By Brian Delaney
January 9, 2010
ITHACA - Its issues are still far from resolved, and yet Cornell's men's basketball team did something Saturday afternoon it hadn't done this season: close out a win despite shooting under 40 percent, overcoming foul trouble to key players, and being outrebounded.
Visiting Stony Brook never got its best player, junior guard Bryan Dougher, on track, while Cornell standout Chris Wroblewski poured in 29 points in the Big Red's 60-52 victory in front of 1,679 at Newman Arena.
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The result puts Cornell at 4-10 heading into Ivy League play. The Big Red is three-time defending league champion, but considered a long shot to win a fourth. The league appears to be chasing Princeton and Harvard.
“I think every game we've played (that has been close), most of them haven't been going our way,” Wroblewski said. “So it's nice to finally get one of these and boost our confidence going into the Ivy League season. Because now, we're zero and zero.”
Wroblewski was 8-for-13 from the floor, 4-for-6 from the three-point arc and 9-for-10 from the free throw line. He played 38 minutes and committed just one turnover despite intense full-court pressure from a desperate Stony Brook late. The 29-point output was a career-high.
“He was tremendous today,” coach Bill Courtney said. “He really let the game come to him. He took the shots that were available to him, and once we saw he had it going we tried to figure out ways to get him open. His teammates did a good job of getting him open realizing that he had it going.”
Cornell led 43-39 with 7:04 left when Wroblewski keyed an important run. Working without the ball along the baseline, he received a pass from Adam Wire on a back-cut, drew the defense, and dumped to Aaron Osgood for an easy dunk.
Cornell got a stop, and Wroblewski padded the lead with a slicing, bruising drive to the basket. His lip was bloodied on the play.
While he received medical attention, Adam Wire stole a rebound from a Stony Brook player and got an easy layup for a 49-39 lead.
Courtney pointed to that sequence as pivotal.
The closest the Seawolves (6-8) would get was six in the final minute, but Wroblewski hit four straight free throws to seal the win.
Dougher, a second-team all-America East Conference player as a sophomore, had a team-high 12 points. Seven of those came in the final 1:43, after his team trailed by double digits. He got in foul trouble early, and was flustered at times by a box-and-1 defense.
For Cornell, the win salved an ugly first half of offense. Wire and Errick Peck got in foul trouble, and Courtney used every available player on his bench trying to find a spark that did not come. The bench was 0-for-7 from the field in the half, for one point.
Defensively, the Big Red played hard to end a streak of four games in which its opponent shot better than 50 percent from the field. Stony Brook shot 34.8 percent. Cornell made 17 of 47 shots, for 36.2 percent.
Osgood had nine points and eight boards of the bench, the bulk of which came after halftime.
Cornell opens Ivy League play on Saturday at Columbia.
Stony Brook didn't have to go north to get cold. The Seawolves' shooting already was chilly.
Their offensive woes continued in a 60-52 loss at Cornell Saturday. With 12 points, Bryan Dougher was the only member of the Seawolves in double figures. Stony Brook, which is tied for 334th in the nation in field-goal percentage (out of 346 teams), shot 34.8 percent.
"It's a combination of a lot of things," coach Steve Pikiell said. "We've got to get easier shots for our guys in and around the paint."
Things clearly aren't clicking from the outside. Stony Brook (6-8) made only 2 of 13 three-point attempts and Dougher, who had made at least one three-pointer in 24 straight games, misfired on both of his attempts.
Dave Coley scored nine points off the bench, including two free throws with 7:55 to play that brought Stony Brook within striking distance at 43-39. But a 6-0 run gave Cornell a 49-39 lead, matching its largest of the game.
Backup point guard Anthony Jackson was the latest to get stung by the injury bug, hurting a shoulder late in the game.
"What's been frustrating is all the injuries," Pikiell said. "Just when we're trying to get our rotation and guys comfortable, we're having to deal with some obstacles."
Even when Jackson was available, he shot 1-for-8 from the field and 1-for-3 from the line.
"There's not just one easy solution," Pikiell said of the team's shooting. "A lot of guys have to chip in. Give Cornell a lot of credit."
The Big Red (4-10), the darling of last year's NCAA Tournament in a run to the Sweet 16, was led by a career-high 29 points from junior Chris Wroblewski.
After a seven-hour bus ride through snow Friday, the Seawolves will remain in the Southern Tier for Monday's game against America East rival Binghamton. Jackson, who will see a doctor Sunday, is unlikely to be available as Stony Brook looks to avoid its first three-game losing streak of the season.
Said Pikiell: "The good part for our guys is that they've got to forget about [Saturday] real quickly. Binghamton is now the most important game on the schedule."
The Stony Brook men’s basketball team fell to 6-8 on the season after losing to Cornell on Saturday afternoon. The Big Red improve to 4-10 and 2-3 against America East teams.
One bright spot for the Seawolves was the fact that they held the Big Red under its season average in scoring, but shooting only 34.8 percent from the field was a big reason they fell 60-52. “We played well on defensive again, but we continue to struggle with our shots,” head coach Steve Pikiell said after the loss.
The entire game was a defensive battle with both teams combining for just 33 field goals. The key for Cornell was their decent three-point shooting, which accounted for 35 percent of their points. They shot 7-25 (28 percent) from three-point range, whereas Stony Brook only shot 2-13 from behind the arc.
With Stony Brook trailing at halftime 24-19, they were able to open the second half with four straight points to move to within one. A long two-point jumper by Marcus Rouse (Upper Marlboro, Md.) and a pull-up jumper by Bryan Dougher (Scotch Plains, N.J.) with a hand in his face were able to keep the score close at 24-23.
The Big Red were able to get key three pointers from Chris Wroblewski and Drew Ferry to stop the Seawolves from getting any more momentum.
