Friday, February 25, 2011

Cornell Daily Sun Weekend Preview

Senior forward and tri-captain Adam Wire (24) feels that the weekend matchups with Princeton and Penn will give the Red an opportunity to show the rest of the Ivy League what it is capable of, despite a difficult start to the season.

By Alane Trafford
Cornell Daily Sun
February 25, 2011

This weekend, the Cornell men’s basketball team will look to end its road season on a high note, as it competes in its final two away games of 2010-11. Cornell (7-17, 3-7 Ivy League) will challenge two Ivy League teams: Princeton (20-5, 8-1) tonight at L. Stockwell Jadwin Gymnasium in Princeton, N.J., and Penn (11-12, 5-4) tomorrow night at the Palestra in Philadelphia, Pa. Both will take place at 7 p.m.

Coming off a 96-76 home victory against Dartmouth Saturday night — which followed a 73-60 loss at the hands of Harvard Friday night — the Red will look to improve its standing in the Ivy League by earning two big wins this weekend.

The Red will first face Princeton, who is currently in contention for the top spot in the Ivies. Last weekend, the Tigers suffered a 65-75 loss to Brown, their first conference loss of the season. Otherwise, Princeton has had a strong season, just recently falling below Harvard for the top spot. Facing a team that is fighting for an NCAA tournament spot will present an added challenge for the Red.

Junior guard and tri-captain Chris Wroblewski is confident about his team’s abilities.

“We’re doing a much better job of pushing the tempo of the game and playing faster. We have a lot of 3-point shooters and a lot of defense, which is a big factor,” Wroblewski said.

He is also convinced that a win against Princeton this weekend would contribute a great deal to the team’s positive attitude.

“There’s always this intense competition between [Cornell and Princeton]. As far as this year, we’re probably towards the bottom of the league in record, so it would be great to pull off some upsets,” Wroblewski said.

Princeton boasts a high field goal percentage of 46.1 and senior forward Kareem Maddox leads the Ivy League in that statistic, making 56.9 percent of his shots from the field this season. In Princeton’s last game against Cornell, it was Maddox’s two points in the last 10 seconds of the game that resulted in a Cornell loss. Head coach Bill Courtney acknowledges that controlling Maddox tonight will be challenging.

“Princeton will obviously be playing great this week, competing for the Ivy League Championships. Kareem Maddox is their best player, and he played well [in Ithaca] a couple weeks ago,” Courtney said.

Penn will also give the Red a fight this weekend, riding its momentum from subsequent wins against Brown and Yale last weekend. Though their record is not nearly as strong as Princeton’s, the Quakers are still significantly ahead of the Red in conference rankings.

But the Red’s 82-71 overtime triumph over the Quakers just two weeks ago is still relevant.

“We beat Penn [in Ithaca] a couple weeks ago, but they are very difficult offensively and have a lot of skilled players,” Courtney said.

The Quakers are lead by junior guard Zack Rosen, who averages 14.4 points and 36.8 minutes per game. The last time Penn was playing at Newman Arena, Rosen scored 15 points and reached his 1,000th career point. He and senior forward Jack Eggleston were Penn’s only double-digit point scorers in the game.

Senior forward and tri-captain Adam Wire understands that Rosen’s squad will be tough to beat, but is optimistic about the Red’s chances.

Penn has a really good point guard, Rosen; he’s the one who gets the team going, but I think that we have a really good chance against [Penn],” Wire stated.

Wire also feels as though the game against Penn will give the Red the opportunity to show off its potential.

“I’m looking forward to playing the game against Penn again. We are looking to show the Ivy League what we could have been doing this season,” Wire added.

Though the Red faces a challenging series this weekend, the team is excited to compete against its rivals and prove that its record does not reflect its true talent.

“The attitude has been great all year. We’ve had great adversity, but we have worked hard, practiced every day, and have had some success in the past few weeks. [The team] is learning how to win,” Courtney said.

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