ITHACA, N.Y. -- Cornell's backcourt of Chris Wroblewski and Max Groebe each collected career scoring highs, but St. Bonaventure's dominance on the backboards proved too much as the Big Red dropped a 56-54 decision on Friday evening at Newman Arena. The loss snapped a 12-game home win streak and dropped the home team to 2-2, while the Bonnies improved to 2-1 with the victory.
Wroblewski, making his first start of the year, poured in a career-high 25 points and added five rebounds, five assists and four steals, while Groebe notched 16 points to outscore the Bonnies' starting backcourt 41-11, while limiting SBU's guards to 1-of-15 shooting from the floor. St. Bonaventure won the battle of the boards 48-28 and shot 21 more free-throws than the home team in capturing the victory. Demitrius Conger (22 points, 14 rebounds) and Andrew Nicholson (19 points, 10 rebounds) each had double-doubles in the contest for St. Bonaventure.
Cornell struggled scoring from inside the 3-point line despite making 12 3-pointers and shooting 46 percent from beyond the arc. Inside the 3-point line, the Big Red connected on just 5-of-26 shots (.192) and had just three offensive rebounds. The Bonnies shot only 35 percent, but one of its two 3-pointers of the game came on a four-shot possession with less than a minute left in the contest, giving the visitors a 52-51 lead with 47 seconds left.
Two days after topping Delaware, the Big Red led by as many as 11 with just about 11 minutes left as Wroblewski carried the offensive load. He made 6-of-10 shots from beyond the arc and accounted for 12 of the team's 17 field goals by scoring or with the assist. Adam Wire added five rebounds and five assists to the cause.
Like Wednesday, the visitor got off to a quick start, holding the Big Red scoreless over the first 3:49 and taking a 5-0 lead before Wroblewski hit a trey from the corner, the first of three he would hit on consecutive possessions to go up 9-5. The three 3-pointers came in a span of 1:28, shifting the momentum. A 3-pointer by Drew Ferry with 9:31 left in the half made it a double figure advantage. The lead was six with a minute to play before the Bonnies scored on consecutive possessions, including a Big Red turnover and SBU run-out as time expired to cut the margin to two at the half.
Cornell hit three more 3-pointers in the first 4:09 of the second half to get the lead back up to 11 (39-28), and Groebe's trey with 11:32 left on the clock proved to be the high-water mark (42-31) before the road team slowly chipped away at the lead.
The challengers from the Atlantic 10 finally tied it at 44-44 and took the lead on the second of two free throws by Michael Davenport with 5:38 ledt, leading to a back and forth final five minutes. A pair of Wroblewski free throws, followed by a Ferry 3-pointer off a find by Wroblewski gave the Big Red a 51-47 lead with 2:30, but only a Groebe 3-pointer with seven seconds left would find the scoreboard the remainder of the way. A jumper by Nicholson made it 51-49 Cornell, and after a defensive stop, the Bonnies were able to use their presence on the offensive boards to get a second and third attempt before Conger's go-ahead 3-pointer with 47 seconds remaining.
After Groebe's 3-pointer with seven ticks remaining, Cornell sent Nicholson to the free-throw line, where he made the first and missed the second to mak eit 56-54. The inbounds pass ended in the hands of Wroblewski, but his long 3-point attempt to win was short as the horn sounded.
Cornell returns to action on Monday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. at Stabler Arena in Bethlehem, Pa.
By Brian Delaney
Demitrius Conger's 3-pointer with 47 seconds left gave the Bonnies -- who trailed by as many as 11 points in the second half -- the lead for good. How the ball came to be in Conger's hands was what exacerbated Cornell coach Bill Courtney's visible frustrations.
The shot, released from the right wing in front of the visiting bench, was the fourth scoring opportunity of the possession. St. Bonaventure's frontcourt played a tip-drill off the glass, picked up loose balls in a crowd of players underneath the basket and finally converted just their second trey of the night.
"It was obviously the most crucial play of the game," Courtney said. "All we said in the time out was, 'Come up with the rebound.' We said, 'They're going to miss the shot, come up with a rebound.' The disappointing part was they weren't just offensive rebounds, they were also loose balls. Fifty-fifty balls. Any team could have gotten them. We didn't."
