Sunday, February 6, 2011

Game Recap: Cornell Picks Up Win at Brown

Below, game recaps from Saturday's action at Brown...

Providence Journal

PROVIDENCE — Brown’s masked man had the game of his life on Friday night.

It probably wasn’t fair to expect him to repeat it on Saturday.

Sean McGonagill scored an electrifying 39 points in a Brown win over Columbia on Friday, all while sporting a mask to protect a face that required surgery after a collision in practice on Wednesday. But Cornell clamped down on the Bears’ playmaking point guard on Saturday, limiting him to 11 points on 4-of-16 shooting in a 91-79 win at the Pizzitola Center.

“They switched a lot harder on me [than Columbia] and just forced me to play out of my game,” said McGonagill, who will have stitches removed from his upper lip on Monday. “They tried to play me out of the game to get the other guys involved, and they did a great job on defense.”

Said Brown coach Jesse Agel: “It just looked like his legs were a little tired with the lift there. He played almost every second over the weekend and did a great job. We can’t expect him to carry us.”

Cornell won its first Ivy League game of the season and now has beaten Brown nine straight times dating back to 2006. Thirty-four of the 57 shots the Big Red took came from behind the arc. Four different players hit at least three 3-pointers, and the Big Red shot 47.1 percent from 3-point range as a team.

Drew Ferry led Cornell scorers with 20 points on Saturday, and five other Big Red players scored in double figures. Errick Peck took only three shots in the first half, but all three were 3-pointers — and all three went in.

“When they’ve got four or five shooters on the floor and they’re getting to the basket — it’s a lot of stuff in transition, and they did a good job,” Agel said. “We had to keep the ball in front of us because, once there’s dribble-drives, there’s rotations, and that’s what’s going to get open shots.”

McGonagill tried to recapture the Friday night magic early on, driving to the basket to try to capitalize on one favorable matchup and trying a stop-and-pop jumper a minute later. Neither attempt found the bottom of the net. He tried to put the ball on the floor again late in the first half, but back-to-back drives ended with his shot being swatted away at the rim.

The freshman did finish the game with seven assists, and he might have had more had the Bears knocked down a few more of the perimeter shots he created.

“[Friday] night was unbelievable — a really special night, especially with his injuries and everything,” Brown forward Tucker Halpern said. “You can’t expect that. You love when it happens, but you can’t expect it.”

Halpern, now the Bears’ top scoring threat with All-Ivy forward Peter Sullivan sidelined indefinitely, picked up more than his share of the slack. He scored 26 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and had 5 rebounds.

Andrew McCarthy did yeoman’s work down the stretch as well, pulling down a big offensive rebound and blocking a shot that Halpern turned into a fast-break 3-pointer when the outcome still was in doubt.

But Cornell shot the ball too well. After Halpern hit his 3-pointer, Max Groebe and Johnathan Gray hit 3s on back-to-back possessions to push the Cornell lead back to seven points with less than three minutes to play.

Box Score

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Cornell put six players in double figures to hand head coach Bill Courtney his first Ivy League win, a 91-79 victory over Brown on Saturday evening at the Pizzitola Sports Center. The Big Red improved to 5-15 (1-5 Ivy), while the Bears slipped to 8-12 (1-5 Ivy).

Cornell continued to make the Pizzitola Sports Center its home away from home, hitting 16 3-pointers, outrebounding the home team by 12 (42-30) and holding a commanding 64-16 edge in bench scoring to snap a five-game skid. Drew Ferry scored 20 points, while both Johnathan Gray and Chris Wroblewski posted 13 points. Wroblewski added five rebounds and five assists to his totals. Both Max Groebe and Errick Peck also scored 11 points apiece and combined for 10 rebounds, while Mark Coury scored 10 points, grabbed nine rebounds, blocked two shots and stole a pass in 18 productive minutes off the bench.

Brown got a 26-point, nine-rebound, five-assist effort from Tucker Halpen as the Bears hit 11 3-pointers of their own. The home team was credited with 21 assists and committed just eight turnovers in the loss.

Unlike Friday night's loss at Yale, the Big Red was able to close out the game by executing in the final minutes. Cornell took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Gray, the first of two consecutive treys by the sophomore, to trigger a 12-2 run. An offensive rebound by Coury ended wuth a Groebe layup, and the senior center then got underneath for a dunk on a feed by Wire to put Cornell up nine (70-61) with 8:32 to play. Brown was able to sneak back to within four points on two occasions, the last with 3:17 to play, but the Big Red made 10-of-12 shots from the stripe in the final 1:23 to earn the win.