Anthony Mayo (Philadelphia, Pa.) hit a mid-range jumper to bring the Seawolves within four, 43-39, with just over seven minutes left to play. Cornell was able to answer with Wroblewski dishing a dunk to Aaron Osgood and then hitting a layup, before Adam Wire sank a jumper with 4:55 left to play. This was Cornell’s largest lead of the game, 10 points, with the score 49-39.
The Seawolves were able to get within six later after a Dougher three-point play, but Cornell hit two free throws to go back up eight. Cornell was 7-8 from the free-throw line in the final two minutes of the contest.
Wroblewski had a career-high 29 points on 8-of-13 shooting, 4-for-6 from three-point range, and 9-for-10 from the free throw line. Dougher led the way for Stony Brook with 12 points and Dave Coley (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added nine points and a team-high six rebounds. Dougher failed to hit a three-pointer, which ended his consecutive game with a three-pointer at 24 games.
Both teams committed a lot of fouls, with Stony Brook being called for 24 and having one player foul out. Cornell was called for 21 and had two players foul out.
Stony Brook’s next game is Monday evening at Binghamton, as the Seawolves resume their second half of its tour of Upstate New York. The game will be televised live on MSG-Plus with Eric Frede and Frank Sullivan. The game will also be streamed live on ESPN3.com, but is subject to blackout in the New York region.
Wroblewski hit 8-of-13 shots from the floor, including four 3-pointers, and connectred on 9-of-10 free throws to go along with four assists and two rebounds. Drew Ferry was the only other double figure scorer for Cornell, notching 11 points. Aaron Osgood notched nine points and eight rebounds off the bench for Cornell, which limited Stony Brook to 35 percent shooting in its best defensive effort in weeks.
Stony Brook's leading scorer, Bryan Dougher, was limited to 12 points, including seven in the final 1:39 with the game mostly in check for Cornell. Dave Coley had nine points and Danny Carter added seven. SBU made just 2-of-13 shots from beyond the arc and turned the ball over 13 times.
The Big Red jumped out ot an early 8-3 lead on a 3-pointer from Wroblewski, but a prolonged scoring drought by Cornell gave way to six unanswered points by the Seawolves as the visitors went up, 10-8 at the 12:06 mark. Wroblewski ended the drought on the Big Red's next posession as he drove the lane for two.
The teams traded baskets before a single made free throw from Osgood was followed by a trey from Ferry to restore a 16-12 lead to Cornell. After Wroblewski extended the Big Red lead to five points, Stony Brook used a pair of free throws by Danny Carter and a layup from Preye Preboye to to cut the Big Red's lead to one-point with 5:42 to play in the opening half.
Wroblewski took over in the final moments of the first half, scoring Cornell's final six points as the Big Red closed the half on a 6-2 run to go into the intermission with the 24-19 lead.
Cornell never surrendered the lead after halftime, though four straight points to open the second half closed the gap to 24-23 two minutes into the second half. A 3-pointer by Wroblewski ended the Stony Brook run, and consecutive treys by Ferry and Wroblewski kicked the lead to seven (33-26) more than five minutes into the second half. The visitors again cut the deficit to three, but a perfectly-executed alley-oop from Wroblewski to Peck extended it back to five. The lead grew to as many as 10, the last time at 55-45 with just under two minutes to play. Stony Brook would get two straight scores, but Cornell's 7-of-8 shooting from the stripe sealed the win late.
A steal in the backcourtby Wire for a layup and a perfect drive and dump underneath pass from Wroblewski to Osgood late in the shot clock, as well as a beat-the-buzzer layup by Wroblewski after being hit in the nose driving the lane keyed a strong Big Red stand that turned around Cornell's fortunes in close games.
Cornell begins its search for a fourth consecutive Ivy League title when it visits Columbia on Saturday, Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. at Levien Gymnasium.
Stony Brook Athletics
The Stony Brook men's basketball team held Cornell under its season average in scoring, but shot just 34.8 percent from the field as it suffered a 60-52 loss to the Big Red Saturday afternoon at Newman Arena in Ithaca, N.Y.
The Seawolves fall to 6-8 on the season while the Big Red improve to 4-10. Stony Brook is now 5-7 in non-conference play with one game remaining, and Cornell is now 2-3 against teams from America East.
"We played well on defensive again, but we continue to struggle with our shots," head coach Steve Pikiell said. "We have to forget about this one quickly though because we have an important game on Monday against Binghamton."
In what was a defensive grind the entire game, both teams combined for just 33 field goals in the contest. The difference came in three-point shooting, as the Big Red connected on 7-of-25 shots (28 percent) from behind the arc, accounting for 35 percent of the team's points. Stony Brook was only 2-for-13 from three-point range.
The Seawolves trailed at halftime, 24-19, after making just six field goals, but stayed within striking distance on the strength of seven free throws. To open the second half, Marcus Rouse (Upper Marlboro, Md.) hit a long two-point jumper, and Bryan Dougher (Scotch Plains, N.J.) followed with a pull-up jumper with a hand in his face to get Stony Brook within one, 24-23.
However, Cornell went back to its three-point attack as Chris Wroblewski answered the Stony Brook run with a three-pointer, and a minute later, Drew Ferry also connected from down town to put the Big Red up six, 30-24.
Later in the second half, Anthony Mayo (Philadelphia, Pa.) sank a mid-range jumper to bring the Seawolves within four, 43-39, with 7:04 remaining in the game, but the Big Red scored the game's next six points as Wroblewski dished a dunk to Aaron Osgood and then hit a layup before Adam Wire connected on a jumper at 4:55 to give Cornell its largest lead of the game, 10 points, at 49-39.