Saturday, February 12, 2011

Game Recaps: Cornell Defeats Penn

Below, recaps from Cornell's win over Penn on Friday night...


By Brian Delaney
Ithaca Journal

ITHACA -- Cornell overcame several second-half deficits and one near-catastrophic foul call in the final second of regulation to hang on and beat Penn, 82-71, in overtime on Friday night.

A crowd of 2,137 at Newman Arena arose in disbelief as Cornell senior Mark Coury was whistled for pushing off down low on a successful putback attempt of a missed Chris Wroblewski 3-pointer at the regulation buzzer.

The foul sent Penn senior Conor Turley, a 70-percent free throw shooter on the season, to the line for a one-and-one with 1.3 seconds left and the game tied 63-63. Turley missed, Adam Wire rebounded and the game went to overtime.

Disaster averted.

"Hallelujah," said Wroblewski, recalling his reaction to the missed free throw. "After he missed that, we just couldn't lose that game. We wanted it so bad, we came out and were a desperate team."

Junior Max Groebe, Cornell's 6-4 shooting guard with the deadly stroke, was in rhythm from the start. On the first possession of overtime, he calmly stroked a 3 after his defender slipped to the floor. Penn answered with a layup, but Cornell coach Bill Courtney ran a set play to get Groebe the ball again. Groebe curled around a screen at the top of the key, turned, fired and drilled a shot from two feet behind the line.

"When Max shoots it like that, we try to run everything for him," Courtney said. "When he gets hot, he really does get hot."

Groebe finished with a career-high 20 points, hitting six of Cornell's 12 3-pointers. Wroblewski, who scored 21 points, extended Cornell's overtime lead with a conventional three-point play, a steal and two free throws.

"We just stopped defending," Penn coach Jerome Allen said. "They scored (19) points in five minutes. Any time you give up that amount of points, you're probably going to lose more games than you win."

Penn has lost three straight, all in overtime. The Quakers lost 62-59 to Princeton on Tuesday, and 83-82 last Saturday in double-overtime to Harvard.

Cornell outscored Penn 19-8 in Friday's OT, hitting nine of 11 free throws. Groebe, Wroblewski and Drew Ferry (11 points) combined to score those points in a game that swung back and forth with ferocity.

Cornell led by as many as 16 points in the first half, and trailed by as many as nine in the second half. The hosts faced a 63-58 deficit with 3:09 left, but managed to hold the Quakers (9-11, 3-3 Ivy League) without a point until overtime. Wroblewski scored five points to tie the score, the last coming on a pair of free throws with 1:28 remaining.

"That was a very big comment on the character of the kids," said Courtney, who now has his first winning streak as a head coach. "The kids responded to being down."

Opinions differed on the controversial call on Coury. Courtney went ballistic on the sideline, but afterward said it was the right call but a "difficult call" to make at that juncture. Groebe called it "ridiculous" but later said it was a 50-50 call. Coury said he didn't think he pushed Turley; he felt he had position established and went straight up. Allen said he didn't see the play.

When Turley missed the free throw, the officials were off the hook.

"That was huge. That was really huge. We're probably going to have to thank him for that," Groebe said.

Jack Eggleston, Penn's 6-8 senior forward, led the Quakers with 21 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Down the stretch, he was hounded by Wire, who limited the Penn standout to just three free throws and zero field goals over the final 15:26 -- overtime included.

"They had three guys who played over 40 minutes," said Courtney, referring to Eggleston (45) and guards Miles Cartwright (42) and Zack Rosen (41). "We knew we were wearing them down, similar to what we did (last week) against Brown. So going into overtime, we knew if we executed we could win."

Cornell hosts Princeton at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Tigers improved to 18-4 overall and 6-0 in the league with a 76-46 blowout at Columbia on Friday. Elsewhere in the Ivies, Harvard hung on at home to beat Yale, 78-75. At Dartmouth, Brown topped the Big Green 75-66.

A win Saturday with give Cornell its 10th straight home sweep on a Friday-Saturday weekend.

