Monday, November 30, 2009

Cornell No. 10 Mid Major for Third Consecutive Week

Above, Cornell's coaching staff. From left to right, Nat Graham, Steve Donahue (head coach), Kevin App and Woody Kampmann.

Each week of the season The Cornell Basketball Blog posts the rankings in the Mid Major Top 25 Poll as voted upon on

In the November 30 (week no. 3) edition of the Mid Major Top 25 Poll, Cornell held steady for the third consecutive week at its No. 10 ranking. Cornell's rankings this season are as follows:
During the last two seasons, Cornell was the only Ivy League team to receive recognition in the final results. Cornell concluded 2008-2009 in 29th position after finishing the 2007-2008 season ranked No. 18.

Roughly 200 Division I teams comprise The Mid-Major Poll (out of 347 Division I teams). Eligible teams are from the following conferences: America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Great West, Horizon, Independents, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Continent, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Sun Belt, West Coast.





1. Gonzaga (31) 5-1 775 2
2. Butler 4-2 743 1
3. Portland 5-1 622 9
4. Northern Iowa 4-1 607 7
5. Illinois State 6-0 598 12
6. VCU 4-1 554 6
7. Old Dominion 4-2 550 3
8. Siena 4-2 531 4
9. Western Kentucky 2-2 461 5
10. Cornell 5-2 451 10
11. Akron 5-2 450 18
12. George Mason 3-3 367 11
13. St. Mary's 4-1 360 22
14. Rider 4-3 302 14
15. Niagara 4-3 262 15
16. Murray State 5-1 202 23
17. Northeastern 2-2 199 16
18. Cal State Fullerton 3-0 171 21
19. Long Beach State 4-3 167 17
20. Wright State 3-2 123 13
21. Ohio 4-1 118 19
22. Detroit 4-2 116 20
23. Northern Colorado 5-0 112 25
24. Bradley 4-2 96 NR
25. Western Carolina 5-1 92 NR

OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES: Missouri State 87, Texas-San Antonio 86, San Diego 84, Morgan State 79, Kent State 73, Southern Illinois 66, South Alabama 46, Pacific 44, UC Santa Barbara 42, Wichita State 37, Cleveland State 28, Radford 26, Indiana State 24, Iona 24, Buffalo 23, Eastern Michigan 23, Wisconsin Green-Bay 21, Milwaukee 20, Sam Houston State 18, Oakland 17, Wofford 17, IUPUI 16, Coastal Carolina 15, Vermont 13, Appalachian State 12, Denver 12, Troy 10, College of Charleston 10, Davidson 8, Montana 8, Campbell 7, Norfolk State 7, Creighton 6, Mount St Mary's 6, Stony Brook 6, Eastern Kentucky 5, North Texas 5, Furman 4, Seattle 4, Ball State 3, Canisius 3, Harvard 3, Loyola 3, Morehead State 2, Army 1, Bucknell 1, Chicago State 1, South Carolina State 1.

VOTING PANEL: Randy Bennett (St. Mary's), Will Brown (Albany), Rick Byrd (Belmont), Dave Calloway (Monmouth), Kermit Davis (Middle Tennessee), Steve Donahue (Cornell), Anthony Evans (Norfolk State), James Fox (Davidson), Mike Gillian (Longwood), Steve Hawkins (Western Michigan), Dick Hunsaker (Utah Valley), Eddie Jackson (American), Kerry Keating (Santa Clara) *, Billy Kennedy (Murray State), Tod Kowalczyk (UW-Green Bay), Jim Larranaga (George Mason), Jim Les (Bradley), Mike Lonergan (Vermont), Bob Marlin (Sam Houston State), Gregg Marshall (Wichita State), Tom Moore (Quinnipiac), Jimmy Patsos (Loyola MD), Tom Pecora (Hofstra), Vann Pettaway (Alabama A&M), Rick Scruggs (Gardner-Webb), John Shulman (Chattanooga), Brad Stevens (Butler), Gary Stewart (UC Davis), Scott Sutton (Oral Roberts), Wayne Tinkle (Montana), Ernie Zeigler (Central Michigan)

* Santa Clara head coach Kerry Keating is the chairman of the Top 25 voting panel for the 2008-09 season.

NOTE: The Mid-Major Poll is made up of teams from the following conferences: America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Great West, Horizon, Independents, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Summit, Sun Belt, West Coast.

The CollegeInsider.Com Mid-Major Top 25 is now in its eleventh season of existence.

Around the Rim with Brian Delaney and the Ithaca Journal

By Brian Delaney
Ithaca Journal
November 30, 2009

At the beginning of Sunday's post-game press conference, minutes after Cornell dispatched Drexel for its third straight win, Steve Donahue got choked up.

The win was nice, but it was no different than any other non-league road victory in November. No one's season ended. No dreams were crushed. To those who don't follow the Big Red, Donahue's emotions were probably more cause for confusion than anything else.

But they were certainly sincere, evoked by two game-sealing free throws knocked down by Jon Jaques in the final seconds.

Donahue then did the best thing he could think of to reward his senior tri-captain. He selected Jaques (pronounced 'Jakes') to the Legends Classic Philadelphia Subregional all-tournament team.

"I can't say enough about Jon Jaques," Donahue said. "I know people were surprised by that, but (deep breath). To me, it's um, he's what we're all about. No one cares about how it gets done, and that kid (deep breath, long pause) ... Yeah, let me finish with that, just because he's our captain. Three years of not playing. You don't know how difficult those two foul shots are for a kid like that. And then to go in and knock them down when we've got two guys in foul trouble, a guy hurt and a guy with the flu, he doesn't miss a beat with everything we do.

"He does everything we ask as a teammate and a member of our team, and that's why we're good."

Within the program, Jaques -- a 6-foot-7 small forward with a sweet shooting stroke -- is as well-liked and as valued as anyone. For four years, he's donned a white practice jersey and played the role of the upcoming opponent's best wing player. On game days, he has sat on the bench offering encouragement and advice to teammates, embracing his role as deep reserve and setting an example for younger players who could very well leapfrog him on the depth chart.

His best stat lines at Cornell have come against Division III opponents like Ithaca College, Alvernia and Ursinus. In the public eye, he's more known for his occasional blog entries on The New York Times Web site than his shot-making ability.

Donahue has always maintained that five or six years ago, a player of Jaques' talents would have seen significant minutes. But for the last 2 1/2 seasons, Jaques has merely been caught in a numbers game on a winning team.

On Sunday, it was numbers that opened a door. Starting forward Alex Tyler sat out with an injury. Replacement Adam Wire picked up three fouls in three minutes and center Jeff Foote drew two fouls and sat for the final 8:37 of the first half.

Jaques played 11 first-half minutes. He didn't score, but he was not a liability. Far from it. He came away with a steal, a rebound and played good defense. And in a free-throw shooting situation late, Donahue did not hesitate to sub Jaques in for Foote.

"This was special," Jaques said. "Obviously my first significant minutes in a while, so it was special to come in and help the team win. Even if I hadn't made the free throws, I was happy with how I was contributing."

His teammates loved it.

"He loves basketball more than anybody on this team," Tyler said. "To see him go out there and actually get some minutes and play well, it's so great when somebody has a chance and they're given a chance and they take advantage of it. Everyone on this team loves it when he gets an opportunity like that."

Jaques' contributions are likely not done. Tyler is targeting the Dec. 20-21 series at Madison Square Garden for his return. Cornell visits Bucknell on Wednesday and hosts St. Joseph's on Sunday.


What the?

Rare occurrence alert: On Nov. 24, Drexel beat Penn at the Palestra, 58-49. Incredibly, neither team hit a 3-pointer.

