Despite a strong effort, the men’s basketball team (10-10, 3-4 Ivy) lost to Cornell (15-5, 5-2 Ivy), tied for first in the Ivy League, on Saturday afternoon. With the loss in Ithaca, Brown moved down to seventh in the Ivy League standings. The Big Red played at a fast pace and boasted a powerful offense, moving them to fourth in the country with 84.8 points per game.
“It’s a tough loss,” said Head Coach Mike Martin ’04 in a press conference following the game. “We certainly played well enough to win the game.”
Notable absences continued to plague Brown at Saturday’s game, with Dan Friday ’24, Malachi Ndur ’24 and Kalu Anya ’26 missing from the court. Still, captain Paxson Wojcik ’23 — the lone senior in the starting lineup — stepped up with a career-high 22 points, adding four assists and nine rebounds to his stat line. Wojcik shot 7-13 from the field and from 4-7 from three-point range on the afternoon. Kimo Ferrari ’24 earned his first start of the year, playing a season-high 31 minutes.
It’s “unfortunate to have some guys injured and out,” Wojcik wrote in a message to the Herald. “We are a bit short-handed but (we) have to have a next-man-up mentality. We are going to need guys to step up moving forward to fill those losses.”
Nana Owusu-Anane ’25, Kino Lilly Jr. ’25, Aaron Cooley ’25, Ferrari and Wojcik started the game for Brown. Brown jumped out to a 9-4 advantage in the fourth minute over Cornell on a Lilly Jr. three off a Cooley assist.
Brown and Cornell played a tight first half with multiple lead changes. Cornell led 33-32 with seconds remaining on the clock until Lilly Jr. dribbled the ball up the court and fed it to Wojcik, who hit a buzzer-beating three to elevate Brown above Cornell 35-33 entering halftime.
The Bears and the Big Red continued to play a competitive second half. With Brown trailing 63-59 in the middle of the fourth quarter, Owusu-Anane pulled down an offensive rebound by the baseline, nearly falling out of bounds as he tossed a bounce pass to Wojcik. Converting from behind the arc, Wojcik cut Brown’s deficit to two.
Despite Brown closing the gap, the Big Red responded with a 9-2 run, taking a 72-63 lead with 5:15 remaining in the game. But Bruno made a run of their own — sparked by Perry Cowan ’23 scoring off his own offensive rebound and capped by back-to-back threes from Wojcik and Lilly Jr. — to trail by only two, 75-73, with three minutes on the clock.
But the Bears’ offense went cold from that point on. With a scoreless final three minutes, the Bears would lose to the Big Red, 80-73.
Brown was “down by two after Kino hit a big shot with three minutes left,” Martin said. “We didn’t score the rest of the game.”
In addition to Wojcik’s impressive performance, Lilly Jr., who ranks third in the Ivy League in points per game, contributed 17. Owusu-Anane, coming off a dominant 27-point and 18-rebound performance in a win against Columbia, tallied nine points, 12 rebounds, two steals and two blocks on the afternoon.
Bruno shot 27-71 (38%) from the field and 13-39 (33.3%) from behind the arc. The Bears continued to struggle from the foul line, shooting 6-10 (60%). The Bears’ 59.6% free-throw percentage this season is the lowest in the Ivy League and the second-worst of all Division I programs.
Wojcik wrote that he was “obviously disappointed in the result but proud of the team and the way we competed. I thought we played really well and in the end just had a couple of things not go our way.”
The loss was “disappointing, but certainly we’ll learn from it and come back and respond next weekend,” Martin added.
The Bears will kick off the second half of Ivy play against Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H. on Friday at 6 p.m. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.