Men’s Hoops Drops Non-League Finale at Cornell
ITHACA, N.Y. – Sophomore Kyle Stout broke out of his shooting slump, tying a career-high with 17 points, but the Lafayette men’s basketball team couldn’t come back from a 10-point halftime deficit, falling on the road at Cornell by an 80-71 score on Wednesday evening.
Cornell’s Matt Morgan, who came into the night averaging 23.1 points per game, good enough for 12th in the national rankings, was tough to stop, leading all scorers with 26 points, going 11-of-19 from the field. Senior co-captain Matt Klinewski led the Lafayette side with 21 on an efficient 8-of-11 from the field, tying a career-high of his own with four assists.
With the loss, the Leopards finish the non-conference season with an overall record of 2-9. Cornell improves to 5-4 with four more games before Ivy League play begins on Jan. 12.
Stout added a season-high eight rebounds to the best performance of his second season on College Hill. Freshman Alex Petrie was the other Leopard in double-figures with 12 points, while junior Paulius Zalys also put in a solid effort with eight points and seven boards.
Lafayette knocked down 28-of-60 from the field (43.3%) and 10-of-27 from three on the night, finishing even in assists and turnovers with 13 each. The Big Red went 30-of-62 from the floor (48.4%) and 8-of-22 from distance (36.4%), assisting on 18 of those 30 field goals.
The offenses for both sides came out firing in the opening four minutes as a pair of triples from Klinewski pushed Lafayette to an early 10-7 lead. But Morgan came back to swing the lead to the home side with four straight around the 12-minute media timeout to put Cornell up one, 14-13.
Four from the Big Red out of the break stretched their lead to six at 19-13 with 10:43 to play in the half, but another triple from Klinewski, his fourth of the half, cut it back to three at 21-18 a minute later. Another run from Cornell, this time with eight unanswered, swung momentum their way for the remainder of the half, taking a 45-35 advantage into the halftime break.
Lafayette came out strong in the second half as a Klinewski finish through a foul made it a five-point game less than a minute in. However, Cornell responded as back-to-back buckets from Stone Gettings stretched the advantage back out to eight at 56-48 with 14:59 remaining.
That lead grew by five over the next three-minute stretch as six straight from Morgan made it 64-51 with 11:20 to play. A powerful Joel Davis dunk at the 7:50 mark expanded the edge to 16, but Stout responded with a three from the right wing to take the game into the eight-minute timeout with Lafayette trailing by 12, 71-58.
Cornell kept answering every Lafayette run down the stretch as a Morgan finish over sophomore Myles Cherry through a foul with 4:43 left put the lead at 14, 76-62. The Leopards closed the game with nine of the final 11 points to make it interesting, but time ran out on an 80-71 final.
The Leopards head into an eight-day break before Patriot League play opens on Dec. 29. Lafayette will host Lehigh at Kirby Sports Center with tipoff scheduled for 7 p.m.