Drexel was 0-for-11, and Penn was 0-for-8. Credit Penn's Mike Mahoney for this tidbit: the last time two teams didn't make a 3 was Feb. 9, 2002, when Charleston Southern and Elon went a combined 0-for-18.

Weekly honors

For the second time this season, Cornell's Ryan Wittman will split the Ivy League Men's Basketball Player of the Week award.

Wittman and Columbia's Noruwa Agho shared the honor.

Cornell and Columbia, by the way, again open the Ivy schedule with a Saturday home-and-home. They might very well be the league's two best teams.'s Seth Davis Discusses Cornell

CNN/'s Seth Davis writes the following today with respect to Cornell:
Alabama's wins over Baylor and Michigan make Cornell's win in Tuscaloosa look that much more impressive. Could this be a year when an Ivy League team wins a game in the NCAA tournament? Me thinks it could be so.

Cornell Receives Vote for Coaches' USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Poll

After Cornell earned votes in the A.P. and the Coaches' Top 25 polls during the week of 11/16, Cornell is back in the Coaches' Poll votes column, earning 1 vote for the week of November 30. Below is the poll, Cornell opponents are in boldface.

Coaches Poll
1Kansas (30)5-07741
2Texas 5-07303
3Villanova 6-06854
4Kentucky 6-06465
5Duke (1)6-06427
6Purdue 5-06326
7Syracuse 6-05879
8West Virginia 5-05868
9Michigan State 5-15322
10Washington 5-045814
11North Carolina 6-145212
12Tennessee 5-140311
13Connecticut 4-135613
14Georgetown 4-031619
15Ohio State 5-130918
16Gonzaga 5-127028
17Florida 6-024444
18Louisville 4-115616
19Clemson 6-114219
20Butler 4-213210
21UNLV 5-010132
22Texas A&M 5-19342
23Georgia Tech 4-19225
24Cincinnati 4-1820
25California 4-27523
Others Receiving Votes: Oklahoma State(6-0) 71; Florida State(6-1) 62; Portland(5-1) 62; Vanderbilt(4-1) 51; Miami (Fla.)(7-0) 47; Michigan(3-2) 45; Marquette(6-1) 44; Brigham Young(5-0) 36; Minnesota(4-2) 24; St. John's(5-0) 20; Arizona State(5-1) 19; Mississippi(5-1) 18; Washington State(6-0) 12; Kansas State(5-1) 11; Wisconsin(4-1) 11; Memphis(3-1) 8; Pittsburgh(5-1) 8; Texas Tech(7-0) 7; Missouri(4-1) 5; Illinois State(6-0) 4; Dayton(3-2) 3; Maryland(4-2) 2; New Mexico(6-0) 2; St. Mary's(4-1) 2; Notre Dame(6-1) 2; Cornell(5-2) 1; Richmond(6-1) 1; Illinois(4-2) 1; Utah State(3-2) 1

The USA TODAY/ESPN Board of Coaches is made up of 31 head coaches at Division I institutions. All are members of the National Association of Basketball Coaches. The board for the 2009-10 season: Mike Adras, Northern Arizona; Dana Altman, Creighton; Tommy Amaker, Harvard; Tevester Anderson, Jackson State; Ronnie Arrow, South Alabama; Randy Bennett, Saint Mary's; Eddie Biedenbach, North Carolina-Asheville; Jim Boeheim, Syracuse; Rick Byrd, Belmont; Charlie Coles, Miami (Ohio); Steve Fisher, San Diego State; Greg Graham, Boise State; Rob Jeter, Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Billy Kennedy, Murray State; Billy Lange, Navy; Dan Leibovitz, Hartford; Fran McCaffery, Siena; Mike McConathy, Northwestern State; Bob McKillop, Davidson; Phil Martelli, Saint Joseph's; Ron "Fang" Mitchell, Coppin State; Matt Painter, Purdue; Tom Pecora, Hofstra; John Pelphrey, Arkansas; Mike Rice, Robert Morris; Doc Sadler, Nebraska; Herb Sendek, Arizona State; Scott Sutton, Oral Roberts; Bob Williams, UC-Santa Barbara; Gary Williams, Maryland; Doug Wojcik, Tulsa.

News and Notes

Above, Ryan Wittman is presented the Legends Classic-Philadelphia Subegional MVP award, while Jon Jaques below, moves to center court as he is awarded All Tournament honors.

Below, Wittman's honor as MVP was not as surprising.

Below, some news and notes from the afternoon...
  • Cornell's three wins this weekend at the Legends Classic were quite impressive when all circumstances are considered. The Big Red won three games in three days without two of the team's top nine players. Starting power forward, Alex Tyler (hamstring) and reserve guard, Max Groebe (flu), both missed the final two games of the tournament. Cornell also knocked off a Drexel team in its own gym. This is the same Drexel team that beat Ivy rival, Penn quite convincingly, 58-49 in Penn's Palestra.
  • Since Cornell knocked off Alabama 67-71 on November 14 in the season opener for both teams, the Crimson Tide have improved to 4-2, claiming wins over Providence, Baylor and No. 15 Michigan.
  • Although Cornell lost 89-79 to Seton Hall on November 20, the Pirates are off to a 4-0 start. In fact, the other team to knock off Cornell, No. 9/10 Syracuse is 6-0. Although 'Cuse beat Cornell by 15 points, 88-73, Cornell played Syracuse the toughest this season of any opponent. Syracuse beat Columbia by 25, Albany by 32, Robert Morris by 40, California by 22, and North Carolina by 16. The Cal and Carolina wins were also on neutral courts, while Cornell lost in the Carrier Dome.
  • Cornell could have another opportunity for a signature win over a Big East team. St. John's is off to a 5-0 start, claiming wins over St. Bonaventure, Temple and Siena. The Big Red could meet the Red Storm in the December 21 championship game of the Madison Square Garden Holiday Festival.
  • We've received a lot of questions as to who voted for the Legends Classic All Tournament Team. The answer is the four participating coaches. Ryan Wittman was the MVP while Cornell's Jon Jaques also made the All Tournament team. While Jaques did not have the attractive stats of some other players, he was inserted into the Cornell rotation in place of injured players-- Alex Tyler and Max Groebe-- and contributed some big plays, particulary on the defensive end that will never show up in the stat books.

Youth Gone Wild: Cornell Basketball Teams To Offer Free Youth Clinic On Dec. 12

* Basketball Clinic Flyer

ITHACA, N.Y. -- The Cornell men's and women's basketball teams will conduct a free youth clinic on Saturday, Dec. 12, beginning at 10 a.m. at Newman Arena in Bartels Hall. Members of both teams and coaching staffs will work with elementary school-aged children in a one-hour session, followed by a free-throw shooting competition to benefit the United Way of Tompkins County. That will begin at 11 a.m. and last an hour. Each player will be seeking donations for each free-throw made to help raise money for the United Way.

For more information, contact Cornell assistant basketball coach Woody Kampmann at (607) 255-0491.

Cornell Athletics Reports on Wittman's Player of the Week Award

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Senior Ryan Wittman was named the Ivy League co-Player of the Week for the second time in 2009-10 after helping the team to a 3-1 week on the road, including victories over Vermont and Drexel to go 3-0 at the Legends Classic regional. He was also named Ivy League co-Player of the Week on Nov. 17, sharing the award with Harvard's Jeremy Lin. He shares this week's award with Columbia's Noruwa Agho.

