- The following comes from the Ithaca Journal's Brian Delaney following Friday's win at Albany:
So let’s be honest. The first 8:34 of Friday’s game was not how Bill Courtney would have scripted his debut. Here are the ugly numbers: 3 for 11 from the floor, 2 for 4 from the FT line, 6 turnovers and a 22-10 deficit. Watching in person, it looked far worse. Players forgot to box out when Albany put shots up; they were relatively stationary on offense. They looked like they never saw a matchup zone before. In short, they looked soft and lost.
In hindsight, it was probably a predictable beginning. Following in the footsteps of the success in recent years is a pressure factor that will take some adjusting to. What adds weight to that pressure, I believe, is that this year’s roster had an immeasurable amount of respect for the guys who left. They believe it’s their responsibility to keep Cornell at an Ivy League championship level, to live up to the standard that has been set. So when the lights went on, they were a little blinding.
Without Chris Wroblewski’s calming presence, the first 8-12 minutes unraveled on Cornell. A better opponent would have blown the doors off. But the scheduling gods were kind. Albany is exceedingly young, and lost probably its best player – guard Mike Black – to a first half ankle injury.
Max Groebe would say later, the start “was a little scary.” But just as thoughts of an 0-28 season began muscling their way into people’s minds, Cornell recovered its composure. Groebe got it started. He hit a pair of free throws and two 3’s to make it 26-20. Then Johnathan Gray – yes, THAT Johnathan Gray – canned a triple, Groebe added another jumper and the game took on new meaning. When Cornell went into the half down only two, the entire building knew Albany missed a clear opportunity for a runaway win.
So what to take from this win?
- Bill Courtney deserves credit for his evaluation of, and confidence in, Gray. He’s known for weeks that Wroblewski would be questionable for opening night. He also knows that Miles Asafo-Adjei can’t play 40 minutes. With Dom Scelfo out, a third point guard was needed. Andrew Ferry largely made good decisions with the ball in his hands last night, but is clearly someone more effective playing off the ball. Freshman Jake Matthews is also more of a 2-guard; that left Gray, the forgotten man (Mea culpa, mea culpa). Courtney dismissed Gray’s status last year as a manager-turned-walk-on, and saw a kid who was poised with the ball, and who could knock down a shot. Gray did both last night. His contributions were critical.
Courtney said he planned on playing him about 10 minutes. Gray played 19. He made 4 of 6 shots, all 3’s, and committed one turnover. He hit a huge 3 midway through the second half that gave Cornell its largest lead, 52-46. Albany got to within one point, and he hit another 3 to make it 58-54.
- Aaron Osgood struggled in the first half, but was very good in the second half. His final stat line was 14 points on 6-of-7 and five rebounds. He had 9 points and 4 boards in the second half. He was tougher on the glass and he finished well around the rim. He showed good hands when receiving passes from guards who drew double-teams, and he showed his range by hitting a 17-foot jumper in the second half. He’s clearly a big piece of Courtney’s plans – consistency will be something to watch.
- I drove to Albany last night wondering if it was possible for Adam Wire to take his contributions from the last two seasons – done usually over the course of 10-15 minutes per game – and expect the same type of production over 30 minutes. For one night, the answer was yes. Wire was exhausted after his 8-assist, 11-rebound effort. Can he do that every night? Cornell will need it. I will say this – he’s capable. I wrote about Wire quite a bit in today's game story.
- Above, I wrote Cornell was 3-for-11 FG w/6 turnovers in the first 8:34. They were 21 for 42 FG w/7 turnovers the rest of the way.
- Andrew Ferry is a player. He shot 4-for-15 last night, but he’ll benefit (like Groebe) from playing off a true point guard when Wroblewski returns. He makes good decisions with the ball and had one or two dipsey-doo drives to the basket.
- Groebe is a good player. He got beat a few times by Tim Ambrose off the dribble last night, but that’s not a great matchup for Groebe. (Ambrose is a barrel-chested, sneaky-quick 5-10 guard.) All told, Groebe played hard at both ends of the court. He showed a bit of a midrange game when he split a hedge on the wing, pulled up from 15 and scored in the first half. He’s a smart player on offense; he moves well without the ball and spaces well. He’s a threat to go backdoor, and that’ll help keep defenses honest.
- A good first showing for freshman Dwight Tarwater. He needs to get better defensively, but he was not a liability on the floor. He’s athletic, and at 6-6, runs the floor well and finishes well. He played 13 minutes.
- Surprised Mark Coury played only 13 minutes? I think it was more a personnel matter than anything else. Courtney wanted Osgood's offense inside, and that ended up being a contributing factor down the stretch. Coury's skill set is not going to be maximized against a matchup zone, which Albany played quite a bit of last night.
- DNP’s last night included Figini, Matthews and Wroblewski. Chemerinski, McMillan and Scelfo were not on the travel roster. Manny Sahota and Anthony Gatlin played three minutes apiece in the first half. Courtney tightened his rotation in the second half. No Figini surprised me - I maintain he helps Cornell down the road.
- The Dagger Blog of YahooSports writes, "How different will Cornell look this season now that the class that took the Big Red to three straight Ivy League titles is gone? Cornell's leading scorer in 60-54 win over Albany was senior guard Max Groebe, who had 15 points on 5-for-10 shooting after averaging just 5.8 minutes per game last season."
