The men’s basketball team continued their season during the winter break from December into January, winning two of 10 games. In their most recent game against Cornell Sunday, the Bears erased a 21-point deficit but fell just short, losing 74-72.
Brown’s winter break contests included games against top opponents such as Syracuse University of the Atlantic Coast Conference and University of Maryland of the Big Ten.
The Bears lost 93-62 to Syracuse at the Carrier Dome Dec. 27. The Orange dominated with a strong performance, propelling them to victory despite the Bears’ deficit of six at halftime. Kino Lilly Jr. ’25 scored 13 points on 5-for-12 shooting, leading the Bears from the field. Captain Tamenang Choh GS led the team with seven rebounds, also scoring nine points. Dan Friday ’23 also contributed with eight points and five assists. The Orange, though, performed well from behind the arc, shooting 13-for-21. Lilly made 10 points in the final minutes, but ultimately the Bears were unable to overcome the Orange’s offense, which scored 25 points over the last 10 minutes. The game culminated in a 93-62 victory for Syracuse.
On Dec. 30, the Bears lost to Maryland 81-67 at the XFINITY Center. Though the Bears led the Terrapins by four at the half, the Big Ten rival clinched the victory with a strong second half. Choh led Brown with 25 points — almost tying his career high — and made seven rebounds and a pair of assists. Lilly scored 17 points and made three assists; forward Jaylan Gainey ’22 scored 10 points and made three blocks; and Paxson Wojcik ’23 contributed a career-high nine rebounds. Choh and Gainey together contributed 18 of the Bears’ first 20 points in the initial ten minutes of the game. Brown held a four-point lead several times throughout the first half, with the Bears’ largest lead of the game coming with less than three minutes left in the frame. Though Brown went up by six in the second half, the Terrapins scored the next 13 points to lead 52-45 with 12:40 remaining. The Bears were then unable to make a comeback, and the Terrapins emerged victorious at 81-67.
The Bears opened the conference portion of their Ivy League play on Jan. 2 at Penn. The Bears have now played all seven Ivy opponents this season, maintaining a 2-5 in-conference record.
The Bears lost to Penn 77-73 in their Ivy League. Though the game saw some highlights from the Bears — Choh tied his career-high of 26 points and scored his first double-double of the season after picking up 13 rebounds — the team ultimately lagged behind the Quakers by 10 points by the end of the first half and were unsuccessful in their rally attempts in the second half.
Brown defeated Harvard 84-73 at the Lavietes Pavilion Jan. 7, their first Ivy League win of the season. As a team, the Bears made almost 60% of the shots they took for three points — and with 15-for-26 shooting behind the arc, they made their most three-point field goals and had their highest three-point percentage of the season. Though the teams swapped leads for much of the game, the Bears sealed the win in the second half when Lilly scored two and Cowan scored three three-pointers in the final 15 minutes of the game. The game marks Brown’s fourth consecutive win over Harvard, the longest winning streak in the matchup since 2004.
In a second consecutive Ivy game, the Bears lost 58-46 to Dartmouth Jan. 8. Choh scored a game-high of 23 points and scored his second double-double of the season with 12 boards. Though Brown took a 10-0 lead in the opening minutes of the game, Dartmouth’s offense soon took the lead and held on to it.
Brown fell to Princeton 76-74 in another close contest Jan. 15. In the tight matchup, the teams traded leads 19 times with neither side gaining an advantage of more than six points. Lilly reached a career-high of 25 points, while Choh scored 18 points and registered a team-high seven assists and four rebounds.
Brown dropped their next game, a Jan. 17 tilt against Yale, 66-63. Choh led the team with a career-high 30 points, also recording his third double-double of the season with a game-high 12 rebounds. The Bulldogs took an eight-point lead in the beginning of the first half, though the Bears fought back to gain a tight 26-23 lead over the next eight minutes. Yale regained its lead in the last minutes of the first half, and over the second half, Yale built its lead to 13 points, enough to deliver them the win.
The Bears returned to winning ways Jan. 22, defeating Columbia 93-74. The game marked several highlights for the Bears: Four players scored in the double digits and the team forced the Lions into 22 turnovers while recording a season-high 14 steals.The teams exchanged leads rapidly in the first five minutes of the game. The Bears soon hit their stride with a 9-0 run, eventually leading to a 25-point lead after a steal and dunk by Cowen right after the opening of the second half. Though the Lions recorded a rapid 7-0 run with less than five minutes remaining before the buzzer, the Bears sealed their lead after Lilly hit a three with 2:47 left.
In a hard-fought game against Cornell Sunday afternoon, the Bears managed to fight back from a 21-point deficit at the start of the second half but the team ultimately fell short, losing 74-72 at the Pizzitola Sports Center.
“During the first half, we were really bad — both on offense and defense. We dug ourselves a huge hole,” Head Coach Mike Martin ’04 said in a statement to Brown Athletics. “Clearly, we did some great things to come back in the game, but those first 21 minutes are part of the game too, just like the last 19 minutes.”
Lilly tied the game twice in the final minutes, hitting a three that knotted up the game at 65 with less than four minutes to play. Over the next two minutes, Cornell brought its lead back up by five points, bringing the score to 72-67. Lilly scored another three-pointer, narrowing the deficit to two, just before scoring a layup with 32 seconds left on the clock that tied the score at 72.
Scoring 23 points, Lilly led both squads, adding two rebounds and two assists as well. Wojcik led the team with three assists, also scoring 16 points and securing four rebounds. Choh finished with 10 points, four rebounds and a pair of assists, despite remaining in foul trouble for much of the second half.
“We have to be better in the first half,” Lilly said. “We went down big in the first half, dug ourselves a big hole. We’ve got to be better than that.”
Cornell built its lead in the first half with a 53.1% shooting rate, surpassing Brown’s 35.7% first-half clip. Cornell hit 42.4% of their shots in the game, compared to Brown’s 39%.
“I was really proud of our effort in the second half,” Wojcik said. “But there’s no reason why we can’t play with that energy and that spirit for the whole game. We know what we are capable of when we play with that emotion; we just need to play with it for all 40 minutes.”
The Bears will head into their final back-to-back weekend of the season next week, taking on Harvard Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. and Dartmouth Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. at the Pizzitola Sports Center.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story contained passages with identical or nearly identical language to a news article on the official Brown Athletics website. These portions have since been revised. An Editors’ Note explaining this and other changes can be found here.