Wittman averaged 17.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.3 steals while starting all four contests. Not only was he named the most valuable player of the Legends Classic tournament regional, but he also established a new Ivy League record for career 3-pointers during the week with the nine he hit. He surpassed Princeton great Brian Early (281) and ended the week with 288. Wittman scored 18 or more points in three of he four games, opening the week with 19 points and five rebounds against No. 9 Syracuse. He answered that with 20 points and two steals in a win over Toledo, a 12-point effort against Vermont and 18 points and six rebounds at Drexel. Through seven games for the 5-2 Big Red, Wittman is averaging 17.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per contest.

The Big Red will be back in action on Wednesday, Dec. 2, when it faces Bucknell at Sojka Pavilion. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

Ivy Awards: Wittman Wins Second Ivy Player of the Week Award

Cornell's Ryan Wittman was named Co-Ivy League Player of the Week by the Ivy League Office. With respect to Wittman, the Ivy Office notes:
Cornell senior Ryan Wittman (Eden Prairie, Minn.) averaged 17.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.3 steals in helping the Big Red go 3-1 this past weekend, all on the road. Not only was he named the most valuable player of the Legends Classic tournament regional, but he also established a new Ivy League record for career 3-pointers with the nine he hit. He surpassed Princeton great Brian Earl (281) and ended the week with 288. Wittman scored 18 or more points in three of he four games, opening the week with 19 points and five rebounds against No. 9 Syracuse. He answered that with 20 points and two steals in a win over Toledo, a 12-point effort against Vermont and 18 pints and six rebounds at Drexel. Through seven games for the 5-2 Big Red, Wittman is averaging 17.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per contest.

November 16 — Ryan Wittman, F, Cornell / Jeremy Lin, G, Harvard
November 23 —
Matt Mullery, C, Brown / Noruwa Agho, G, Columbia
November 30 — Noruwa Agho, G, Columbia / Ryan Wittman, F, Cornell
December 7 —
December 14 —
December 21 —
December 28 —
January 4 —
January 11 —
January 18 —
January 25 —
February 1 —
February 8 —
February 15 —
February 22 —
March 1 —
March 8 —

November 16 — Dee Giger, G, Harvard
November 23 —
Andrew McCarthy, F, Brown
November 30 — Matt Sullivan, G, Brown
December 7 —
December 14 —
December 21 —
December 28 —
January 4 —
January 11 —
January 18 —
January 25 —
February 1 —
February 8 —
February 15 —
February 22 —
March 1 —
March 8 —

News and Notes

Below, some news and notes...
  • Below, some notes from Cornell's weekend action during the Legends Classic.
  1. While Max Groebe appeared in the subregional opener against Toledo on Firday, Groebe stayed in the team's hotel on Saturday when Cornell faced Vermont. Groebe is reportedly battling flu like symptoms. He did attend the third game on Sunday against Drexel, but did not dress.
  2. Alex Tyler missed both the Vermont and Drexel games with a hamstring injury which will keep him out (as a precautionary measure) until the Holiday Classic on December 20 in Madison Square Garden. While Tyler could play this week, if pressed, the team does not want to risk further injury and losing him for Ivy League play.
  3. Class of '09 alums, Conor Mullen and Khalig Gant both attended Cornell's win over Drexel on Sunday, as did Randy Wittman, father of Cornell's Ryan Wittman. The elder Wittman, currently an assistant coach with the Washington Wizards, hopes to attend roughly five more games this season.
  4. Cornell red-shirt transfer, Anthony Gatlin attended all three games in Philadelphia as a spectator.
  5. At the conclusion of the Legends Classic, the Gazelle Group held a trophy presentation ceremony and awarded Jon Jacques and Ryan Wittman a place on the All-Tournament teams. Wittman was MVP. Jacques had priceless shock expression on his face when he won the award and nobody in the gym applauded louder than coach Steve Donahue when Jon's name was announced.
  • Folowing Cornell's win over Drexel on Sunday, Jon Tannenwald, a Penn alum and blogger for asked Drexel head coach Bruiser Flint how Cornell stacks up against the better Penn teams he's faced. Flint responded, "They're not as athletic as those guys. Penn always had two or three guys who athletically were just - and that's why they dominated. They don't have an Archibong or an Onyekwe, or a Michael Jordan. They're a good team, but athletically, Penn was just a little bit better. What [the Big Red] do, they do well. They run their offense, they shoot the hell out of the ball, they make good passes. They're a good team in that respect."
  • notes that Cornell's win over UMass could be a pivotal game come tournament selection time. The site writes, "The Minutemen had a great opportunity to get a leg up on the Ivy League power, but stumbled badly with a 13 point home loss to the Big Red."
  • Cornell's Adam Wire gets mention in his hometown newspaper, The Pilot. The article notes:
Wire Continues to Contribute
Pinecrest graduate Adam Wire is continuing to contribute to what may go down in history as the golden era of men's basketball at Cornell University.

The Big Red is off to a 3-2 start in a season that will be marked by a bid to win its third Ivy League title in a row. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound junior forward from Southern Pines provides a unique range of skills off the bench that complement a strong offensive team. As a sophomore, he led his team in steals and was third in the league while averaging 14 minutes of action per game.

Wire saw only brief action as the Ithaca, N.Y. college opened the season with a 71-67 victory at Alabama, the program's first win over an SEC team in 37 years. Then in a 74-61 win against Massachusetts, Cornell's first-ever over that school, he scored seven points, grabbed seven rebounds and handed out two assists.

The former all-conference player for the Patriots went 5-for-5 from the field and scored 11 points to go with five boards in an 89-79 loss at home against Seton Hall. The Big Red suffered an 88-73 loss at Syracuse on Wednesday before defeating Toledo 78-60 in Philadelphia Friday afternoon.

Below, recent results and upcoming action around the Ivy League. (click here for a composite Ivy League schedule)

Friday, November 13
Yale 86 Sacred Heart 92(Connecticut Six) Box Score - Recap
Brown 68 St. Francis (N.Y.) 64 Box Score - Recap
Dartmouth 58 Boston College 89 Box Score - Recap
Harvard 87 Holy Cross 77 Box Score - Recap
Penn 55 Penn State 70 Box Score - Recap

Saturday, November 14
Princeton 71 Central Michigan 68 Box Score - Recap
Cornell 71 Alabama 67 Box Score - Recap

Sunday, November 15

Brown 55 Virginia Tech 69 Box Score - Recap
William & Mary 85 Harvard 87 (3OT) Box Score - Recap
Dartmouth 44 George Mason 60 Box Score - Recap

Monday, November 16

Yale 63 Hofstra 68 (NIT at Storrs CT)
Box Score - Recap
Penn 65 Villanova 103 Box Score - Recap

Tuesday, November 17
Yale 65 Colgate 55 (NIT Storrs CT)
Box Score - Recap
Columbia53 DePaul 59 [SNY] Box Score - Recap

Wednesday, November 18
Rhode Island 78 Brown 57
Box Score - Recap
Manhattan 54 Princeton 61 Box Score - Recap
Cornell 74 UMass 61 Box Score - Recap

Friday, November 20
Brown 76 St. John's 79
Box Score - Recap
Longwood 61 Columbia 72 Box Score - Recap
Seton Hall 89 Cornell 79 Box Score - Recap
Bryant 51 Harvard 77
Box Score - Recap

Saturday, November 21
Army 56 Princeton 52
Box Score - Recap
Dartmouth 60 Furman 83 Box Score - Recap
Delaware 97 Penn 94 2OT Box Score - Recap
Quinnipiac 71 Yale 64 Box Score - Recap

Sunday, November 22
Maine 62 Brown 75
Box Score - Recap

Monday, November 23
Harvard 53 Army 56
Box Score - Recap
Charlotte 88. Yale 74 NIT Box Score - Recap