"The character of this team is a surprise to me every game," Wroblewski said. "We were down five late in the game, and we had the character and the resilience to come back. It was amazing."


By Quintin Schwab
Cornell Daily Sun

For a moment, it appeared as if the Cornell men’s basketball team was going to suffer yet another heartbreaking loss. In a season that’s featured nine defeats by five points or fewer, the Red was finally able to find some luck — or not so much, depending on the way one looks at it — to generate its first winning streak of the season, downing Penn in overtime Friday night, 82-71.

Penn (9-11, 3-3 Ivy League) senior forward Conor Turley missed the front-end of a one-and-one with 1.3 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime. How Turley earned a trip to the line was questionable.

After Cornell (6-15, 2-5) senior forward and tri-captain Adam Wire rebounded a Turley miss with 35 seconds to play, the Red was able to hold for the last shot. Junior guard and tri-captain Chris Wroblewski, who led the team with 21 points, deliberated until about eight seconds remained. He then took Penn junior guard Zach Rosen one-on-one, stepped back and fired up a falling-back 3-pointer that rimmed out.

Senior forward Mark Coury rebounded the miss and put in a layup as time expired, but was whistled for pushing off on Turley — the team’s seventh foul of the half, sending Penn to the line. A furious Bill Courtney, Cornell’s first-year head coach, ripped off his jacket and ran in disbelief as a Newman Arena crowd of 2,137 booed the officials.

“I found it difficult to make that call at the end of the game,” Courtney said. “But you know what: if the referee got it right, then I take my hat off to him.”

Red Senior guard Max Groebe scored 20 points on six-of-eight 3-point shooting, including two on back-to-back possessions to begin overtime.

Cornell dominated the extra frame, outscoring the Quakers 19-8, hitting four-of-five shots from the floor and making nine-of-11 free throws. Part of it was determination; part of it was stamina, according to the Red.

“After [Turley missed the free throw], we just couldn’t lose the game,” Wroblewski said. “We wanted it so bad, we came out and were a desperate team.”

“We had a lot of confidence that we were going to win. [Penn] had three guys who played over 40 minutes,” Courtney said, referring to the Quakers’ Jack Eggleston (45), Miles Cartwright (42), and Rosen (41). “We knew when [Turley] missed the free throw that we were going to win the ball game.”

Twelve Cornell players saw action.

“[Fatigue] was definitely a factor down the stretch — we had fresher legs,” Wire added.

The Red jumped out early, gaining a 29-13 advantage through well-distributed scoring with just over seven minutes to play in the first half. But Penn responded with a 39-14 run spanning 18 minutes and led 52-43 after a layup by Tyler Bernardini with 8:41 to play.

“For a while we were just giving up layup after layup,” Wire said.

Eggleston led Penn with 21 points, nine rebounds and five assists. He was held to only three free throws over the last 15 and-a-half minutes of action, however.

“They were scoring at will in the second half,” Courtney said. “But we got just enough stops down the stretch to have a chance to win.”

Penn made 57.7 percent of its shots in the second period, compared to Cornell’s 34.8 percent. The Quakers out-scored the Red in the paint, 34-16, for the game, including 22-6 in the second half.

But the Red showed resolve. Not only was Cornell able to come back from its nine-point deficit to tie the game at 55-all with 5:39 remaining, but the team also answered when Penn pushed the lead back to 60-55 at the last media timeout — and again when Cartwright’s 3-pointer made the score 63-58 with three minutes to play.

“We’ve been through so many [close games],” Courtney said. “There’s no panic in us. There’s a sense of calm. We might be starting to figure this thing out at the end of close games.”

Wroblewksi took matters into his own hands, notching the last five Red points of regulation to force overtime. It was almost eight at the frantic finish.

“First I thought Chris’s shot was good,” Groebe said. “And then I thought Mark’s bucket was going to count.”

Rosen scored 15 points for the Quakers, hitting the 1,000-point mark for his career. He was the only other double-figure scorer for Penn.

