24, 2014

The men’s basketball team endured two emotional games over the weekend, dropping a heart-wrenching 70-68 loss at Columbia before topping Cornell 81-75 in overtime.  Here is a breakdown of Bruno’s performance in the Empire State.

 

What’s strong

The Bears showed heart in their first overtime of the season by staving off Cornell to claim victory.

It took two minutes for either team to score in the extra period, but Bruno jumped out on a 5-0 run to seize a 72-67 lead with 1:25 to play. Though the Big Red crept back to within three points with just over a minute to play, Sean McGonagill ’14 drilled a three-pointer with 50 seconds remaining to deny Cornell any chance of a comeback.

Following an emotional loss to Columbia and the ensuing long bus ride, the Bears had every reason to be dejected entering the game against the Big Red. But Bruno persevered, and even as the game went into overtime, the Bears maintained their composure to come out with the win.

As the Bears prepare for their final road trip of the season to Penn and Princeton, their ability to overcome hardships and win in extraordinary conditions bodes well for the young squad.

 

What’s wrong

The Bears held a four-point lead with just over two minutes to play in both games over the weekend but were unable to seal a victory against Columbia.

Dockery Walker ’15 connected on a lay-up to put Brown ahead 68-64 against the Lions with 2:20 left to play. Yet Columbia closed the game with a 6-0 run, seizing the win.

The next night, a free throw from Cedric Kuakumensah ’16 gave Brown a 63-59 lead with 2:31 still on the clock. But the Bears again were unable to maintain the margin as the Big Red finished the half with an 8-4 run to send the game into overtime.

Looking ahead, the matchups against Penn and Princeton are likely to come down to the wire. Bruno defeated the Quakers by seven points and lost to the Tigers by four at home two weekends ago, so the ability to close out a game may be crucial in the upcoming rematches.

 

What’s new

The Bears broke a number of school records on their road trip.

In the loss to Columbia, McGonagill connected on 3-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc, propelling him to first place on the list of all-time career three pointers with 233.  Damon Hoffman ’08 previously held the record with 232. McGonagill averages the most three-point attempts and conversions in the Ivy League, hitting 3.3 treys per eight attempts on the season.

The following night, Kuakumensah tied a school-record with seven blocked shots, setting a new single-season school record with 70. Kuakumensah currently tops the Ivy League with an average of 2.9 blocks per game. The sophomore’s 136 career blocked shots rank second on Brown’s all-time list behind Matt Mullery ’10, who finished with 163. Kuakamensah is on pace to pass Mullery midway through his junior year.

But in their final four conference games of the season, the Bears — currently ranked third in the Ivy League — have no time to dwell on individual records and accolades as they continue to battle for what is becoming an increasingly slim shot at an Ivy League title.