Second-Half Comeback Not Enough as Men’s Basketball Falls to Cornell, 77-65

Johnson tallied 15 points and eight rebounds (Jay Metzger).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Despite erasing a 15-point halftime deficit, the Harvard men's basketball fell late against Cornell, 77-65, Friday night at Lavietes Pavilion.

Zena Edosomwan notched his eighth double-double of the season with 24 points, including 17 in the second half, and a team-best 10 rebounds. Tommy McCarthy followed with 16 points and eight assists, while Corey Johnson added 15 points and eight rebounds. 

Matt Morgan carried the load for Cornell (8-9, 1-2 Ivy League) with 33 points with a career-high 33 points, sinking 12-of-13 from the line.

Trailing 40-25 at the half, Harvard (9-10, 1-2 Ivy League) stormed back to take the lead seven minutes in the second frame. The Crimson and Cornell exchanged baskets the next 10 minutes as the lead changed hands 12 times before Big Red went on a 13-0 run to close the game and seal the victory.

Harvard will return to Lavieties Pavilion tomorrow to take on Columbiav at 7 p.m. The game can be seen live on the Ivy League Digital Network.

Defense was the focal point early on as Harvard led Cornell 4-2 at the first media break. A McCarthy 3-pointer and an Edosomwan dunk sparked the Crimson to a 9-3 run to take an eight point lead, but Cornell clawed back to go back on top at 14-12 midway through the first half.

Harvard and Cornell exchanged baskets before the Big Red went on a 9-0 run to hold a 28-22 advantage with just over four minutes remaining. Johnson broke the run converting a drive in the lane, but Cornell's offense exploded again, closing out the half with a 12-3 stretch to hold a 40-25 margin at halftime.

Johnson paced Harvard offensively through the first 20 minutes, notching team-highs with seven points and seven rebounds, while adding two blocks. Agunwa Okolie followed with six points and grabbed five rebounds.

Harvard found its offensive groove to start the second half with Edosomwan leading the Crimson on an 18-2 run to regain the lead at 43-42 just over six minutes in. Edosomwan totaled eight points during the run as Johnson chipped in five.

McCarthy buried a 3-pointer to make it a 50-46 game, but Cornell came back to tie it at 50 on a Morgan 3-pointer. The teams exchanged baskets over the next five-plus minutes, until another Morgan triple put the Big Red in front, 67-65. That shot keyed Cornell's 12-0 run to close the game as the Big Red escaped Cambridge with the 77-65 victory.

Game Notes: Harvard overcame a 15-point halftime deficit with an 18-2 run to take a 43-42 lead with 13:29 to play … Harvard's 51 rebounds were the second most under Tommy Amaker and the second 50-rebound performance this season (59 vs. Ryerson, Jan. 12) … Zena Edosomwan finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the year … Tommy McCarthy matched his career-high with 16 points and grabbed a career-best six rebounds … Corey Johnson also set a career-high with eight rebounds … Harvard has made at least five 3-pointers in 18-of-19 games.