Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Sports Network Takes UNH Big Over Cornell

(Photo Cornell Daily Sun)
Below, the Sports Network's UNH-Cornell preview...

New Hampshire (5-5) vs. Cornell (2-8)

The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 29th, 5:00 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Verizon Wireless Arena (7,500) -- Richmond, Virginia. Television: none. Home Record: New Hampshire 3-1, Cornell 1-2. Away Record: New Hampshire 2-4, Cornell 1-6. Neutral Record: New Hampshire 0-0, Cornell 0-0. Conference Record: New Hampshire 0-0, Cornell 0-0. Series Record: New Hampshire leads, 2-1.

GAME NOTES: The New Hampshire Wildcats and the Cornell Big Red will meet this evening in an opening round game of the VCU Christmas Tournament at Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center.

The Wildcats began the season at 5-2 before dropping their last three contests to fall to 5-5. The losing started on Dec. 9th, when UNH fell, 71-63, to Army. The Wildcats then lost, 64-52, to Rhode Island and most recently, were defeated by Central Connecticut State, 71-50, on Dec. 22nd.

Cornell began the season on a high note, as it won two of its first three games. Since then the air has flushed out of the sails, as the Big Red has lost seven consecutive games. In its last contest, Cornell fell to Bucknell, 75-64, on Dec. 20th. On a positive note, Cornell will look to extend a nine- game win streak in in-season tournament games tonight.

This will be the fourth meeting between New Hampshire and Cornell, with the Wildcats holding a 2-1 edge. The teams have not met since 2003.

New Hampshire has averaged a meager 55 ppg during its current losing streak. Against CCSU, the Wildcats mustered an underwhelming 50 points. Poor execution hampered them across the board as they shot just 31.4 percent from the field, including 25 percent from three-point range and 56.5 percent from the free throw line. The offense handed out just seven assists against an inexcusable 24 turnovers, while the defense allowed CCSU to dish out 21 assists. DeAndray Buckley was the high man for UNH, as he finished with 12 points, while Tyrone Conley added 11 points. The lack of offensive production has been heightened of late, but in reality, is has been a problem all season. The Wildcats currently average just 58.6 ppg on 36.5 percent shooting. Alvin Abreu, who is currently out due to injury, paces the team with 14 ppg, but tellingly, converts just 36.8 percent of his field goal attempts. Conley and Fred Myrick each average around 12 ppg in his stead.

The Big Red was in the hunt to break its losing streak, trailing Bucknell by just one at the half, but the defense floundered after the break, allowing Bucknell to shoot 56 percent from the floor en route to the 75-64 decision. Cornell did receiver a stellar night from Errick Peck, who poured in a career- high 21 points and grabbed eight boards. Max Groebe was also solid as he came off the bench to hit 5-of-7 shots for his 15 points. Chris Wrobleski leads the team in scoring this season, averaging 13.4 ppg, while Drew Ferry averages 10.4 ppg in support. The Big Red is severely hindered by a lack of size and is currently being outrebounded by 7.9 rpg, which goes a long way to explain the team's minus-5. scoring margin.

New Hampshire has struggled to score points as of late, but the Wildcats should find the going easier against a Cornell team which has forgotten how to win.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: New Hampshire 65, Cornell 55

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