The game was Penn’s third straight Ivy League defeat, the third straight in overtime and the third straight in which the Quakers once trailed by double-digits. Don’t look to the Red for sympathy.

“Two in a row is huge,” Groebe said, speaking of the Red’s first back-to-back wins in the 2010-11 season. “We’re ecstatic.”

“Ahh — it feels good,” Wire noted.

It took three months and 15 defeats, but at last, Cornell has momentum on its side.

“We showed a lot of fight and lot of heart tonight,” Courtney said. “It’s all a building process: even though we lost to Yale, we had to build on that 38-minute performance. And then we built on the win against Brown. Then on this week’s practices. And now we have a winning streak.”



Philadelphia Inquirer

ITHACA, N.Y. - For the third time in as many games, Penn found itself in overtime after a second-half comeback.

And for the third time in as many games, the Quakers failed to seal the deal in the extra minutes, falling, 82-71, to Cornell on Friday night in their second Ivy League road game of the season.

Though both teams got off to a slow start at Newman Arena, Cornell (6-15, 2-5 Ivy) hit its stride early in the first half as Penn (9-3, 3-3) struggled to find its focus.

Going 13 for 29 from the floor, the Big Red went ahead. A deep roster helped Cornell extend its lead, with nine players scoring in the first half and 22 points coming from the Big Red bench.

Penn struggled to get that same momentum. Despite putting up big numbers in the Quakers' most recent contests, senior forward Tyler Bernardini couldn't hit a shot in the first half. Though Penn drained 10 of 14 attempts from the line, a solid man-to-man defense by Cornell kept the visitors from finding the same success from the floor.

But just as they had in their previous two games, the Quakers managed to turn things around. After allowing Cornell to surge to a 16-point lead with seven minutes left in the half, Penn used a renewed defensive effort to slow the Big Red's shooting spree. Senior Jack Eggleston - who led the Quakers in the first half with 12 points - drained a shot from three-point land that sparked a Penn offensive blitz. By the end of the half, the Red and Blue had cut the gap to seven.

That energy continued in the second frame. Penn tightened up even more on defense, keeping Cornell from getting the same looks it had in the first half. The Quakers, meanwhile, found the bottom of the net easily and went on a 13-5 run to regain the lead.

With Penn ahead by eight with less than eight minutes remaining, Cornell went on a 9-1 run to tie the game.

The Quakers responded with a 5-0 run. A three from Zack Rosen and a layup from freshman Miles Cartwright preserved Penn's lead. It looked as though the Ivy League's comeback kids finally would seal the deal.

Enter Big Red junior Chris Wroblewski, who hit one from downtown and two from the line to tie the game again at 63-all. With the clock running down, Penn senior Conor Turley attempted a layup, but it was no good. Wroblewski, a Bob Cousy Award candidate and Cornell's leading scorer, took the ball across the line, waiting for the final shot. Finally, he launched one from the top of the arc. The shot fell short, but a Cornell player tipped the ball in. The crowd erupted, thinking the Big Red would take home the win.

But the refs called off the shot because of an offensive foul committed with 1.3 seconds left on the clock. The foul sent Turley to the line with a chance to ice the game.

The ball bounced off the rim, sending Penn into another overtime. And to the Quakers' detriment, the early minutes of the extra period resembled the first half more than the second. The Big Red outscored the Quakers, 19-8, in overtime.


Philadelphia Daily News

ITHACA, N.Y. - Apparently, the third time is not always the charm.

After strong second-half comebacks sent Penn's games against Princeton and Harvard into overtime, the Quakers found themselves in a similar situation last night against Cornell.

And for the third time in as many games, Penn failed to seal the deal in the extra minutes, falling, 82-71, to the Big Red.

"We always want to wait until we get down to try and exert extra energy, and think we can get back in the games and win," Penn coach Jerome Allen said. "Obviously, you see tonight that we had to exert energy, and it didn't fall our way."