Tuesday, November 24
Princeton 50 George Washington 65
Box Score - Recap
Cornell 73 Syracuse 88 Box Score - Recap
Loyola (Md.) 58 Dartmouth 41
Box Score - Recap
Bucknell 59 Columbia 73 Box Score - Recap
Drexel 58 Penn 49 Box Score - Recap
Elon 65 Yale 69 NIT Box Score - Recap

Wednesday, November 25
Brown 70 Bryant 68 Box Score - Recap
New Hampshire 60 Harvard 78 Box Score - Recap

Friday, November 27
Cornell 78. Toledo 60 (Legends Classic at Philadelphia, Pa.) Box Score - Recap
Brown 69 Univ. of the Sciences 48 (Philadelphia Hoops Classic) Box Score
Columbia 60 Syracuse 85 Box Score - Recap

Saturday, November 28
Cornell 67 Vermont 59
(Legends Classic at Philadelphia, Pa.) Box Score - Recap
Brown 79 Siena 99 (Philadelphia Hoops Classic) Box Score - Recap
Yale 48 Army 64 Box Score - Recap
Hartford 56 Dartmouth 68 Box Score - Recap

Sunday, November 29
Cornell 61 Drexel 54 (Legends Classic at Philadelphia, Pa.) Box Score - Recap
Harvard 78 Boston U. 70 Box Score - Recap
Princeton 60 California 81 [CSN California] Box Score - Recap

Monday, November 30
Columbia at Sacred Heart, 7 pm

Tuesday, December 1
Vermont at Dartmouth, 7 pm

Wednesday, December 2
Holy Cross at Brown, 7 pm
Cornell at Bucknell, 7 pm
Yale at Hartford, 7 pm
Rice at Harvard, 8 pm

Thursday, December 3
Lehigh at Columbia, 7 pm
Princeton at Rutgers, 7:30 pm

Friday, December 4
Penn at Navy, 7 pm [CBS College Sports]

Saturday, December 5
Columbia at Stony Brook, 2 pm
Brown at Minnesota, 3:30 pm

Sunday, December 6
Harvard vs. UConn, 1 pm
Lafayette at Princeton, 5 pm

Cornell vs. St. Joseph's (PA), 2 pm

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Game Recap: Cornell Sweeps Through Legends Classic in Philadelphia 3-0

After knocking off Toledo in Game 1 on Friday, Cornell recorded victories on Saturday and Sunday against Vermont and Drexel. Below are the game recaps:

Box Score
Press Conference Video

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- Cornell held off a hard-charging Drexel team with a composed effort in the fina ltwo minutes to complete a 4-0 record at the Legends Classic with a 61-54 win at Drexel on Sunday afternoon at the Daskalakis Athletic Center. The Big Red improved to 5-2 with the win.

Senior Ryan Wittman, the most valuable player of the regional, scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed six rebounds, while Jeff Foote had 15 points and five rebounds in just 20 minutes of action. Mark Coury had eight points and four rebounds off the bench and Chris Wroblewski had seven points, including five big ones in the closing minutes. Joining Wittman on the all-tournament team was senior Jon Jaques. The tri-captain played a key role in the victory over the Dragons. In 15 minutes of action, he had a rebound, two steals and two gigantic free throws to seal the game with 21 seconds left.

Drexel overcame a 14-point deficit to take a lead late in the second half, but could not close out the win. Jamie Harris had 15 points, four assists and three rebounds, while Gerald Colds notched 14 points and four assists. Samme Givens posted 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench. The Dragons shot 68 percent from the floor after halftime despite some strong Big Red defense. Cornell forced 18 turnovers and held Drexel to 33 percent shooting overall.

The Big Red jumped out to a 6-0 lead behind three points early from both Wittman and Dale before the Dragons got on the oard with a free throw by Colds two and a half minutes in. Foote hit a pair of free throws to extend the advantage to 8-1. A Coury reverse made it 10-1 heading into the first media timeout. The Cornell defense forced the Dragons to miss its first two shots and turn the ball over four times in six possessions. Another Coury basket underneath made it 12-1, and a 3-pointer by Reeves from straighaway made it 15-1, forcing a Drexel timeout with 12:44 remaining in the half.

The home team's first field goal didn't come until the 12:15 mark when Harris hit a short jumper in the lane to make it 15-3. After missing its first eight to open the contest, Colds made it two straight when he sank a trey from the left corner to cut the deficit to 17-6, triggering a 10-2 Drexel run to get back within 19-13 with eight minutes left in the first half. A backdoor pass from Wittman to Coury settled the Cornell offense down, and a putback by Coury pushed it back to 23-15.

Cornell went cold offensively, but the defense and rebounding consistently kept the Big Red in control. The Dragons had 10 turnovers and were shooting just 33 percent from the floor at the final media timeout of the half and the Big Red had attempted 12 more shots than the home team. Wittman broke a nearly four minute scoring draught for both teams with a 3-pointer and had a tip-in a minute later to make it 28-17. A Wittman jumper in the lane with two seconds left before the half pushed him into double figures and sent the visitors into the break with a 30-19 edge.

Wittman hit for 10 points, while Coury notched eight for Cornell, which limited the Dragons to 33 percent shooting overall and 12 turnovers. Cornell only hit at a .375 clip itself, but outscored the Dragons 11-0 on points off turnovers.

Foote got off to begin the second half, scoring on a pair of nice post moves to neutralize baskets by Drexel, but the Dragons were able to start making shots. After turning the ball over at a high rate, the home team was able to make tough shots in the lane to methodically cut the lead to five.

Once the Dragons got it back to two, Cornell repsonded like the veteran team it is. Dale found Wittman for a layup underneath and the senior was fouled, completing a three-point play to make it 39-34. Drexel cut it to two at 40-38 with the ball, but a tough shot was rebounded by the Dragons and Wittman nailed a trey from the top of the key, his second of the contest, to make it 43-38 20 seconds later. Another basket by the Dragons was answered by Wittman finding Reeves in the corner for three more to pushed the edge back to six. it got down to one (48-47) and eventually took its first lead of the game at 54-52 when Derrick Thomas hit a wide open jumper from the right corner with 2:05 left, but Chris Wroblewski calmly sank behind a screen on the Big Red's ensuing possession and nailed a 3-pointer to put Cornell back up one with under two minutes to play. The Cornell defense forced a turnover with 1:14 left, and after showing some nice ball movement, Dale found Foote underneath for a layup with a minute to play to give the visitors a three-point cushion (57-54).

Drexel found Colds for a 3-point attempt that rimmed out and Coury rebounded with just under 30 seconds left and immediately fouled, but Drexel wasn't yet in the bonus. Cornell was able to run eight more seconds off the clock before senior tri-captain Jon Jaques stepped to the free-throw line for a 1-and-1 with 21 seconds left. The senior scored his first points of the season by making both to go up five (59-54). Drexel turned it right back over and Wittman drilled a pair of free throws for the final margin.

The Big Red will conclude its stretch of seven road games in its first eight contests when it travels to Bucknell on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m.

By Brian Delaney
Ithaca Journal
November 29, 2009

PHILADELPHIA -- The list of potential excuses was growing throughout Sunday's second half, as Drexel confidently chipped away at Cornell's double-digit lead.

Cornell was short two players in its rotation, including starting forward Alex Tyler. Cornell appeared to be the more fatigued team playing its third game in three days. Drexel, a statistically poor shooting team, suddenly couldn't miss. Drexel was playing on its home floor. Cornell hadn't played consistent basketball all weekend. Cornell was in foul trouble.

But in the final 2 minutes and 5 seconds, the Big Red mentally discarded those factors and pieced together one final decisive, impressive spurt to hold off the Dragons, 61-54, for its third straight victory.

"All three games were a test in certain ways, but to play a third one against a team this tough in their own building, speaks volumes," Cornell coach Steve Donahue said.

