BELOIT, Wis. – Everything fell into place Tuesday night, sending Cornell's men's basketball team off to the postseason for the first time since 2009-10.
Coach Chad Murray's Rams rallied for a 67-59 road win over Beloit to clinch a spot in the four-team Midwest Conference Tournament, hosted by St. Norbert Feb. 24-25 in Green Bay, Wis.
Essentially needing to run the table after a Jan. 28 loss at St. Norbert, Cornell (11-11 overall, 10-7 MWC) did exactly that in picking up its fifth consecutive victory, marking the program's longest winning streak in seven seasons.
The Rams climbed into a three-way tie for third place with Lake Forest and Lawrence, who both lost Tuesday and will meet in Saturday's regular-season finale for a tournament berth.
Cornell holds tiebreakers over both teams, meaning it can lock up the No. 3 seed with a victory Saturday at Monmouth (6-16 overall, 6-11 MWC). The Rams beat the Scots last week, 73-62.
Cornell was in for a 40-minute battle against the upset-minded Buccaneers (6-16 overall, 4-13 MWC), who led 50-46 with 6:11 remaining in regulation.
The Rams turned momentum with a 13-2 spurt over the next three minutes as Jon Anderson (JR/Mexico, Mo.)'s layup put Cornell ahead 59-52. The run included conventional 3-point plays from Anderson and Craig Engle (SO/Marion, Iowa), a three from beyond the arc by Grant Anderson (SR/Homewood, Ill.), and a layup from Corey Davis (JR/Glendale Heights, Ill.).
The Rams sank eight straight free throws over the final 1:01, the last four from Davis to seal it. Cornell shot a sizzling 21-of-24 from the line for the game, while Beloit connected on just 1-of-4 attempts.
Davis poured in 13 of his game-high 21 points after intermission. The junior also led the team with nine rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Grant Anderson hit three 3-point goals and finished with 15 points. He added seven rebounds. Engle provided a solid 14-point night, draining all seven of his free throw tries.
Both teams shot 45 percent from the field. Beloit held a 31-30 rebounding edge.
|Cornell College 11-11 (10-7 MWC)||26||41||67|
|Beloit College 6-16 (4-13 MWC)||27||32||59|
|Feb. 14, 2017|
|Beloit, Wis., (Flood Arena)|
|Cornell College||Indv. Leaders||Beloit College|
|#20 Corey Davis - 21||Points||2 Players (#10,#05) - 12|
|#20 Corey Davis - 9||Rebounds||#55 Carlton Henning - 10|
|#20 Corey Davis - 4||Assists||2 Players (#21,#10) - 2|
|Cornell College||Team Statistics||Beloit College|
|45.5% (20 - 44)||Field Goals %||45.8% (27 - 59)|
|35.3% (6 - 17)||3 Point Field Goals %||21.1% (4 - 19)|
|87.5% (21 - 24)||Free Throws||25% (1 - 4)|
|2||2nd Chance Pts||2|