- Ranking Temple No. 18 in the country, CollegeHoopsNet.com writes, "The 2009-2010 campaign was supposed to be a little bit of rebuilding year for Temple. Instead, they won 29 games and finished on top of the Atlantic 10 Conference standings alongside Xavier. The season ended in disappointment with a first round loss to Cornell, but this is really the season the Owls have been building towards."
- Sam Blum of the Bleacher Report writes, "Princeton is likely back on top in the Ivies after a great three-year run by Cornell. Princeton defeated Rutgers in overtime on Friday, while Cornell barely scraped out a win against Albany."
- In previewing Kansas' game against Valpo, KUSports.com writes, "In much the same way Cornell did a year ago when it came into Allen Fieldhouse and threw the Jayhawks a scare, Valpo brings a great deal of experience onto the court."
- The MidMajority.com tweets, "Just filed a Cornell story for @BasketballTimes. I think it's good! It's about changes, managers becoming players, the new Dog Pound, etc."
- JewishJournal.com writes, "Last year was truly an amazing year for Jewish college basketball. So many good stories, that it has left us expecting great things. This year does not look as promising, although there are a few bright spots. So we decided to look back at the players who have left the college ranks and find out what those players are up to now...Jon Jaques - Jaques is best known for helping Cornell with their impressive run in the tournament. Jaques (who we recently interviewed) has also taken his game to Israel. He signed a one-year contract with Ironi Ashkelon. He also writes for Slam Magazine. He seems to be happy and has made Aliyah for the time being."
- Former Cornell assistant coach, Joe Burke is settling in as head coach of Skidmore College.
- The Arizona Daily Star writes of Syracuse, "The Orange almost always play the most cupcakes in college hoops. [Coach Jim Boheim] didn't disappoint this year. Syracuse plays Canisius, Detroit, William & Mary, Cornell, Colgate, Iona, Morgan State and Drexel."
- Madison.com notes that Jordan Taylor of the Wisconsin Badgers uses the 2nd round NCAA Tournament loss to Cornell a year ago as motivation.
- Boston College earned its first win in the Steve Donahue era on Friday night with a victory over St. Francis (NY). The Boston Herald writes, "Donahue took Cornell to three straight Ivy League titles and a trip to the round of 16 this year, earning the first NCAA wins in school history. He led the Big Red to a 29-5 record last season — the most wins in Ivy history — and the school’s first ranking in The Associated Press Top 25 in 59 years. Cornell beat favored Temple and Wisconsin to become the first Ivy team to reach the Sweet 16 in more than three decades; they lost to top-seeded Kentucky 62-45 in the East Regional semifinals."
- In previewing the ACC, broadcaster Dan Bonner noted, " While Donahue obviously did a great job developing talent at Cornell, he is stepping up a couple of weight classes at BC."
- Hoopville writes of B.C., "Steve Donahue took over the program in April after ten years as the head coach at Cornell. His success the past three seasons, including a run to the Sweet 16 last season, is well-documented by now. The first year with a new head coach is always difficult to project, and this is no different."
- The Buffalo News notes of St. Bonaventure, "The Bonnies finish November with three road games, beginning with a trip to Cornell on Friday."
- Lehigh Athletics notes that the Mountain Hawks will host "Ivy League Champion and Sweet 16 participant Cornell on Nov. 22 at 7 p.m."
- The Examiner notes that VCU will host Wofford, New Hampshire and Cornell in VCU's Christmas Tournament.
- Game Recaps-Below are links to our game recaps from each of Cornell's games this season. Associated press recaps courtesy of Rivals.com/YahooSports.com are always available by clicking on Cornell's schedule/results on the right column of this blog.
- Here is a look at Ivy League results and upcoming games. A full Ivy composite schedule may viewed by clicking here.
Friday, November 12
Columbia 71 La Salle 82 Box Score - Recap
Rutgers 73 Princeton 78 OT Box Score - Recap
Cornell 65 Albany 61 Box Score - Recap
Brown 69 Fordham 65 Box Score - Recap
Saturday, November 13
Harvard 53 George Mason 66 Box Score - Recap
Davidson 64 Penn 69 Box Score - Recap
Dartmouth 52 Providence 87 Box Score - Recap
Yale 75 Quinnipiac 84 Box Score - Recap
Sunday, November 14
Cornell 68 Seton Hall 92 Noon [SNY/ESPN3/ESPN Full Court] Box Score - Recap
Princeton 60 Duke 97 [ESPNU] Box Score - Recap
Monday, November 15
Maryland-Eastern Shore at Columbia, 7 pm
Yale at Providence, 7 pm
Tuesday, November 16
Brown at Rhode Island, 7 pm
New Hampshire at Dartmouth, 7 pm
Wednesday, November 17
Delaware at Cornell, 7 pm
Holy Cross at Harvard, 7 pm
Penn at Manhattan, 7 pm
Columbia at St. John’s, 8 pm
Thursday, November 18
Yale at Boston College, 7 pm
Friday, November 19
St. Bonaventure at Cornell, 7 pm
Dartmouth at Hartford, 7 pm
Saturday, November 20
Harvard at Mercer, 3 pm
Sacred Heart at Brown, 7 pm
Columbia at Longwood, 7 pm
Drexel at Penn, 7 pm
Sunday, November 21
Dartmouth at Loyola (Md.), Noon