When Derrick Thomas drained a 15-footer to give Drexel its first lead of the game, 54-52, with 2:05 remaining, no soul in the Daskalakis Athletic Center could have predicted that Cornell would score the final nine points.

Working a high pick-and-roll with Jeff Foote on the left wing, sophomore Chris Wroblewski saw an opening and instinctively bucked the offensive set. He fired a long 3 that found its mark, with plenty of time still on the shot clock.

He said he didn't think. He just shot.

"Not really," he said, cracking a smile. "I probably should have. It wasn't really in our offense or anything. I saw an opening and it was kind of in the flow of the game. I didn't think about it."

After a timeout, Drexel turned over the ball with 74 seconds left when forward Samme Givens was whistled for a moving screen. Cornell then scored off a well-executed set.

Wroblewski fed Foote the ball at the foul line. With his back to the basket, he handed the ball off to a cutting Ryan Wittman, who handed it off to a moving Louis Dale. The misdirection allowed Dale to get in the lane, and when Drexel's defense rotated, he fed Foote for an easy layup and a 57-54 lead.

After a timeout, Drexel created a wide-open look for guard Gerald Cords, but the 3 missed and Cornell rebounded. The shot was only one of seven second-half misses for the Dragons (3-4), which shot 68 percent over the final 20 minutes.

Seniors Jon Jaques and Wittman sealed the win with four straight free throws. Wittman, who scored a game-high 18 points behind several clutch jumpers, was named the Legends Classic Philadelphia Subregional Round Most Valuable Player, and was joined on the all-tournament team by Jaques.

Jaques, a rarely used tri-captain, played 15 minutes with Tyler out and Adam Wire and Foote in early foul trouble.

"He played huge minutes, and none bigger than those two free throws at the end, up by three with 20 seconds left," Wittman said. "Probably the biggest free throws we've had all year. He stepped up and knocked them down."

Foote played his best offensive game since the season-opening win at Alabama. In just 20 minutes, he scored 15 points, grabbed five rebounds and blocked a shot.

Foote sat out the final 8:37 of the first half with two fouls. But he might have been the biggest reason Cornell didn't lose its lead before the two-minute mark. On four occasions in the second half, Foote scored points with the Dragons trailing by a one-possession deficit.

Drexel refused to double-team him, and paid for that decision.

"He was a big part of their offense today," Givens said. "Grabbed a lot of rebounds and scored a lot of post points, and he's a pretty good passer out of the post so it was a big guard for us. We couldn't contain him."

Cornell (5-2) held Drexel to one point through the first seven-plus minutes, opening up a 15-1 lead. The Dragons' two leading scorers, Gerald Colds and 5-11 point man Jamie Harris, were held to a combined 10 points on 3-for-8 shooting. But the fleet-footed duo was integral to Drexel's second-half surge, scoring 19 combined points on 8-for-13 shooting. Harris finished with 15, two below his average, and Colds 14.

Cornell wraps up a five-game road trip at Bucknell on Wednesday. In its four Legends Classic games, the winning formula changed constantly. So too did the ingredients.

"We can get a whole lot better," Donahue said. "We're winning, in my mind, despite not playing real well. ... In general, I think we have a long ways to go. We can improve immensely. I think it's great we can still win games as we're improving."

Notes: Drexel assistant coach Tom Connors is a 1983 Ithaca College graduate, and ex-assistant to former Cornell coaches Tom Miller and Mike Dement. ... Joining Wittman and Jaques on the all-tournament team were Toledo freshman Jake Barnett, Vermont senior Marqus Blakely and Drexel's Harris. ... Tyler (calf) and Max Groebe (flu) both sat out for the second straight game. Wire made his first start for Cornell.

CORNELL (5-2) Wittman 6-16 4-5 18, Wire 0-1 0-0 0, Foote 6-11 3-4 15, Wroblewski 3-8 0-0 7, Dale 2-9 0-0 5, Peck 0-2 0-0 0, Reeves 2-3 0-0 6, Jaques 0-2 2-2 2, Coury 4-5 0-0 8. Totals 23-57 9-11 61.

DREXEL (3-4) Neisler 1-3 2-2 4, McCoy 1-2 0-0 2, Colds 5-9 2-4 14, Harris 6-12 2-4 15, Thomas 3-5 0-0 6, Fouch 1-6 0-0 3, Phillip 0-0 0-0 0, Sa.Givens 5-6 0-0 10, Sh.Givens 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-43 6-10 54.

Halftime: Cornell 30-19. 3-Point Goals: Cornell 6-14 (Reeves 2-3, Wittman 2-4, Wroblewski 1-2, Dale 1-4, Jaques 0-1), Drexel 4-10 (Colds 2-4, Harris 1-1, Fouch 1-5). Fouled Out: None. Rebounds: Cornell 29 (Wittman 6), Drexel 30 (Sa.Givens, Neisler 7). Assists: Cornell 12 (Dale 4), Drexel 11 (Colds, Harris 4). Total Fouls: Cornell 12, Drexel 15. A: 1,033.
November 30, 2009

When you're starting a basketball game predicted to be a close one, it's not a good idea to wait more than 7 minutes after the opening tipoff to score your first field goal.

That's what Drexel did yesterday in its 61-54 loss to Cornell in the final game of the Legends Classic at the Daskalakis Athletic Center. Cornell led 15-1 when Jamie Harris, the Dragons' leading scorer, finally connected on a floater in the lane.

By halftime, the Dragons trailed by 11 and had committed 12 turnovers.

In the second half, Drexel shot 68.2 percent and took its first lead, 54-52 on a Derrick Thomas baseline jumper with 2 minutes, 5 seconds remaining. Cornell then showed why it's the defending Ivy League champion. Sophomore Chris Wroblewski swished a three-pointer and the Big Red held on for the victory.

Coached by former Penn assistant Steve Donahue, Cornell (5-2) opened the season by winning at Alabama and Massachusetts.

"Give them credit: When your team is experienced you see what happens: there was no panic in those guys," Drexel coach Bruiser Flint said after his team's three-game winning streak was halted. "They made big plays when they needed to.

"At the start of the game, my guys were going crazy, trying to go to the basket, trying to do things they can't do. We wanted to make [Cornell] play defense, because we didn't feel they could guard us. But you've got to be a little patient to do that.

"Everybody says, 'You lost these [close games] early, they're going to help you later on.' I want them to help us now. If we do the right things, we'll win games like this."

Following Wroblewski's trey, Drexel set up its offense. But sophomore Samme Givens was whistled for an illegal screen. Then 7-foot senior Jeff Foote (15 points) scored for Cornell and the Dragons couldn't score again.

Harris, with a team-high 15 points, and Gerald Colds (14) made big baskets for Drexel (3-4) in the second half. In the Dragons' three consecutive wins, Harris had averaged 23 points.

"Even though they shot 68 percent in the second half," Donahue said, "I thought we played pretty good defense. They made hard shot after hard shot."

Shooting 5-for-6 from the field, Givens added 10 points and seven rebounds for Drexel.

Cornell also defeated Toledo and Vermont in the Legends Classic during the weekend.

"This was a great challenge for our team that's trying to start another run at a championship in terms of identifying who you are and how you play," Donahue said. "The third one, against a team this tough, in their own building speaks volumes."

Before beating Drexel the Big Red was shooting .439 from the field and .375 on three-pointers. Ryan Wittman, two-time all-Ivy first-teammer, was leading Cornell with a 17.0 average.

Wittman, a 6-7 senior, opened vs. Drexel shooting 1-for-5. Then he closed the first half with three field goals in a row, including a three-pointer. He finished with a game-high 18 points and was named the tournament's most valuable player. Drexel's Harris also made the all-tournament team.

