Tuesday, November 16, 2010

News and Notes: Tuesday Edition

Above, Cornell's Jake Matthews in action on Sunday against Seton Hall. Below, some news and notes...

Cornell recruit, Dave Lamore (above center), a 6'10" center from Dexter High School in Michigan, formally announces his commitment to Cornell during the NCAA signing day.
  • If you missed it, we previously posted SlopeTVs video highlights from Cornell's first two games at Albany and Seton Hall. Slope's Sam Aleinikoff also recaps the Big Red's opening weekend as follows:

“It’s like Linus without his blanket. We’re missing our blanket right now and hopefully we’ll get it back soon.”

Cornell head coach Bill Courtney likened his team’s situation without starting point guard Chris Wroblewski to a comic strip on Sunday, but with the All-Ivy Honorable mention sidelined due to injury, the Red’s 24-point loss to Seton Hall was far from comical.

Jeremy Hazell led the Pirates with 28 points, scoring with ease from both beyond the arc in half court sets and at the rim in transition. Jeff Robinson posted 16 points and 10 boards, leading the charge on the glass for Seton Hall, who out-rebounded Cornell 46-29.

Meanwhile, without Wroblewski, the Red tested four inexperienced players at the point guard position. Sophomore Miles Asafo-Adjei got the start, with freshman Jake Matthews, junior transfer Drew Ferry and sophomore Jonathan Gray each playing at least 19 minutes and shouldering some of the ball handling responsibilities.

"He’s such a huge part of our team," Courtney said of Wroblewski. "He’s our leader on the floor. He’s our primary ball handler. He’s the only guy with experience. So when you’re missing that guy and you’re used to having him, it’s kind of difficult for us to execute, get into our offense and have a leader out there on the floor."

All four replacements struggled shooting the basketball at the Prudential Center, connecting on just four of a combined 22 attempts from the floor and going 2-for-13 from long range.

For stretches though, each showed the ability to run the team. Asafo-Adjei hounded oppossing point guards, drawing offensive fouls on consecutive possessions in the second half. Ferry dished out a pair of assists and Gray was able to consistently get into the lane, although he ultimately struggled to finish at the hoop.

Matthews impressed most. After tossing up an airball on his first collegiate shot attempt, the freshman settled down to provide four assists without a turnover in 23 minutes of game action. On the defensive end, he provided effective pressure on Seton Hall point guards Jordan Theodore and Keon Lawrence despite giving up a substantial amount of weight to his opponents.

Health provided fewer problems for the Red frontcourt as senior tri-captain Aaron Osgood posted a career-high 19 points, 17 of which came in the first half. Forward Adam Wire added seven points, seven rebounds and three steals while reserves Josh Figini and Anthony Gatlin each chipped in eight points from the forward positions.

In all, nine players logged at least 10 minutes for the Red, with everyone who dressed other than Wroblewski seeing time on the floor. Having lost eight seniors from last year's squad the new coaching staff is still trying to establish their young team's rotation.

“I thought I was beginning to have a little bit of a sense of the rotation," Courtney said, chuckling at the notion of a lineup that's set. "But we've got to see a little more hunger from some of the guys."

At times in the second half it felt as if Courtney was using the Pirates' large lead to stage head-to-head matchups with players vying for minutes. Matthews and Asafo-Adjei saw the floor at the same time while Gatlin and Figini, both potential backups at the power forward position, also were in the game together. With Gatlin scoring during each of his first two possessions on the court and Figini putting in three of his own late in the game, the competition seemed to bring a sense of urgency and aggressiveness to the Red's attack that was lacking at other points.

"We were just kind of passing it around the outside, looking for a shot but we need to really get in there and make something happen," Wire said.

Courtney acknowledged the same problem

"More disturbing than anything for us is the fact that we played passively," the first-year head coach said. "We talked a lot about, in preparation for the game, being aggressive and trying to be on the attack and we really didn't execute that."

Courtney offered up "nerves" and Seton Hall's full-court pressure as potential explanations for his team's demeanor. He also stressed the importance of finding a rhythm defensively, regardless of the results on the offensive end.

"With this young group, what happens is, when we miss shots or don’t play well offensively, we tend to hang our heads and let it effect us on the defensive end," Courtney said. "It has to be the other way around. It has to start with the defense and offense will come."

As the Red heads into its home opener, the uncertainty that has surrounded the team since practice opened exactly one month ago remains. All thirteen healthy players who traveled logged meaningful minutes this weekend, but only two (Wire and Osgood) seemed to clarify their roles.