Rebounds were few and too far in between for the Big Red. The hosts were outrebounded 48-28 as their 12-game winning streak at Newman Arena came to an end. Only one player (Drew Ferry) secured an offensive rebound over 40 minutes, while Bonaventure finished with 14 offensive boards.
Junior Andrew Nicholson, a long-armed, talented 6-foot-9 forward, finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. Conger, a 6-6 sophomore, had his best game in a Bonnies uniform with 22 points and 14 rebounds-- both career highs.
"There will be a lot of things we can improve and correct on," Cornell guard Chris Wroblewski said. "If we take a positive out of that game, we lost by (two) and played an average game by every means."
Two free throws from Michael Davenport gave the Bonnies (2-1) a 55-51 lead with 13 seconds left. Cornell's Max Groebe knocked down a 3 with 4.3 seconds on the clock, and Nicholson missed one of two at the line to give the Big Red one last shot. Cornell went the length of the court in 3.3 seconds but Wroblewski's contested 28-footer missed the rim to the left.
Wroblewski scored a career-high 25 points, to go along with five rebounds, five assists, six turnovers and four steals. He played 38 minutes in just his second game since returning from an ankle injury. Courtney said he probably played his best player too much.
Wroblewski had two opportunities in the final minute to erase Bonaventure's lead. He was well-defended both times by Ogo Adegboye, who blocked the second effort and recovered the loose ball.
"I want the ball in his hands at the end of the game, and I have faith he's going to make the right decision," Courtney said. "He probably played too many minutes and that's on me because I think if he was a little fresher he would have made a better play."
Bonaventure's length and interior defense forced Cornell into a one-trick pony offense. Of Cornell's 17 field goals, 12 came from beyond the three-point line. The Big Red had just six points in the paint, and shot 19 percent inside the arc (5-for-26). The one player capable of attacking the rim off the dribble, sophomore Errick Peck, struggled to get untracked. He played 16 minutes and was 0-for-4 from the field.
"We don't have a team of great penetrators off the bounce," Courtney said. "We know that. It's not a strength of ours. When we do it, it has to be one-two, penetrate, kick or dump. We can't intend on going hard to the basket; it's not a good play for us."
In the second half, Cornell shot 24.1 percent and only got to the free throw line 11 times. The three-point sniping and another quality defensive effort was good enough to lead for the majority of the game; just not good enough to win.
Groebe had 16 points on five of nine shooting.
"I thought our defense in the half-court changed the game, especially when we got down by 11," Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt said. "We decided at halftime that we couldn't help off their shooters. They were getting by us and we were helping, so we decided to stick the shooters and help them inside. So our big guys got a few blocks."
- Ithaca's men's team put all five starters in double figures, and got a big 3-pointer in the final minute from Sean Rossi to beat Grove City, 72-68, in the first round of the Penn State-Behrend Tip-off Tournament in Erie, Pa. Grove City took a one-point lead with under 30 seconds remaining, but Rossi hit the go-ahead shot, a 3, with about 20 seconds left. Two free throws then sealed it. Jordan Marcus scored 17 points. Freshman Christian Jordan had 12. Ithaca hit 15 treys in the game. The Bombers will play host PS-Behrend on Saturday for the tip-off title. Behrend beat Muskingum, 60-56, in the nightcap.
- Ithaca's women's team took one on the chin tonight, 92-50, to No. 5 Rochester. Kathryn Campbell had a team-high 9 points for the 1-1 Bombers, who play Mount St. Mary at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Chuck Resler Invitational consolation game.
- St. Bonaventure rallied from an 11-point deficit in the second half to beat Cornell, 56-54, in a men's game at Newman Arena. The outcome snapped Cornell's 12-game win streak at home. Demitrius Conger hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 47 seconds left for the Bonnies (2-1). Cornell is now 2-2 and plays at Lehigh on Monday.
- Host Fairfield used a 25-5 run in the first half to blow past Cornell, 71-61, in a nonleague women's game Friday night. Freshman Stephanie Long led Cornell with 16 points.