Although attendance for the Legends Classic was less than legendary - the DAC was less than half full yesterday while the Eagles were playing the Redskins - Drexel won two of three games. Playing three home games was the reason for hosting the tournament. Normally, finding nonconference opponents willing to play at the cozy DAC is as difficult as trying to rake acorns with a broom.

By Alex Kuczynski-Brown
Cornell Daily Sun
November 30, 2009

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. –– Yesterday, the men’s basketball team closed out the Legends Classic with its third win in as many days, defeating Drexel, 61-54, at the Daskalakis Athletic Center despite a dicey final two minutes. Senior forward Ryan Wittman scored a game-high 18 points and secured six rebounds en route to being named MVP of the regional tournament.

Despite only seeing 20 minutes of action, senior center Jeff Foote managed 15 points and five rebounds, while senior forward Mark Coury contributed eight points and four rebounds off the bench. Sophomore guard Chris Wroblewski had seven points, including a crucial 3-pointer to return the lead to the Red with 1:48 remaining.

Along with Wittman, senior tri-captain Jon Jaques was also named to the all-tournament team for his contributions against the Dragons. In 15 minutes of play, he grabbed a rebound, two steals and netted two pressure free throws to preserve Cornell’s (5-2) third straight victory with 21 seconds left.

Drexel overcame a 14-point deficit to take a lead late in the second half on a jumper by freshman guard Derrick Thomas, but the advantage proved short-lived as Wroblewski came through with a clutch trey. The Red forced 18 turnovers and shot 40.4 percent overall for the game, including a 6-for-14 showing from beyond the arc.

On Saturday, Cornell rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit to top Vermont, 67-59, thanks largely to the efforts of junior forward Adam Wire, who notched a career-high 13 rebounds off the bench. Playing without junior guard Max Groebe and senior forward Alex Tyler, the Red was led offensively by senior guard Louis Dale, Wittman and Foote, who contributed 12 points apiece. Wroblewski and senior guard Geoff Reeves also had 11 points each, placing five Cornell players in double-figures on the day. The Red had a season-best 14 steals — eight of which came from Wroblewski and Dale — and held the Catamounts to 44.4 percent shooting, including 23.1 percent from 3-point range. Mid-major All-American senior forward Marqus Blakely managed 21 points, seven rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocked shots, but was one of only two players in double-figures — the other being junior guard Joey Accaoui with 10.

Coming off two tough losses to Big East opponents, Cornell got back to its winning ways on Friday, procuring its second victory of the Legends Classic with a 78-60 showing against the University of Toledo. The Red saw five of its players score in double-figures, including Wittman with a game-high 20 points, and Foote, who picked up his second consecutive double-double with a 12-point, 12-rebound effort.

However, the real story on the day was Dale, who fell just short of the first triple-double in Cornell men’s basketball history. Head coach Steve Donahue said after Tuesday’s loss to the Orange that Dale would bounce back from his subpar outings against Seton Hall and Syracuse, and bounce back he most certainly did, ending the afternoon with 14 points, nine rebounds, nine assists, three steals and zero turnovers.

Dale acknowledged that “sometimes you get in a bit of a slump,” while Donahue added that Dale “probably could have had double-digit assists if we made some of those open shots as well.”

Cornell won the tap to open the game, and a Dale-to-Foote alley-oop sent an early message; however, Toledo’s on-target shooting kept things close in the opening minutes of the contest. Wroblewski’s only 3-pointer of the game would knot the score at 7, but back-to-back layups by freshman guard Jake Barnett and junior forward Justin Anyijong put the Rockets on top, 11-7, forcing a Red timeout.

Two free throws from Tyler cut the deficit, and a layup by Wire on a pass from Dale put Cornell in front for good. The Red defense held Toledo to just 37.9 percent shooting for the first half –– allowing just one 3 from freshman guard Stephen Albrecht, who matched Wittman with 20 points on the afternoon.

With just over two minutes remaining, Cornell went on an offensive tear that featured back-to-back treys from Wittman and Reeves, who was one of the five Red players to finish in double-figures. Reeves contributed another 3-pointer with 20 seconds left on the clock to send his team into the locker room with a 14-point advantage (41-27).

However, the Rockets refused to go quietly, initiating a 13-2 run early in the second half to cut the Red’s lead to three at 56-53 with 10 minutes to play.

“We got real casual. ... We didn’t have a lot of turnovers, but they were critical at that point,” Donahue said. “I think a good offensive team comes back, and that being said, I thought we executed again from that point pretty well.”

Indeed, the Rockets’ threat served as a wake-up call for the Red, who responded with a 9-0 run of its own that was punctuated by Reeves’ fourth and final trey of the game.

“We battled back ... but their seniors and older guys took over,” said Toledo head coach Gene Cross. “We had some defensive lapses ... not being as attentive as we could have been.”

The Red’s lead would swell to as much as 18, and with less than a minute remaining Donahue emptied his bench, as Cornell ran out the clock en route to a comfortable 78-60 victory to snap its two-game losing skid.

After being limited to just 1-of-7 from beyond the arc in the first half, Toledo upped its 3-point percentage to 45.5 in the second frame, thanks largely to Albrecht, who contributed half of his team’s six 3’s.

“Stephen’s been like an assassin out there for us ... especially from the 3-point line,” Cross said.

Cornell out-rebounded its opponent, 35-29, and shot 46.7 percent overall for the game, but was held to just 7-of-22 from outside. The Red forced 15 Rocket turnovers, while giving up the ball 10 times.

Box Score

Philadelphia - Drexel erased a 12 point second-half deficit to Cornell but the visitors pulled out a 61-54 victory in the final game of the 2009 Legends Classic. The Dragons were led by Jamie Harris who scored 15 points while Gerald Colds added 14 points. Harris and Colds each handed out four assists. Legends Classic Most Valuable Player Ryan Wittman led all scorers with 18 points. The loss dropped Drexel's record to 3-4 while Cornell, the defending Ivy League champion, improved to 5-2 on the season.

The Dragons fought back from an 11-point deficit as the Big Red built a 30-19 advantage heading into halftime. Cornell jumped to its biggest lead of the second half when Chris Wroblewski knocked down a jumper with 14:45 remaining to give the Big Red a 36-24 lead. Freshman Derrick Thomas responded with a lay-up to ignite a 10-0 Drexel run that cut the Cornell lead to just two points with 11:09 left. The teams battled back and forth until the Dragons finally knotted the game at 50-50 on a Harris three-pointer with just over four minutes remaining. The teams exchanged baskets before a field goal from Thomas gave Drexel its first lead of the game at 54-52 with 2:05 to play. It was short-lived, however, as Wroblewski drained a three-pointer from the top of the arc just 17 seconds later to give Cornell a lead it would not relinquish. On the ensuing Drexel possession, Samme Givens was whistled for an illegal screen as Harris slashed to the basket. Cornell's Jeff Foote scored in the paint on the other end to move the lead to three points. Colds got a good look at a three-pointer from the left side of the arc with 32 seconds remaining but his shot missed and the visitors corralled the rebound. Cornell connected on its final four free-throw attempts to close the game.

Drexel opened the game by missing its first eight field-goal attempts of the game as Cornell opened a 15-1 lead. The Dragons got its first bucket of the contest when Harris connected on a mid-range shot but Cornell responded with a Louis Dale jumper to bring the Big Red lead back to a game-high 14 points. A basket in the lane by Givens four minutes later capped a 12-4 run that saw the Dragons reach to within six points but Cornell built the advantage back to 11 points over the final 7:12 of the period by scoring seven of the final 11 points of the half. The Dragons shot just 33 percent from the floor in the opening stanza while committing 12 turnovers. Drexel's totaled 18 turnovers for the day after posting a season-low five miscues the day before against Toledo.