Errick Peck looked dominant for short spurts but only played a total of 26 minutes in the two games because of foul trouble and a lack of effectiveness at times. Max Groebe led Cornell with 15 points in the opener but failed to score at Seton Hall. Gray was 4-6 from deep, scoring 12 points against Albany, but struggled from the field on day two. The list goes on.

And with Wroblewski's status for Wednesday's game vs. Delaware still undecided, the picture remains foggy for the time being. Perhaps the best news for the Red is that the Ivy League season is still two months away. And by the time January 15th rolls around, Linus should have his blanket once again.

  • Jon Jaques ('10) recaps the weekend college hoops action for SlamOnline.
  • The Wall Street Journal writes, "despite the Ivy League's hobbling restrictions, one program last season reminded the college basketball world that all that can be overcome. After 20 years of work in the league, Steve Donahue guided his Cornell squad to a 13-1 conference record and a stunning NCAA Tournament run to the Round of 16."
  • In Ivy roster report news, Yale's All-Ivy captain Michael Sands has left the Bulldog basketball team for "personal reasons." Additionally, Columbia had three players leave the team during recent weeks with Sandeep Dhaliwal, Tom Piscina and Issa Masse all dropping off the roster. Check out the adjusted roster sizes of Ivy League teams for the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons by clicking here.

  • Luke Dykes of Bleacher Report ranks the Ivy League as the 25th best conference and comments, " This may be my most disappointing rating of any. I love watching the Ivy Leaguers prove that brains can beat brawn as much as the next guy, but with the majority of Cornell's team leaving and Harvard sensation Jeremy Lin having graduated, it's back to the drawing board for most of the conference. It seems that the predominating favorite this season is Princeton. The Tigers are seemingly the only team that has enough returning talent to make a dent. However, the Ivy League is unique in the fact that they have no conference tourney and the regular season goes straight to the NCAA tournament without having to play anyone. The reason for this ranking is the lack of support behind a weak Princeton. Last season, the Ivy League would have probably been 5 or 6 spots higher due to the high play of Cornell and underrated Harvard as well as the once young Princeton team. Now with only one really viable candidate for a strong team, the league suffers a bit."
  • Rush The Court recapped Cornell defeat at Seton Hall on Sunday as follows:
Entering Sunday’s game at Seton Hall, new Big Red coach Bill Courtney, stressed two main priorities: avoid turnovers and keep The Hall away from the offensive glass. By halftime, the visiting Big Red trailed 50-35 and a big reason was the inability to execute what Courtney stressed. The Pirates went on to post a convincing 92-68 win at the Prudential Center. Cornell committed nine turnovers in 41 possessions, a 22% turnover rate (20% or more is generally unacceptable). On the offensive glass, the Hall owned a 17-12 edge. More telling was the offensive rebounding percentage where Seton Hall enjoyed a monstrous 52%-19% gap.

“Outside of those two factors, the thing that bothered me was that we were passive,” Courtney said. “We opened at Albany on Friday (a 65-61 Cornell win) and as a young team we were very excited. Today we came into a Big East arena and were passive. We prepared but did not attack.”

On the flip side, another face in a new place, Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard, had concerns of his own. Seton Hall dropped a tough 62-56 decision at Temple on Friday. A day later. they watched about 90 minutes of film as a team. “We looked at what we didn’t do on the offensive end on Friday,” Willard said. “Justin Theodore especially paid a great deal of attention studying that tape. Today he came out and gave us what we are looking for.” Theodore did commit five turnovers but had a strong game overall: ten points, seven rebounds and seven assists in 22 minutes. Another significant performer for the Hall was Jeremy Hazell. The senior guard led all scorers with a ‘quiet’ 28 points. Quiet from the standpoint that Hazell took shots (8 of 11 from the field) in the framework of the offense, didn’t force the issue and passed up opportunities to feed teammates with a better look.

“He (Hazell) has taken better quality shots,” Willard said. “He’s played terrific for us both games and really has been terrific all pre-season as well.” Jeff Robinson (16 points 10 boards) and Herb Pope (13 points 6 rebounds) also turned in solid games for Seton Hall.