Ok, now let's analyze Cornell's loss to Bonaventure. Through four games, Cornell's biggest storyline going forward is the ongoing struggles of Errick Peck. He had zero points on 0-for-4 shooting over 16 minutes, and looked nothing like the player who performed at such a high level in preseason scrimmages and practices. He did have a few good defensive possessions, but those were clearly overshadowed by his difficulties on offense. Bill Courtney was asked about Peck in today's post-game:
"I'm really not sure right now. It's a little bit of a mystery. He had a tough week this week. I know he's had a lot of preliminary tests. This is an Ivy League institution. We have a lot of tests and papers and stuff, and it can effect you, just like any other student. So he's had a tough week. We'll try to figure out a way to get him going. We wanted to bring him off the bench tonight to kind of relieve the pressure off of him. But he's a good player and we haven't lost faith in him. Eventually, he's going to come around. I have full belief that's going to happen."
What can he do immediately to get better?
"Don't worry about offense. Because whether you miss or make a shot, or turn the ball over, get it on 'D.' I thought he had a great hustle play. He came over and blocked the shot and unfortunately they called a foul, but I thought it was a great hustle play by him. I thought he also stole the ball one time, and they called another reach on him. So he had some bad breaks, he's gotten some bad breaks, and we have faith he's going to break out of this slump a little bit. He's a good player. His time will come."
Without Peck's ability to slash into the lane, and finish at or above the rim, Cornell was exposed tonight when it came to attacking the basket. It was ultimately one-dimensional. St. Bonaventure was successful in moving Aaron Osgood off the block, and Andrew Nicholson's length, strength, agility and mobility bothered him. (He's a much better defender then Herb Pope of Seton Hall; so was Delaware's Hagins) When the Bonnies stopped helping off the perimeter, and pretty much told its 5-man to rotate and alter a shot, they solved most of their defensive issues.
"It's kind of a double-edged sword there for us," Courtney said. "We don't have a team of great penetrators off the bounce. That's not a strength of ours. What we do has got to be, one-two, penetrate, kick or dump pass. We can't intend on going all the way to the basket. It's not a good play for us. In the first half we had three layup opportunities we didn't finish because we're not good at that. So going to the basket, probably one guy who's pretty good at it (Peck) and he's struggling right now. We're going to have to throw it in there to our big guys and go inside-out, because it's going to be very difficult for us to dribble-penetrate to the rim. It's just not - even Chris, it's not his game. He needs to stop around the foul line area or he'll get himself in trouble. He ends up jumping in the air and throwing it back, and that's not what we want."
I thought for the most part, Wroblewski was terrific on both ends of the court. He finished with 25 points, 5 boards, 5 assists, 4 steals and 6 turnovers. He had 3 turnovers in the final 2:40 of the first half, when he was clearly gassed. But on one, he stole the ball back from Ogo Adegboye, and on another, Conger missed a dunk and didn't capitalize. (Conger scored off the third and final turnover). He had a couple opportunities in the final minute of the game, that would have either given Cornell the lead or tied the game, and he didn't connect. The second one (that Adegboye blocked), he acknowledged he'd like to have back.
This Cornell team is already very good defensively. Some of the personnel that's playing comes at the expense of offense, but I remain impressed with how they defend on the ball, how the guards pressure entry passes and how well they strafe on penetrators into the lane. As Courtney pointed out, though, they need to finish the possession out. They didn't do that tonight too many times, and it ended up costing them a win.
"Those first shots, I think we were good (defensively)," Courtney said. "But part of being a good defensive team is finishing the play. Whether you force a turnover or get a rebound, you don't get a stop unless you get a rebound. When we were able to get rebounds, it allowed us to get in transition and make it hard on them to match up and all of a sudden we'd get an open 3. But we couldn't get a stop."
As Wroblewski pointed out afterwards, if there's a positive for Cornell fans tonight, it's that Cornell played a fairly average to below-average game on offense and still was within a bucket of beating an Atlantic-10 team. Last year, of course, you wouldn't have looked at a loss like this in that scope. But right now, with this team, you can. Let's face it - no Ivy team is trotting out an Andrew Nicholson/Da'Quan Cook/Demitrius Conger frontcourt this season. That group's athleticism and length reminded me a lot of that Ahmad Nivins/Idris Hilliard combo from the 2008-09 St. Joseph's team.
