Minutemen Fall In Home Opener, 74-61, To Cornell
Nov. 18, 2009
AMHERST, Mass. - Despite a 26-point performance from Ricky Harris and a 37-27 rebounding advantage, the UMass men's basketball team fell in its home opener, 74-61, to Cornell on Wednesday night at the Mullins Center. Louis Dale tied a career-high with 24 points to lead the Big Red. Anthony Gurley and Terrell Vinson both scored in double figures for the Minutemen (0-2) with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Dale was 4-for-9 behind the arc, as the Big Red was 8-for-21 from 3-point range for the game. The Minutemen shot 36.7 percent (18-for-49) for the game, including 4-for-16 from long range.
With his 26 points, Harris moved past two UMass legends on the program's career scoring list. In the first half, a 3-pointer moved him past Julius Erving (1,370 points) and a layup in the second half surpassed Marcus Camby (1,387). With 1,388 points, the senior guard now sits in 12th place all-time at UMass.
Two straight driving layups by Harris, one in which he was fouled and completed the three-point play, staked the Minutemen to an early 5-1 lead. The Big Red would quickly find its shooting touch from the outside, hitting two 3-pointers in a 8-0 run that gave them a 9-5 lead four and a half minutes in. Cornell would keep the lead throughout the first half, as both offenses struggled, with each team shooting 7-for-22 (31.8%) at the four minute mark with the Big Red holding a 25-19 lead.
Harris hit a 3-pointer with 59 seconds left in the half that pulled the Minutemen to within three, 31-28. It was the Minutemen's lone field goal from behind the arc in the half, as they attempted just five. The shot moved Harris past Erving, doing so in his 100th game wearing the Maroon & White.
The teams went into halftime with the Big Red holding a five-point lead, 33-28, despite the Minutemen holding a 24-10 advantage in rebounding. Both teams shot identical 9-for-26 (34.6%) in the half, but UMass was hampered by 11 turnovers.
Cornell scored the first six points of the second half, building its lead to 11, but a Harris 3-pointer and two free throws by the senior guard on the next possession cut the deficit back to six, 39-33, with 16:49 left.
Dale then caught fire for the Big Red, scoring 11 straight Cornell points in a row, including three 3-pointers, build the Cornell lead to 12, but Harris responded by scoring the Minutemen's next eight points and cutting the deficit to six with 9:25 left.
The Minutemen pulled within seven, 66-59, on two Freddie Riley free throws with 2:07 left, but the Big Red, as it did throughout the evening, made its free throws down the stretch.
The Minutemen return to action on Saturday when they continue play in the Legends Classic by hosting Arkansas-Fort Smith at 7 p.m. at the Mullins Center.
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