Friday, March 19, 2010
Halftime thoughts: Cornell 37, Temple 29
By Brian Bennett
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Quick halftime thoughts from Jacksonville Memorial Arena, where 12th-seeded Cornell leads fifth-seeded Temple 37-29:
This is no fluke. Cornell has been the better team on both ends, making more decisive cuts, playing solid defense and getting to loose balls. The Big Red are known for their three-point shooting, but they spread Temple out and drove to the basket. Cornell was just 2-for-7 behind the arc but made 11 of its 12 two-point attempts, most from point-blank range.
Temple rarely turns the ball over, but the Owls have been flustered against Cornell's defense. They have nine turnovers at halftime, nearly matching their season average already. That gave the Big Red some run-out opportunities and pushed the game's pace in favor of the Ivy Leaguers, who've scored 15 points off those miscues. Temple's deliberate style is not really built for big comebacks.
Jeff Foote is the best big man on the floor. Cornell's 7-footer is being used as a highly effective screener and passer, and he's scored nine points already, to go along with two blocks and a steal. Foote played near the top of a zone defense at times during the first half and disrupted Temple's passing lanes with his long arms.
Lots of empty seats here in this first session, but Cornell has more fans and is clearly the rooting interest of choice for the non-partisans in the building.