ITHACA, N.Y. – Demitrius Conger recorded career-highs of 22 points and 14 rebounds, Andrew Nicholson booked his second double-double in as many nights with 19 points and 10 boards, and St. Bonaventure (2-1) overcame an 11-point second half deficit with a 13-2 run to defeat host Cornell, 56-52, Friday night at Newman Arena.
Conger's 3-pointer with just 47 seconds left turned a two-point Cornell (2-2) advantage into a lead the Bonnies would not relinquish. The sophomore Brooklyn, N.Y. native was a perfect 2-for-2 from behind the arc, while the rest of the team combined to go 0-for-9.
"I was talking to coach and he was telling me to be more aggressive, so that's what I tried to do tonight," said Conger. "I just wanted to get the win."
Cornell guard Chris Wroblewski drained six threes and finished with a game-high 25 points and five assists – including one on a 3-pointer to backcourt mate Max Groebe that put the Big Red up 11 at the 11:32 mark of the final stanza.
From there though, the Bonnies got to the free throw line to help snap Cornell's 12-game home win streak despite shooting a woeful 32 percent (8-of-25) from the field in the second half. St. Bonaventure had a plus-20 (48-28) advantage on the glass, but Cornell's lights out shooting (12-of-26) from deep kept it close.
Davenport – who finished 7-of-8 from the stripe- converted a pair of pair of free throws to cap off the comeback and give the Bonnies their first lead, 45-44, since the 15:28 mark of the first half.
Cornell responded with a quick spurt to take a four point lead, 51-47, on Drew Ferry's triple, but St. Bonaventure answered right back with a Nicholson jumper and Conger's decisive three.
The Bona lead grew to as many as four, before Groebe hit another trifecta with seven ticks left. Nicholson hit the front end of a pair of free throws and Wroblewski's look at a game-winning three went wide to lift St. Bonaventure to its first victory against Cornell since Dec. 6, 1977.
"It's good for our guys to see that what we preach as coaches – from a defensive and a rebounding standpoint – that if they do it, then good things happen and we have a chance," said Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt.
"You stress it all the time and sometimes it goes in one ear and out the other. But when you experience it and they say 'man our offense was horrible' you see that we won because we defended and rebounded."
The Bonnies scored the game's first five points before Wroblewski hit from distance on three straight possessions to make it 9-5. Ferry ended the 19-4 run with another three at the 9:31 mark to push the Big Red advantage to 10 at 19-9. St. Bonaventure ended the half on a 12-4 run – highlighted by Conger's other triple – to take a 28-26 deficit into the break.
Conger's layup tied the game at 28 to open the second half but more threes from Wroblewski and Groebe gave Cornell an 11-point cushion following a 14-3 run that spanned 8:28 of the second half.
The Bonnies return to action Sunday against Binghamton in the second of three straight road games.
NOTES: Wroblewski was in the Big Red lineup for the second straight game after missing the team's first two games with an ankle injury … sophomore F Marquise Simmons missed his third straight contest with a hand injury … Wright and Roseboro were the first off the bench for the second straight game … SBU was 3-11 in its last 14 road games going in … Cornell is now 25-2 in its last 27 games at Newman Arena … the Bonnies blocked a season-high six shots including a rejection by senior G Ogo Adegboye on a game-tying jumper with 16 seconds left.
Box Score - Recap
Nicholson finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Bonnies (2-1), who trailed 51-47 with 2:30 left after Cornell’s Drew Ferry scored. But that was the last time the Big Red (2-2) would lead as St. Bonaventure pulled ahead for good on a 3-pointer by Conger.
Michael Davenport, who scored nine points and had eight rebounds, scored the next three points on free throws for the Bonnies, who held Cornell to one field goal the rest of the way. Davenport also had four steals.
Chris Wroblewski led the Big Red with 25 points, shooting 6 for 9 from beyond the arc. He also had five assists, four steals and six turnovers. Max Groebe also had 16 points.
