MOUNT VERNON – Cornell started to work its way back from a sizeable deficit, but ran out of steam in the closing stages of a 95-76 Midwest Conference setback to Beloit in Saturday's regular-season finale in the Small Multi-Sport Center.
The Rams finished the campaign at 8-15 – a five-win improvement from a year ago – with a regular starting lineup that did not include a senior. Cornell wound up seventh in the MWC at 7-11 in its first season back in the league since 1996-97.
Beloit (12-11, 10-8 MWC) had Saturday's contest seemingly in control, leading 64-37 with less than 12 minutes to go in the second half. The Rams staged a valiant comeback attempt, slicing the deficit to 12 points with a 30-15 spurt over the next six minutes.
Reggie Greenwood accounted for nine points during a 15-2 run that brought the Rams to 79-67 with 5:28 remaining. A jumper by Tabari Carter made it 85-74 with 3:22 to go, but the Buccaneers countered with 10 unanswered points to put the game out of reach.
Junior forward Joey Guth sparked the Ram rally, scoring 17 of his game-high 20 points in the second half. He was 6-of-7 from the field and 4-of-4 from the line after intermission.
Greenwood tossed in 18 points and also led the team with five rebounds. The all-conference guard raised his career scoring total to 986 points, with still one season left to go.
The Rams got 12 points and four rebounds from Nick Bobb. Alex Miller, one of three Rams recognized on Senior Day, capped a solid four-year career with 10 points. Peter Catchings and Carter added seven and six points, respectively, off the bench.
The Buccaneers rode hot shooting throughout, and hit a blistering 72.7 percent (16-of-22) from the field in the second half. Beloit, which led 38-24 at the half, shot 59.6 percent for the game.
Cornell forced the guests into 15 turnovers, 13 coming after intermission. Beloit won the battle on the boards, 33-25.
The Rams continued their sharp free-throw shooting (18-of-22) and finished a tad off the single-season school mark of 77.7 percent, set by the 2005-06 team. Cornell ended the season at 77.1 percent (346-of-449) from the line. The Rams entered the week No. 3 in Division III in free throw percentage.
A look ahead – Cornell will build toward the future with a starting lineup that included two juniors, two sophomores and a freshman this season. Juniors Guth (16.0 ppg) and Greenwood (15.7 ppg) both ranked among the MWC's top-10 in scoring, while hitting over 40 percent from three-point range.
Bobb (10.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg) had a solid sophomore season in which he shot 54.1 percent from the field. Catchings and Carter combined for 31 starts in their first seasons on the Hilltop. Freshman Ben Knake is among four other returnees that played in at least 17 games this season.