Aaron Osgood led Cornell with 19 points. The 6’9 senior had 17 at the half and really used his size and positioning well to get to the line. But in one of the stranger stat lines, he was much more proficient from the floor than the charity stripe. Osgood shot 5 of 7 from the field while going 8 of 16 from the line. With no one able to consistently help Osgood, the Big Red relied on a perimeter game. Not good news with a 5 of 24 (21%) showing beyond the arc. Both teams are now 1-1. The final tempo-free ratings – Cornell had 79 possessions and finished with an offensive efficiency rating of 86 while Seton Hall posted 78 possessions, finishing with an offensive efficiency rating of 118.

NEWARK, NJ- Coming off a tough loss at Temple on Friday, Seton Hall earned its first win of the season with a convincing 92-68 decision over Cornell at the Prudential Center on Sunday. The five points of emphasis from the game follows…

1. Pace. One game does not give a viable sample but in their 65-61 win at Albany on Friday, Cornell was involved in a slower 59 possession contest. Seton Hall’s loss at Temple was a quicker 72 possession affair. Could the Hall impose its will to get Cornell into a faster pace? They did as the game was a 79 possession (very fast) pace and decidedly in the Hall’s favor.

2. Turnovers. Cornell coach Bill Courtney stressed minimizing turnovers and caring for the ball. For the game the Big Red turned it over 15 times (a 19% TO rate which is acceptable). The first half was the key. Seton Hall’s full court pressure forced 9 turnovers (a high 22% TO rate) and was instrumental in the Pirates building a 50-35 lead at intermission.

3. Rebounding. Courtney again stressed rebounding as a priority. For the game the Pirates enjoyed a decided 46-29 edge on the glass. Again tempo free gives us an even more telling metric as the Hall had a huge 46-25% edge in offensive rebounding percentage (OREB/ (OREB + Opponents DEF REB). Jeff Robinson led the way with 10 boards but even point guard Jordan Theodore got in the act pulling down 7 rebounds.

4. Jeremy Hazell. We all know Hazell can shoot, has good range and can go on a tear. What we saw is a changed and ultimately more effective senior. Hazell led all scorers with a ‘quiet’ 28 points. Quiet from the point that Hazell took shots (8 of 11 from the field) in the framework of the offense , didn’t force the issue and passed up opportunities o feed teammates with a better look. The one shot you can say he forced a bit was a ten footer that he got fouled on and went to the line. “He (Hazell) has taken better quality shots,” a href=”http://www.nbebasketball.com/w3/big-east-team-pages/seton-hall/”>Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. “He’s played terrific for us both games and really has been terrific all pre-season as well.”

5. Osgood is good but needs help. For the Big Red Aaron Osgood led the way with 19 points. The 6-9 senior is effective inside and uses his body very well to draw fouls. The bad news is he needs help. There was no one who joined Osgood in double figure scoring. On one hand Cornell is without the injured point guard Chris Wroblewski. “Without him (Wroblewski) we are like Linus (of Peanuts cartoon fame) without a blanket,” quipped Courtney. Wroblewski will help but as noted a consistent complimentary scorer to Osgood and some inside help are needed for Cornell down the road.

Willard had pre-game concerns of his own. The Pirate coach is stressing defense first in South Orange but it was the offense that needed attention. As noted previously, Seton Hall dropped a tough 62-56 decision at Temple on Friday. A day later they watched about 90 minutes of film as a team. “We looked at what we didn’t do on the offensive end on Friday,” Willard said. “Justin Theordore especially paid a great deal of attention studying that tape. Today he came out and gave us what we are looking for.” Theodore did commit five turnovers but had a strong game overall : 10 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists in 22 minutes.

  • Throughout the season we will provide periodic updates on Cornell's eight (8) overseas alumni playing professionally.
-John McCord ('97) (Strasbourg, Pro A France)-The 6'6" forward is averaging 9.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game for 3-3 Strasbourg. McCord, reportedly the oldest player in the French Pro A, is a former 1st Team All Ivy selection who transferred to Cornell via Monroe College, a JuCo program.

-Jeff Aubry ('99) (Halcones, LNBP Mexico)-The 6'11" center for the Rojos of Halcones is off to a 15-7 start. The former Cornell center and 10 year pro veteran is averaging 5.9 points and 6.3 rebounds. Aubry played several seasons in the NBA D League in the early part of his career.

-Cody Toppert ('05) (Plymouth Raiders, British Basketball League)-The Raiders are 2-3 in BBL action with the 6'4" Toppert shooting 38% from beyond the arc and contributing 11.6 points per game. Toppert writes a regular blog on his team's website. Like Aubry, Toppert is a veteran of the NBA D League.