St. Bonaventure staged a late comeback to earn its second consecutive men's basketball triumph, while Big 4 counterpart Niagara had a tough time at Georgia Tech on Friday.
Bona overcame a 51-47 deficit in the final 2:30 to earn a 56-54 triumph over Cornell in Ithaca.
Andrew Nicholson, who finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, began the comeback with a jumper. The Bonnies took the lead for good during their next trip down the floor on a three-pointer by Demitrius Conger, who finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Conger earned the trey attempt after grabbing Bona's second offensive rebound of the possession.
Michael Davenport, who scored nine points and had eight rebounds, scored the next three points on free throws for the Bonnies, who held Cornell to one field goal the rest of the way. Davenport also had four steals.
Chris Wroblewski had 25 points to lead the Big Red, which reached the Sweet 16 last year.
St. Bonaventure's box score usually has one player with a 20-point, 10-rebound performance.
Friday's game at Cornell was no different, except maybe the name next to it.
Not All-Atlantic-10 Conference Preseason first-team selection Andrew Nicholson,
But Demetrius Conger, a sophomore guard who mustered up 4.5 points rebounds per game prior to Friday's 56-54 victory.
But then you remember the lanky, uber-athletic 6'6" guard that effortlessly slammed a 360-degree dunk in warmups back in the Nov. 5 home opener.
Then you remember Coach Mark Schmidt and his staff talking about Conger as a potential player being a No. 2 scoring option after senior point guard Ogo Adegboye graduates.
So should a career-high 22-point, 14-rebound performance on 8-of-11 shooting, against a team that went to last year's Sweet 16 (though a drastically different and less-talented shell of it), really surprise anyone?
Not surprise as in shocked, but the Bonnies faithful should be pleasantly surprised that Friday's game may be the start of Conger's athleticism converting to basketball talent.
But another underlying storyline came from this game, pleasantly surprising Coach Schmidt.
The Bonnies trailed the Big Red by seven with 9:01 left in the game and Nicholson going to the bench with four fouls.
But then Cornell's Anthony Gatlin misses two free throws. Dwight Tarwater misses a three. Errick Peck misses a layup.
Bonaventure responds with Adegboye hitting two free throws. So does Da'Quan Cook. Michael Davenport shows up big with four free throws with two rebounds and steals.
In a blink of an eye, a Nicholson-less Bonaventure (2-1) had a 45-44 lead and kept Cornell (2-2) without a basket until Max Groebe's layup with 4:47 left.
And when the Bonnies trailed by two with less than a minute, it wasn't Nicholson that saved them.
Conger converted a three with 47 seconds left after he fought for an offensive rebound couple seconds before.
Davenport's two free throws ended up being the game's winning points.
Adegboye's block sealed the two-point victory.
Coach Schmidt needed a game like this—a game that showed his players firsthand how good they can be with or without Nicholson on the court.
Because this game came sooner than later, Schmidt can now get the most out of his players before the Jan. 8 A-10 opener at home.
In his post-game radio interview, first thing Schmidt mentioned was about the effort and heart his players gave Friday.
I have a feeling this won't be Conger's last 20-point, 10-rebound performance, either. I have a feeling Davenport could finish in A10's all-defensive first team by the end of the season. I have a feeling Nicholson will be double teamed less and may finish second on the team with assists as a result.
But most importantly, I have a feeling Schmidt will say Friday's game could be the game that made this season into a success.
The success of Bonnies winning multiple games at the A10 Tournament instead of one like last season that is.
By Quintin Schwab
Cornell Daily Sun
“I didn’t make plays and didn’t hit shots down the stretch,” Wroblewski said.
The 2008-09 Ivy League Rookie of the Year also missed potential lead-taking and game-tying jump shots with 28 and 16 seconds remaining, respectively.
“I have to hold myself accountable for that,” he said.
For the majority of the game, however, Wroblewski was the big-time player for the Red (2-2, 0-0 Ivy). Despite six turnovers, he finished with a career-high 25 points along with five rebounds, five assists and four steals, and first-year head coach Bill Courtney didn’t mind his aggression in the game’s final minutes.