Evan Neisler and Givens each totaled a game-high seven rebounds while Givens also added 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the floor. Drexel missed just seven of its 22 field-goal attempts in the second period in recording a season-best 68 percent shooting for the half en route to a season-best 51 percent for the game.

Harris lead the team in scoring for the fourth consecutive game as he was selected to the Legends Classic All-Tournament Team. He was joined on the squad by Vermont's Marqus Blakely, Toledo's Jake Barnett and Jon Jaques and Wittman from Cornell.

Drexel returns to action on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at fourth-ranked Villanova. The Dragons and Wildcats will meet at the Pavilion at 7:00 p.m.

Box Score
Press Conference Video

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- A seasoned Cornell squad overcame a 12-point first half deficit and weathered a cold shooting night, but still handily defeated Vermont 67-58 on Saturday afternoon at the Daskalakis Athletic Center in game three of the Legends Classic. The Big Red improved to 4-2 thanks in large part to the energy of junior forward Adam Wire, who posted a career-high 13 rebounds in the win as five players were in double figures for the second straight game.

Playing without a pair of regulars in guard Max Groebe and forward Alex Tyler, the Big Red used its depth and balance to capture the victory, improving to 3-0 in the tournament. Leading Cornell offensively was the trio of Louis Dale, Jeff Foote and Ryan Wittman with 12 points each, while Chris Wroblewski and Geoff Reeves each notched 11 points. The Big Red had a season-best 14 steals and limited the Catamounts to 44 percent shooting, including 23 percent from beyond the arc. Both Wroblewski and Dale had four steals apiece. Cornell dominated the backboards with a 41-28 edge to control the lane.

The Catamounts got 21 points, seven rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocked shots from mid-major All-American Marqus Blakely, but only had one other player, Joey Accaoui, in double figures. He scored 10. UVM hit just 3-of-13 from 3-point range (23 percent) and turned the ball over 19 times.

Vermont jumped out to a quick 11-3 lead with Blakely scoring six points in the first three minutes before the Big Red needed to cal la timeout. The Catamounts made four of their first five shots, while Cornell was 1-of-5 early, but Dale got Cornell out of its early slump with a 12-footer. Vermont extended the lead to 10 at 22-12 after a feed underneath for a Fjeld layup with 12:07 left in the first half and then to 12 at 28-16 before Wittman went on a mini-run to cut the deficit to 28-21. The senior pulled up for a free-throw jumper, then drained a 3-pointer to force a Vermont timeout with 7:17 left. A nifty pass from Wire to Coury on the fastbreak made it 28-23 after a strong defensive possession for the Big Red.

After trailing most of the first half and being down as many as 12 points, Cornell inched back to within four (30-26) with the ball at the final media timeout of the first half. The two squads traded baskets in the final two minutes, with Foote's turnaround jumper sending the Big Red into halftime trailing just 32-30.

Reeves led the Big Red with eight points, while Dake had six and both Wittman and Foote notched five. Vermont shot 52 percent from the floor in the half while limiting Cornell to 36 percent shooting, incuding 4-of-11 from beyond the arc. Cornell held a 20-16 edge on the backboards behind six boards from Adam Wire and four from Errick Peck. Vermont was led by 12 points from Blakley on 5-of-5 shooting.

An offensive rebound by Wire and a short jumper by Dale on the team's first possession of the second half knotted the score for the first time since 3-3. Cornell took its first lead at 36-34 with 17:30 left on a 10-foot Wittman jumper. Cornell went up six after a Reeves fall-away jumper to put to go into double digits with 10 points with 14 minutes left.

Wire continued to lead the charge with his energy. He stole the ball out of Blakely's hands to force a jump ball. A tip-in off a missed shot by Coury extended the lead to nine at 51-42 and it just kept growing. The defene forced Vermont into 3-of-10 shooting to open the half in increasing its lead to 14 (63-49). The Catamouns made a quick 5-0 run, but missed a 3-pointer to keep the momentum, and Foote made the first of two free throws on the other end to push the lead back into double figures. Cornell was held scoreless in the final 3:12, but Vermont could only score five points during the pan against the Big Red's lockdown defense, and Cornell rolled off with the 67-58 win.

Cornell will close out competition at the Legends Classic on Sunday when it faces Drexel at 2:30 p.m. at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.

PHILADELPHIA – Five players reached double figures to lead Cornell to a 67-59 win over the Vermont men’s basketball team on Saturday afternoon as part of the Legends Classic at the Daskalakis Athletic Center. Catamount senior Marqus Blakely (Metuchen, N.J.) led all scorers with 21 points to go with seven rebounds, as Vermont falls to 2-4 on the year.

Vermont led by as many as 12 in the first half, but Cornell (4-2) took its first lead of the game early in the second, used a 15-3 run to open a two-point game and make it 59-45 with 8:36 remaining.

“I thought we played a lot harder today and played a very good team, but we got down in the second half, missed some free throws and were trying to play catch-up,” said Vermont head coach Mike Lonergan. “We missed a lot of open shots and couldn’t get back into the game. I was much happier with our effort today, but we just have to try and keep getting better. I want to give Cornell a lot of credit, they did a really good job especially after being down early.”

Vermont’s offense set the tone early in the game, as the Cats jumped out to an 11-3 lead. Blakely scored six of the 11, while UVM hit five of its first six shots from the floor. The Catamounts led by as many as 12 in the first half, 28-16 behind a balanced attack that saw seven different players score in the first 7:54 of play.

Cornell closed out the half on a 14-4 run to cut Vermont’s lead to 32-30 heading into intermission. The Big Red slowed the Catamount offense midway through the frame by switching to a zone defense after Vermont controlled the paint to start the contest.

Vermont shot 52 percent in the first 20 minutes of play, as Blakely led all scorers with 12 on 5-for-5 shooting.

Cornell took its first lead of the day on a jumper by Ryan Wittman, 2:28 into the second half, as Vermont’s offense came out of the gates a little slow. The Cats trailed 44-42 after a pair of free throws from Blakely, but the Big Red opened the game up by scoring 15 of the next 18. The Catamounts recorded only two field goals in the first 11:39 coming out of the locker room.

A three from senior Maurice Joseph (Montreal, Quebec) cut the Cornell lead to eight at 67-59 with 2:21 remaining, but that would be the last points for either team in the game.

Blakely finished 7-for-8 from the floor and added three steals, three assists and two blocks for the Cats. Junior Joey Accaoui (Lincoln, R.I.) was the only other Vermont player to reach double figures with 10 off the bench on 4-for-8 shooting.

Wittman, Jeff Foote and Louis Dale each scored 12 apiece for Cornell, while Chris Wroblewski and Geoff Reeves each added 11. The Big Red held Vermont to shoot only 35 percent in the second half and held a 21-12 rebounding edge after halftime.

Vermont wraps up the Legends Classic on Sunday when it faces Toledo at noon in Philadelphia, Pa. The game can be heard live on 96.7 DOT-FM, The Zone 960 AM and WSTJ-1320 AM (Randolph), and on the internet at with the audio stream provided by

NOTES: Saturday was the 11th career meeting between the two teams, as Vermont still holds a 6-5 edge in the all-time series that started during the 1900-01 season … Joseph was held under double figures in scoring for the first time this season … Cornell has made back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament and was picked to win the Ivy League again this season.

Burlington Free Press

November 28, 2009

PHILADELPHIA — Mike Lonergan wasn’t content with the result — a 67-59 loss to Cornell — but the University of Vermont’s men’s basketball coach was satisfied with the effort and progress his players showed in the Legends Classic on Saturday at Daskalaskis Athletic Center.

