Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Around the Rim with Brian Delaney and The Ithaca Journal

Cornell's Andrew Ferry fights for a loose ball with Seton Hall's Jamel Jackson, right, during the first half of Sunday's game. Seton Hall beat Cornell 92-68.

By Brian Delaney
Ithaca Journal
November 16, 2010

If Cornell's first two games under Bill Courtney said anything, the competition for playing time remains wide open heading into Week 2 of college basketball's regular season.

The first-year coach played a variety of different lineups over the course of 80 minutes this past weekend. Cornell beat Albany 65-61 on Friday, then lost 92-68 to Seton Hall on Sunday.

Certain moves were necessitated by injuries (Chris Wroblewski), foul trouble (Errick Peck both nights, Miles Asafo-Adjei on Friday) or matchups. But it was apparent others were byproducts of inconsistent play.

"I thought I was beginning to have a little bit of a sense for the rotation," said Courtney, thinking that got turned on its head after he played 13 guys Sunday, and 11 Friday. "We've got to see more hunger from certain guys."

Cornell returns to the comfortable confines of Newman Arena for two games this week: Delaware (0-1) on Wednesday, and St. Bonaventure (1-1) on Friday. Both are 7 p.m. starts.

Whether Wroblewski returns from an ankle sprain or not, expect more mixing and matching from Courtney.

Sophomore forward Josh Figini, as an example, didn't play in Friday's game but saw 13 minutes against Seton Hall. They were largely productive minutes, too. Nine of those came in the first half, when he had five rebounds and a block.

Likewise, freshman guard Jake Matthews didn't play Friday night, only to see 22 minutes against the Pirates. He, like Figini, appeared to make a good impression. He didn't shoot the ball particularly well, but he was active on defense and finished with three points, four assists and zero turnovers.

Juniors Max Groebe and Andrew Ferry were key contributors in the Albany win, scoring 15 and 12 points, respectively. Against Seton Hall, they were non-factors. Groebe was held scoreless.

From an offensive standpoint, Cornell's guards endured a difficult day as a unit on Sunday. Combined, Groebe, Ferry, Asafo-Adjei, Matthews and Johnathan Gray shot 4-for-27 from the field.

Only Gray managed to get to the free throw line.

"You have to understand that with this young group, when we miss shots, we don't play well offensively," Courtney said. "We tend to hang our heads, and that effects us at the defensive end."

Courtney is clearly impressed with Gray, who spent time as a student manager on last season's team before being promoted to the roster. He played mop-up minutes in four games.

Against Albany, he played 19 big minutes, scoring 12 points and serving as a third point guard, and was first off the bench Sunday when Peck picked up his second foul in the fourth minute. At the time, Gray's responsibility was guarding preseason first-team all-Big East selection Jeremy Hazell.

Ivy notes

* Cornell senior Aaron Osgood rightfully felt good about his first two starts as a college basketball player. He reached double figures both nights and shot an efficient 11 for 14 from the floor. He also, without prodding after Sunday's game, said immediately what his coaches probably wanted to hear.

"Personally, I've got to work on my rebounding," he said. "They got too many offensive rebounds. I'm one of the bigger guys on the court; I've got to be in there."

Seton Hall held a 46-29 edge on the glass, with 16 offensive rebounds. Osgood had three rebounds in 26 minutes, only one defensive.

* Yale's Sports Publicity department announced that senior captain, and 6-foot-7 forward, Michael Sands has left the school for personal reasons and will not play for the Bulldogs.

That's a blow for coach James Jones. In the preseason, he said he felt Sands was one of the league's four best returning big players. Sands started all 31 games as a junior and averaged 10.8 points and 6.1 rebounds. Yale may have to rely on talented 6-9 freshman Jeremiah Kreisberg for additional production.

The Bulldogs, by the way, will see Steve Donahue's Boston College Eagles on Thursday night.

* Great first impression from Harvard's Keith Wright. The 6-8 junior, one of the Ivy League's true natural power forwards, had 22 points and 16 rebounds in the Crimson's 66-53 loss Saturday at George Mason.

Wright tweeted in the offseason he planned on leading the league in rebounding. Not a bad start to backing up his prediction.

* Penn rang in a new era with a quality 69-64 home win over what I think will be a tough Davidson team. Point guard Zack Rosen picked up his second foul before the first media time out and sat out the rest of the half. Last year, the Quakers would have been lost without him.

But freshman Miles Cartwright entered the game and scored 18 points while Rosen sat. Rosen then returned in the second half to score 13 of his 16 in the win. Last year, Davidson beat Penn by 29 points in what was coach Jerome Allen's first game after taking over for the fired Glen Miller.


Anonymous said...

It's going to be a wild scramble this in the league. While I knew they would be improved, I think Penn is going to be tougher than I expected

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why you didn't think Penn would be much tougher this year.

They bring back nine upperclassmen (including All-Ivy guys in both the front and back court) and at least one frosh who looks able to play starters' minutes. These guys were denied the chance to play for Ivy titles by a great Cornell team.

Many of them were pretty seriously injured and playing hurt last year, due to a wacky trainnig program installed by a previous coach. That's in the past. Most of them are healthy. All are better coached. They're really hungry this year.

Their win over Davidson is probably the most surprising win of any Ivy so far this year.

Penn Alum & Fan said...

Penn basketball is very good. I am very knowledgeable about all things Ivy League basketball and the University of Penn basketball team. I have connections to the players and the coaches, so you can be sure I know what I am talking about.

This years Penn team is very very good. We are only rivaled by Duke, and had we played them instead of Princeton, I am sure there would have been a different outcome.

Some people would even compare Zack Rosen to a poorer man's Pistol Pete Maravich. However, they are wrong, and I am not a poorer man - he is one of the best guards to ever play in the Ivy League, second only to that really good guard who went to the final four with Penn and of course Jerome Allan.

In fact, Penn basketball was better than Cornell last year when you look at it. We beat you at home when you were ranked and we also played Temple - ipso facto, we should have made it at the very least to the second round of the tournament.

All hail Bernardini!

Anonymous said...

A typical Penn fan stuck in the 70's

Anonymous said...

Not sure about that. I think it's just someone havin' a little fun with CBB.

Anonymous said...

I was poking some fun at the second post. It reminded me of those penn guys on Basketball-U (another forum with most action in the Ivy Leauge section).

So not trying to have some fun "with" the blog, but rather "on" the blog.

I'm glad you thought it was a typical penn fan stuck in 70's though (aren't they all)- that's kind of what I was going for.

Anonymous said...

did jamal cherry check in in the Delaware game?

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Jamal was given a spot on the team this week. He got into the game.

Anonymous said...

why hasn't Chemerinski or McMillan played at all while Cherry got time?

Anonymous said...

McMillan still has a concussion, right?