PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Mike Martin became the winningest head coach in the history of Brown men's basketball as the Bears took down Cornell 80-66 on Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Pizzitola Sports Center. The win was the 134th of Martin's career, breaking the 54-year-old record previously held by Stanley Ward.
"It means a whole lot," Brown senior guard Paxson Wojcik said when asked what Martin setting the record means to the team. "We were aware of it coming into the game, but our focus, like coach wanted it to be, was getting the job done regardless of the record. He's very selfless, so he's not going to talk about it, but it's really special and we're all really proud of him. We were excited to get it done, especially at home in front of a really nice crowd."
The win pushes Brown to 13-10 on the season and 6-4 in Ivy League play. Cornell falls to 15-8 and 5-5. The victory puts the Bears in position to control their own fate down the stretch of the season as Ivy Madness draws closer. With the result, Brown is tied for third in the Ivy standings with Penn, just one game behind first-place Princeton at 7-3.
"We're really happy for our players with how hard they've worked all week long," Martin said. "I thought our offense and defense complimented each other really well for pretty much the whole game. We shared the ball offensively and got great shots, and we took what the defense gave us. Defensively, I thought our physicality and ball pressure disrupted them a little bit.
"I said to the guys in the locker room, we've got to get better at playing with a 30-point lead. But that's a good problem for us to have at this point. These guys [Wojcik and Dan Friday] led the way and had a lot of help from their teammates."
Kino Lilly Jr. had his third straight game of 21+ points as he dropped 25 on a 76.9% (10-for-13) shooting performance. Wojcik recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds, while adding six assists. Friday contributed 16 points, five rebounds and a career-high seven assists. Nana Owusu-Anane had eight points, seven boards and three assists.
The win gave the Bears just their third three-game Ivy League winning streak in the last eight years. Their sixth conference victory also surpasses last year's total of five with four games remaining.
"I really just want to focus on what we have ahead of us," Martin said. "We're in the thick of a championship hunt, hopefully. We've got a lot of work to do. It's one day at a time, one game at a time. I really just want to focus on that and we'll have time in the offseason, or way down the road, to reflect.”
A Brown Class of 2004 graduate, Martin became the 31st head men’s basketball coach in the program’s 107-year history in 2012. A native of Agawam, Mass., and an economics concentrator as a Brown undergraduate, he was a four-year starter for the Bears and part of the winningest class in the Brown basketball history, posting a 63-45 four-year record from 2000 to 2004. At the time of his graduation, Martin ranked third all-time at Brown in career three-pointers (143), ninth in career steals (113) and 10th in career assists (232).
"I just know that I work with special people,” Martin said after capturing the all-time wins record as head coach. “That's now, that's always. The student-athletes, the support staff, our administration, our fans, our people, our alumni. It's a special place because of the people. I will share that, but we're focused on enjoying this win, building on it and having a great week getting ready for next week."
The Bears head back out on the road for their final back-to-back Ivy League weekend of the season next week. Brown will play at Princeton on Friday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. before heading to Penn for a 6 p.m. matchup on Saturday, Feb. 18.
This story was adapted from coverage by Brown Athletics; the full story is available on BrownBears.com.