Although sharper and more energized than in Friday’s loss to host Drexel, the Catamounts failed to make enough shots down the stretch against well-oiled Cornell, the two-time defending Ivy League champions.

“I was much happier with our effort today than against Drexel” said Lonergan, whose team’s record fell to 2-4 after its third loss in five days. “We have a lot of work to do, but I’m excited because we are showing signs.”

Vermont didn’t have much room for error against the veteran-laden, balanced Big Red (4-2), who already has marquee wins over Alabama and Massachusetts this season; their only losses are to Big East Conference opponents Seton Hall and Syracuse.

While it didn’t see a player net more than 12 points, Cornell had five players reach double-digit scoring and a reserve forward haul down 13 rebounds.

Vermont got another stellar performance from senior forward Marqus Blakely (21 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks), but the Catamounts three starting guards — Nick Vier, Maurice Joseph and Brendan Bald — combined for only 15 points and nine rebounds.

Still, the Catamounts had Cornell on the ropes early, with Blakely attacking inside for 12 points in the opening 12 minutes to help create a 28-16 lead.

But Cornell charged into intermission on a 14-4 run to dull the Catamounts’ edge to 32-30, which Cornell coach Steve Donahue identified as “a huge stretch of the game.”

Cornell responded from 35.5 percent shooting in the first half to 46.2 percent in the second half while Vermont’s percentages dipped from 52 in the first half to 35 in the second. Another statistic that spelled doom for the Catamounts: They connected on only 3 of 13 3-point attempts.

“They stuck with what they do best and they picked us apart at the right time in the second half,” Lonergan said about Cornell. “We had some wide-open 3-pointers that would have put us right back in the game. We took some good shots, but we just couldn’t hit a big basket.”

Reserve guard Joey Accaoui broke out of an early-season shooting slump with 10 points Saturday, production which included a pair of 3-pointers.

Starting sophomore guard Garvey Young sat at the end of the bench in a shirt and tie, out for the second straight game with a foot injury, his defense sorely missed against a Cornell team with a lot of offensive firepower.

“We are playing good teams and I’m excited about these games,” Lonergan said, “but we need to keep getting better and we need to start winning some games. ... We want to be on more of a roll as we get closer to conference games.”

Vermont plays for the third consecutive day — and for the fifth time in eight days — today when it faces winless Toledo in its Legends Classic finale.

“As tough as it is to play three days in a row, as much as you get beat up and battered down low, if you come out with a win everything will be fine,” said Blakely, the only Catamount who has reached double-digit scoring in all six games this season.

By Brian Delaney
Ithaca Journal
November 28, 2009

PHILADELPHIA -- Five double-digit scorers and a tough effort off the bench from Adam Wire helped Cornell to a 67-59 come-from-behind victory over Vermont on Saturday afternoon.

The Big Red (4-2) never led in the first half of the non-league game, trailed by 10 points on three occasions and by as many as 12, but methodically outplayed the Catamounts over the game's final 30 minutes at Drexel's Daskalakis Athletic Center.

"I thought from the 10-minute mark on, we played very good basketball in terms of being physical, intelligent, tough," Cornell coach Steve Donahue said. "It wasn't pretty on the offensive end by any stretch, but it's still a good win when you can beat a good team and you don't really execute like you should."

Playing the second of three games in three days, part of the Legends Classic event, Cornell unexpectedly found itself shorthanded. Starting forward Alex Tyler sat out with a calf injury suffered in Friday's win over Toledo, and reserve guard Max Groebe was confined to the team hotel with the flu.

Tyler's absence was exacerbated by first-half foul trouble to forwards Mark Coury and Errick Peck, but Wire -- a chiseled 6-foot-5, 228-pound forward -- pulled down a collegiate-high 13 rebounds over 30 minutes. He grabbed six of Cornell's 18 offensive rebounds.

"Rebounding was really the story of the game," said Vermont coach Mike Lonergan, whose Catamounts were outrebounded, 41-28. "They had nine offensive rebounds in each half, and the second half we got outrebounded by, my guess is, at least nine. That's hard."

Leading 44-42 with 13 minutes, 11 seconds remaining, Cornell ripped off a 12-2 run to take control. The Big Red had three of its season-high 14 steals in that stretch, which was capped at the 10-minute mark by a backbreaking trey from Ryan Wittman.

Cornell's lead, which then reached 14 on three occasions, never dipped under eight from that point forward.

Wittman, Louis Dale and Jeff Foote scored 12 points apiece, while Chris Wroblewski and Geoff Reeves each chipped in 11. Cornell won despite another subpar shooting effort from the three-point line, missing 12 of 17 attempts. Adjusting to those misses, the Big Red attacked the basket consistently in the second half, got to the foul line often and hit more than 50 percent of its shots inside the arc.

"The five guys in double figures, I'm looking, have all had over (22) at least once in their career," Donahue said. "So they're skilled basketball players. I think the balance of our team is our strength."

Vermont senior Marqus Blakely, two-time America East Conference player of the year, led the Catamounts (2-4) with 21 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

But Vermont's starting guards struggled mightily, combining to shoot 4-for-19 for 15 points with seven turnovers.

Cornell plays its final Legends Classic game against Drexel at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Cornell will be without two players today against Vermont in a Legends Classic consolation at 2 p.m.

Alex Tyler will likely miss today and tomorrow's game with Drexel with what is being called a calf injury. I'll get more for you after the game. Also, Max Groebe is out with an illness.

Mark Coury is expected to start in place of Tyler.

Follow the action with my live blog on the front page of The IJ web site. I'll get started there in about 10 minutes.

By Brian Delaney
Ithaca Journal
November 27, 2009

First, playing Toledo must have felt like a Division II to Cornell after playing Alabama, UMass, Seton Hall and Syracuse in succession. The Red consistently got wide open shots - and a lot of them simply didn't fall. Toledo's a program that's rebuilding with a roster dominated by freshmen and sophomores. Stephen Albrecht and Jake Barnett give Gene Scott a nice tandem to build around.

It wasn't through lack of effort, but Cornell more or less fell asleep at the wheel with that big lead in the second half. As soon as things got tight, Cornell righted the ship and pulled away. It probably wasn't easy going from Seton Hall and Syracuse environments to 300-400 people at Drexel.

Couple random thoughts:
  • Take away Geoff Reeves' 4-for-6 shooting from deep, and Cornell missed 13 of 16 all-told. Once they start hitting at that .450 clip or so, this team will be pretty scary. But Friday's 7-for-22 effort checked in at 31.8 percent.
  • Ryan Wittman's floor game just continues to get better. He was just OK from the 3-point line, but I thought he was terrific inside that line.
  • Jeff Foote struggled at times with his footwork (4 turnovers), but his rebounding is just night-and-day better than a year ago. He had 12 boards.
  • Errick Peck was rewarded for his strong second half against Syracuse with a quick entry on Friday. He was the first "power forward" off the bench, but he didn't play well. He missed a couple looks inside and a wide open 3, but worse was he got caught at unawares on an inbounds play that resulted in a 3 by Albrecht. "That's what freshmen do," Donahue said. "They're going to be a little inconsistent."
  • Mark Coury and Jeff Foote were terrific together defensively down the stretch.
  • Alex Tyler left the game late with an injury, but it didn't look too serious. Will update more tomorrow. He missed five of six shots in the first half, and he probably should have made all of them. But he showed some serious short-term memory in the second half by scoring six quick points. Love his mental toughness.
  • Back at it tomorrow with Vermont-Cornell at 2 p.m. Check the main page of the site for live updates.