“I want the ball in Chris’ hands,” Courtney said. “He probably played too many minutes , and that’s on me. Maybe if he had gotten a little more rest he would’ve had his legs for the last few shots.”
St. Bonaventure guard Demitrius Conger, who finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds –– both career-highs –– nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing with 47 seconds left to give the Bonnies (2-1, 0-0 Atlantic 10) the lead for good, 52-51.
Junior forward and NBA prospect Andrew Nicholson added 19 points and 10 rebounds for St. Bonaventure, and was a key inside presence for the Bonnies, who out-rebounded the Red, 48-28.
“It was in the scouting report: we knew if we could rebound the ball we would get the win,” Courtney said. “You don’t get a stop until you get a rebound.
“We told our guys, ‘they’re going to miss the shot, just go get the rebound,’” he said, speaking of the sequence preceding Conger’s critical shot, in which St. Bonaventure corralled two offensive rebounds and earned several loose balls.
“We weren’t hungry enough to go after the 50-50 balls –– either team could’ve gotten them. We didn’t,” Courtney said. “That was the most disappointing thing.”
Not only did the Cornell forwards have trouble rebounding, but they failed to produce offensively, too. All but two points –– on a layup by senior center Mark Coury with 5:51 left in the first half –– were produced by the Red backcourt.
Senior guard Max Groebe also had a career-high 16 points on 4-of-6 3-point shooting. He and Wroblewski alone produced 76 percent of the Red’s scoring. Cornell was 5-of-26 on 2-point field goals for the game, and shot only 24 percent overall in the second half.
“We’ve got to try to be more aggressive and regain our offensive balance,” Courtney said. “Dribble penetration is not one of our strengths, so production down low is going to have to come from feeding the post.”
One Cornell player capable of getting into the lane is struggling sophomore Errick Peck, who didn’t score in 16 minutes of action. The talented forward, who didn’t start for the first time this season, was at the heart of a crucial sequence that changed the complexion of the game.
With 7:12 remaining and the Red leading, 44-35, Peck had his shot swatted by St. Bonaventure forward Brett Roseboro, then picked up a foul on the other end. The next time down, he turned the ball over and immediately committed another foul. The result: a 6-0 Bonnies run that pulled the visitors within three points. Two free throws from guard Michael Davenport gave St. Bonaventure the lead a minute later.
“The first game, [Erick] had a tough time making shots,” Courtney said. “The second game, he got in foul trouble; the third game, it was a little of both; the fourth game, he started thinking about how he’s struggling.”
After a put-back by Conger on one of St. Bonaventure’s 14 offensive rebounds tied the game at 28-all a minute into the second half, Cornell went on a 14-3 run, ending on Groebe’s 3-pointer with 11:32 left to play. But second chances and increased defensive pressure propelled the Bonnies on a 24-9 run that put them in front, 55-51, with 13 seconds remaining.
“Along with our guys going after it on rebounds, I think our defensive pressure picked up in the second half, and that was a big difference,” said St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt.
Groebe’s 3-pointer with 4.3 seconds left pulled the Red within one, 55-54. Nicholson then hit 1-of-2 free throws for the Bonnies, leading to Wroblewski’s challenged final attempt that could habe won the game.
Although the St. Bonaventure guards shot a combined 1-of-15 from the field, their defensive intensity –– particularly from senior Ogo Adegboye on Wroblewski –– wore out Cornell down the stretch.
Cornell will look to move back above .500 when it begins a five-game road swing at Lehigh (1-2, 0-0 Patriot League) on Monday in Bethlehem, Pa. The reigning Patriot League champions offer another set of talented guards in sophomore C.J. McCollum and Michael Ojo, who scored 23 points in the team’s last outing –– a 69-68 loss to Monmouth –– after missing the first two games of the season.
The Red hopes to put the frustrating loss to St. Bonaventure behind it, starting against the Mountain Hawks.
“There are a lot of things we can improve and correct on,” Wroblewski said. “If we take a positive out of [the game against St. Bonaventure], we lost by two and played an average game by every means.”