-Jason Hartford ('08) (Ginasio, LPD Portugal)-Ginasio, undefeated with a 4-0 record in Portugal, is lead by Hartford and his 16.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.

-Louis Dale ('10) (Gottingen, Bundesliga Germany)-Struggling to a 3-6 start in Germany's premier league, Dale has been a bright spot off of Gottingen's bench, averaging 9.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

-Ryan Wittman ('10) (Forli, LegaDue Italy)-After struggling earlier in the season, Wittman's three highest scoring games of the season have been his last three games, including notching 15 points on November 14 in a 80-64 loss to Assigeco. Wittman is averaing 14.7 points, 3.6rebounds, and 2.6 assists for 2-5 Forli.

-Jeff Foote ('10) (Maccabi Tel Aviv, Israel Winner's League)-Maccabi is off to a 5-0 start in the Israeli Winner's League with Foote earning his first minutes on November 15 in a 102-63 rout of Hapoel. Israeli media have been consistently reporting that Foote is in negotiations with Maccabi to have his contract bought ought, allowing him to sign with a new club.

-Jon Jaques ('10) (Ashkelon, Israel Winner's League)-Ashkelon is 1-4 in the Israeli Winner's league with Jaques averaging 3.4 points and 1.2 rebounds per game, including a 6 point performance in 16 minutes on November 14 in a 75-68 loss to Hapoel.
  • 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.
  1. Albany W 65-61 (video recaps)
  2. Seton Hall L 68-92
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 74 Columbia 108 Box Score - Recap
Yale 55 Providence 58 Box Score - Recap

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
  • Below is an updated directory listing of some Twitter feeds associated with the Cornell basketball program. You can also follow The Cornell Basketball Blog on Twitter.
-Josh Wexler ('88)
-Steve Cobb ('05)
-Andrew Naeve ('07)
-Jason Canady ('08)
-Khaliq Gant ('09)
-Conor Mullen ('09)
-Ryan Wittman ('10)
-Pete Reynolds ('10)
-Jon Jaques ('10)
-Louis Dale ('10)
-Alex Tyler ('10)
-Geoff Reeves ('10)
-Jeff Foote ('10)
-Andre Wilkins ('10)
-Max Groebe ('10)
-Aaron Osgood ('10)
-Peter McMillan ()
-Errick Peck ()
-Dominick Scelfo ()
-Jake Mathews ()
-Dwight Tarwater ()
-Manny Sahota ()
-Dave LaMore
-Shonn Miller
-Assistant Coach Ricky Yahn ()
-Assistant Coach Mike Blaine ()
-Assistant Coach Marlon Sears ()
-Brian Delaney, Ithaca Journal ()
-Cornell Daily Sun Sports ()
-Slope Sports ()
-WVBR Sports ()
-Former assistant coach, Jay Larranaga ()

And a few reminders....


Anonymous said...

That video of Donahue is EXACTLY what I was referring to in the Seton Hall comments. Donahue crafted this very effective offensive set that forces the defense to chase and when that happens, the offense can make reads for open shots and easy layups.

I know it's only two games in and we are without our starting pg, but I didn't see any of that kind of strategy being run for our team. Maybe the players aren't executing what Courtney is teaching, but I'm guessing that Courtney doesn't have these kind of sets in his gameplan.

He wants our players to be more aggressive but we don't exactly recruit the type of players that can just take people 1 on 1, break them down, and get to the rack.

Our players need a system that hides their weaknesses and allows us to use strategy to create open looks. Courtney needs to realize that or else we're going to look like a very typical Ivy League team.

Anonymous said...

The offense at this point does seem to have no real organization, they all are afraid to try to drive into the lane, the whole offense is sit on the perimeter and hope Osgood gets open for a layup, if not take a 3, there is nothing in between right now

I know Courtney is stressing defense but right now they could use some work on offense and the defense hasnt been great either

Anonymous said...

However, I think we need to really wait before Wrobo comes back before jumping to any conclusions, if the offense is still lost with Wrobo then we have a big problem and will likely finish in the bottom half of the league since Yale/Columbia/Brown seem to be better than advertised

Anonymous said...

Two games and you're beating up on our new coach? Now, cut that out!

Cornell is 1-1. They won the winnable game and lost a game they had no shot at.

I'm going to just watch for awhile.

Anonymous said...

Jake Matthews is diesel.