Cornell advanced to the Sweet 16 with a convincing 87-69 victory over Wisconsin in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships at Jacksonville Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum Sunday afternoon.
Cornell becomes the first school from the Ivy League to make the Sweet 16 since Penn advanced all the way to Final Four in 1979 and the first school from the Ivy League to win multiple games in a single NCAA Tournament since 1983 when 12th-seeded Princeton defeated North Carolina A&T, 53-41, in the Opening Round and Oklahoma State, 56-53, in the West Region First Round.
The Big Red never trailed and led 43-31 at the half. They have not trailed in the NCAA Tournament since being down 5-4 to Temple on Friday afternoon. The Big Red has led or been tied for the last 77:17 of play. Cornell led by 24 points with 6:57 to play. The Ivy League champion scored 18 points on turnovers.
Cornell’s Louis Dale scored a career-high 26 points. His previous best was 24 points, reached three times. He also moved up to third on the school’s scoring list with 1,435 points, passing Ken Bantum (1,411 points from 1981-85) and Rey Mercedes (1,429 points from 1997-2001).
Ryan Wittman scored 24. Wittman increased his career total to 2,018. Wittman established a school record for points in a season with 586, breaking a record he set a season ago with 572.
He became the fifth player in the league with 2,000 points joining Princeton’s Bill Bradley (2,503 pts from 1962-65), Dartmouth’s Jim Barton (2,158 pts from 1985-1989), Yale’s Butch Graves (2,090 pts from 1980-84) and Brown’s Earl Hunt (2,041 pts from 1999-2003). He becomes the 11th active player with 2,000 points. Duke’s Jon Scheyer can join that list with six points against California.
Jeff Foote and Chris Wroblewski each added 12 while Jon Jaques scored 9 for the Big Red.
The Big Red earns their 29th victory, setting the league record for wins in a single season. They also set two team single-season records today. With 14 assists, the Big Red now has 535 for the season, breaking a record set during the 1950-51 season (530). They also broke a six-year-old record for steals in a season with 237. In 2003-04 the Big Red collected 236.
Cornell’s 18-point victory represents the largest margin of victory for an Ivy League school in an NCAA game since Columbia defeated St. Bonaventure in the East Region Consolation game, 78-60, on March 16, 1968.
The Badgers allowed the Big Red to shoot 61.1 percent for the game, the best percentage by a Wisconsin opponent since Indiana shot 70.2 percent in an 85-55 win against the Badgers on Feb. 24, 2001.
The 87 points scored by Cornell are the most by a Wisconsin opponent, in regulation since Arizona defeated Wisconsin, 94-75 in the First Round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament.
Wisconsin loses to a lower seed for the third time in the last four years (No. 7 UNLV defeated No. 2 Wisconsin, 74-68 in 2007 and No. 10 Davidson defeated No. 3 Wisconsin in 2008). Those three games represent head coach Bo Ryan’s only three losses to lower-seeded teams. He now owns an 11-3 record as the higher seed.
Wisconsin’s Jon Leuer led the Badgers with 23 points.