Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Game Recap: Cornell Falls to Buffalo

Cornell's Drew Ferry is fouled by Buffalo’s Tony Watson as Buffalo's Jawaan Alston watches during the Big Red’s loss Monday evening at Newman Arena. Ferry led Cornell with 18 points.

By Brandon Thomas
Ithaca Journal
January 4, 2011

ITHACA -- The University of Buffalo's size turned out to be the least of the Cornell men's basketball team's problems Monday night.

The Big Red shot just 33 percent from the field and a trio of Bulls guards accounted for 44 points in Buffalo's 78-66 victory at Newman Arena.

Drew Ferry scored a game-high 18 points for the Big Red, which allowed its opposition to shoot better than 50 percent for the fourth consecutive game.

But the final margin was the largest of the game, as Cornell failed to put together any significant runs in dropping its ninth in a 10-game stretch.

"We're searching for answers now," said guard Chris Wroblewski, who had 16 points and six assists. "A lot of it is getting stops in the crucial moments. We just can't have excuses anymore."

At one point, the Big Red was being outscored in the paint, 18-2. With just eight field goals in the first half, only three-point shooting and defense -- which forced 10 turnovers in the first half -- kept the game close.

Cornell trailed by just two with eight minutes left before Zach Filzen hit a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer.

Filzen, the Mid-American Conference's three-point leader, scored 13 of 17 points in the second half.

"We need help from our bench," Cornell coach Bill Courtney said. "It's not just the points, but in rebounding, block-outs and defensive assignments."

Point guard Byron Mulkey added 16 points and Tony Watson added a surprising 11 points off the bench for Buffalo (8-4).

Ferry's first of four 3-pointers put Cornell up 17-16 -- its only lead -- 9:35 into the game. But a Titus Robinson free throw and three straight 3s from Watson put the Bulls back out front by nine.

Watson, a sophomore, entered the game averaging 1.5 points per game.

"We've been on him all year to take the shots when he's open," Buffalo coach Reggie Witherspoon said. "Tonight, he did it, and it was a tremendous boost for us."

Forward Errick Peck scored 16 points for Cornell (3-10), and Adam Wire contributed six second-half points and a much-needed nine rebounds with Aaron Osgood in foul trouble most of the night.

"We were getting crushed on the glass early on (in the season), but we've done a much better job of late," Courtney said.

Cornell closes out non-league play at 2 p.m. Saturday at Newman against Stony Brook.

Wroblewski honored

Wroblewski was named the Ivy League Player of the Week on Monday, after averaging 17 1/2 points and nine assists over the Big Red's three games last week.

It's the first time this season a Cornell player has earned the honor.

Wroblewski, a junior guard, racked up 21 points and 12 assists against Wofford in the consolation game of the Holidays on the Hardwood Tournament in Virginia. He started the week with 14 points, six assists and four rebounds against New Hampshire.

Box Score

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Buffalo's bench outscored Cornell's 32-10 and provided it the lift needed to knock off the Big Red 78-66 on Monday evening at Newman Arena. The Bulls improved to 8-4 with the triumph, while Cornell slipped to 3-10 and lost for the ninth time in the last 10 games.

Cornell's trio of Drew Ferry (18 points), Chris Wroblewski (16 points) and Errick Peck (16 points) combined for 50 points for the Big Red, playing their second straight strong game together. Ferry and Wroblewski each hit four 3-pointers, with Ferry adding four rebounds and Wroblewski being credited with six assists. Peck notched six rebounds and three assists in the loss. Adam Wire added six points and nine rebounds, while Mark Coury had seven points, six rebounds and two steals. The Big Red shot just 33 percent from the floor as a team, but stayed in the game throughout by hitting 10 3-pointers, committing just 10 turnovers and holding its own on the backboards against a bigger Bulls squad (39-38).

The Bulls used balanced scoring to earn its eighth win of the year, as Zach Filzen posted 17 points and Byron Mulkey had a productive 16-point, eight-rebound, six-assist night. Tony Watson came off the bench for a career-high 11 points and Jawaan Alston notched 10 points, four assists and three rebounds as a reserve. Rochester, N.Y.-native Javon Mccrea had seven points, five rebounds, two blocks and two steals in just 14 minutes.

Buffalo shot .532 from the floor, becoming the fourth consecutive Big Red opponent to shoot at least 50 percent. Buffalo shot 30 free throws in the second half after getting to the line just twice in the first 20 minutes and overcame 19 offensive rebounds by Cornell.

The Bulls jumped out to a 10-3 lead behind a pair of baskets and an assist by Mulkey in the first two and a half minutes, and ultimately led by as many as eight (14-6) five minutes in before Cornell scratched back in it. A pair of Peck free throws and two 3-pointers in the span of two minutes brought the Big Red within two at 16-14, but it would be another three minutes before the home team would get back on the scoreboard. Ferry's trey at the 10:25 mark gave Cornell its first lead. From there, substitue Tony Watson, whose career high was four points entering the contest, knocked out three straight 3-pointers in the span of just over three minutes to put the visitors back up nine (26-17. Wroblewski settled down the home team with a running jumper with six minutes left in the half, but Cornell wouldn't get back within five the rest of the half.

The second half saw theh ome team get back with two for much of the second half, even knotting the score at 44-44 and 46-46 after a Ferry trey followed by a jumper in the lane, but Buffalo never wilted. Cornell would cut the deficit back to two twice more, the last at 54-52 after Wroblewski found Wire for a nice backdoor layup. The lead was just five (68-63) after Wroblewski canned a 3-pointer with 2:43 remaining, but Buffalo hit all 10 free throws in the final 2:07 to seal up the win.

Cornell closes out non-conference season on Saturday, Jan. 8 at 2 p.m. when it plays host to Stony Brook.

ITHACA, NY – The University at Buffalo men's basketball team closed out non-conference play with an impressive 78-66 win over Cornell at Newman Arena on Monday night. The Bulls shot 53 percent from the field to defeat the three-time defending Ivy League champ and improve to 8-4 on the season.

The Bulls did most of their damage inside of the arc, making 19 of their 25 two-point shots (76 percent).

Early on, the Cornell defense keyed on Zach Filzen and held the Bulls' leading scorer to four first-half points. Sophomore Tony Watson proved to be a spark off the bench with nine first-half points on three consecutive three-pointers that turned a tie game into 26-17 Buffalo advantage. Watson finished with a career-high 11 points and the Bulls held a 36-27 lead at the break.

The Big Red opened the second half on a 17-8 scoring run and a Drew Ferry three-pointer tied the game at 44 with 11:27remaining. With the game tied at 46, Byron Mulkey hit a jumper to put the Bulls ahead for good.

Filzen heated up in the second half and scored 13 second-half points to help the Bulls hold off Cornell. With the Bulls leading, 54-52, Filzen scored five straight points to extend the UB lead to seven. A Javon McCrea layup pushed the Buffalo lead to 62-53 with 5:09 left.

The Bulls made 10 straight free throws down the stretch to hold off the Big Red.

Filzen led the Bulls with 17 points. Backcourt mate Mulkey finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Jawaan Alston had a nice game with 10 points, three rebounds and four assists. McCrea had seven points, five rebounds, two blocks and two steals in 14 minutes.

Buffalo returns home to host Bowling Green in the Mid-American Conference opener on Saturday night following the women's game against Kent State which starts at 5:00 pm.

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