A year after making an Ivy record 20 3-pointers in the Ancient Eight-title clinching victory in Providence, Cornell hit nine 3-pointers in the first half en route to a 43-42 lead. Peck hit all three of his efforts from beyond the arc for 11 points, while Ferry hit two toward his eight points. For the second straight night, the Big Red bench came up big, outscoring Brown 27-6.

The first half saw 13 lead changes and four ties in large part due to Brown's Halpern. The sophomore hit three 3-pointers of his own and scored 15 points with five rebounds and three assists in 16 productive minutes for the Bears. McGonagil, coming off a 39-point effort in Friday's win over columbia, scored six points for Brown, but did so on just 2-of-8 shooting from the floor.

The Big Red returns home to play host to Penn on Friday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. at Newman Arena, before Princeton comes to town the following day.

The Ithaca Journal

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – One night after foundering under the pressure of closing out a game, the Cornell men's basketball team made amends.

The Big Red picked up an elusive win Saturday night, 91-79, over Brown to snap a five-game losing streak. The win was first-year coach Bill Courtney’s first in Ivy League play.

Consecutive 3-pointers from sophomore Johnathan Gray midway through the second half gave Cornell a lead it would not relinquish at 64-59. Brown cut its deficit to four points on two occasions with under 4 minutes to play, but both times Cornell had an answer: 3’s from Max Groebe and Gray.

The Big Red entered the game as the Ivy League’s worst free-throw shooting team. On Saturday, the team made 19 of 23. In the last 2 minutes, it made 10 of 13 to close it out.

The finish was starkly different from Friday’s 71-70 loss at Yale, when the Big Red (5-15, 1-5) squandered a 10-point lead with just under 2 minutes remaining.

Six Cornell players reached double figures. Drew Ferry scored 20 points, Gray and Chris Wroblewski had 13 apiece, Errick Peck and Groebe added 11 each and senior center Mark Coury finished with 10 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks.

Brown sophomore Tucker Halpern, a 6-foot-8 forward, led his team with 26 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. He shot eight of 15 from the field, and hit five of his team’s 11 3-pointers. Freshman point guard Sean McGonagill, who scored 39 points in Friday’s win over Columbia, was held to 11 points on four of 16 shooting.

Cornell outrebounded Brown, 42-30. It shot 46.7 percent from the arc (16 for 34) and 49.1 percent overall on the night. Its 91 points were a season-high.

In other Ivy games Saturday, Harvard edged Penn in two overtimes, 83-82; Princeton pulled away from Dartmouth in the second half to win, 68-53; Yale held off a late Columbia surge and won, 72-67.

The weekend’s results leave Princeton (16-4, 4-0 Ivy) alone in first place, followed by Harvard (16-4, 5-1), Penn (9-9, 3-1) and Yale (11-9, 4-2). Cornell hosts Penn on Friday night at Newman Arena. Princeton visits Saturday.

Providence, RI - Cornell connected on 16 treys, and Drew Ferry scored 20 points to lead the Big Red to their first Ivy League win, 91-79, over Brown at the Pizzitola Sports Center. The win lifts Cornell to 5-15 overall and 1-5 in the Ivy League, while Brown falls to 8-12, 1-5 in Ivy play.

Ferry's 20 points led six Cornell players in double figures. Chris Wroblewski and Johnathan Gray scored 13 points, while Errick Peck and Max Groebe added 11 points each. Mark Coury netted 10 points and grabbed 9 rebounds.

Sophomore Tucker Halpern turned in an outstanding performance for the Bears with 26 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Freshman Sean McGonagill, who scored 39 points last night against Columbia, registered 11 points and handed out seven assists.

Freshman Dockery Walker also scored in double figures for the Bears with 10 points on 5 of 10 shooting from the field.

In a fast-paced first half, Cornell built a 10-point lead, 43-33, on a trey by Groebe with 3:08 left in the half. Brown answered immediately with a 9-0 run to end the half with senior Garrett Leffelman's trey beating the buzzer to trail at intermission, 42-42.

The Big Red took most of their shots from behind the three-point, connecting on 9 of 19 first half treys.

Brown built a four point second half lead, 54-50, following a lay-up by Halpern with 13:55 left on the clock. The Big Red took control of the game and opened up a nine point second half lead, 70-61, as the Bears went ice cold from the field.

Cornell connected on 16 of 34 treys for the game, while Brown was held to 11 of 29 shooting from behind the three-point arc. The Big Red out-rebounded the Bears by a 42-30 margin

Brown travels to Hanover, New Hampshire to face Dartmouth, and to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to battle Harvard, next Friday and Saturday, February 11 & 12. Both games tip-off at 7:00 p.m.

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