Cornell hit its stride early in the first half as Penn (9-11, 3-3 Ivy) struggled to find focus. Boosted by a strong bench that scored 22 points before halftime, the Big Red (6-15, 2-5) took an early lead on 13-for-29 shooting from the floor.

Penn couldn't find the same momentum. Though the Quakers put on a solid performance at the line, draining 10 of 14 attempts, a solid Cornell defense kept Penn from finding success from any other point on the floor.

"We talked about getting off to a good start," Allen said. "In the last couple of games, we've been fighting uphill battles and that's just . . . not respecting the game from the start."

But just as they did in their previous two games, the Quakers found a way to turn things around. After allowing Cornell to surge to a 16-point lead, a renewed defensive effort slowed down the Big Red's shooting spree. Senior Jack Eggleston drained a three-pointer that sparked an offensive blitz, and by halftime, the Quakers were within seven.

That aggressive energy continued after intermission. Penn tightened up even more on defense and found the bottom of the net easily, launching a 13-5 run to gain the lead.

The Big Red, however, refused to be steamrolled. With Penn ahead by eight with a little less than 8 minutes remaining, Cornell went on a 9-1 run to tie the game at 55. Determined not to let another one slip out of their fingertips, the Quakers responded with five straight points of their own.

Enter Big Red junior guard Chris Wroblewski, who hit a jumper and three from the line to tie the game again at 63. With the clock running out, Penn senior Conor Turley attempted a layup, but it was no good. Wroblewski - who, with Eggleston, led the scoring with 21 points - took the ball across the line, waiting for the final shot. Finally, he launched one from the top of the arc. The shot fell short, but Cornell senior Mark Coury tipped the ball in. The home crowd erupted, thinking the Big Red would earn the win.

That's when the refs called Coury for a push-off on Turley at the 1.3-second mark. Turley took the line with a chance to ice the game. For a moment, it looked as if the Ivy League's comeback kids would finally come through.

But the ball bounced off the rim, sending Penn into overtime again.

It was the rimshot Cornell was waiting for.

"After that, we were, like, 'We can't lose this game,' " Wroblewski said.

That determination shone through early in the extra frame, with Big Red senior Max Groebe scoring one from downtown within the first 15 seconds. Though Zack Rosen responded with a jumper, the Quakers couldn't hit their mark enough.

But the Big Red could. Groebe hit another from three-point range. He finished 6-for-8 from behind the arc.

Rosen broke the Big Red blitz with a three, but it was too late. The floodgates already were open, and Cornell outscored Penn, 19-8, in overtime.

"I just think that we didn't deserve to win," Allen said. "We just played well, they played harder."



Daily Pennsylvanian

After suffering back-to-back, deflating overtime losses to Ivy favorites Harvard and Princeton, the Quakers looked to vent their frustration and use a 5-15 Cornell squad as a punching bag.

But instead, Penn found itself in overtime again, and it was the Big Red who dealt the knockout blow, outscoring the Quakers 19-8 in the extra session to take the 82-71 victory.

The loss is yet another stomach-punch to the Red and Blue (9-11, 3-3 Ivy), whose title aspirations have taken a decisive dip with the three-game losing streak.

"I won’t even call tonight a heartbreaker,” coach Jerome Allen said. “We just didn’t respect the game tonight.”

Heartbreaker or not, Penn’s overtime loss this time around bore quite a resemblance to the Princeton nailbiter, if only for the critical mistakes Penn made down the stretch.

With the game tied 63-apiece and Cornell (6-15, 2-5) in possession, star guard Chris Wroblewski launched an outside shot with the clock winding down. The shot bounced out, but big man Mark Coury grabbed the rebound and put it back in — beating the buzzer and sending the Newman Arena into a frenzy. However, the basket was called off as Coury was charged with the offensive foul going for the initial rebound.

That meant Penn senior Conor Turley had the chance to take the lead at the free-throw line on a 1-and-1 attempt with 1.3 seconds left on the clock.

The 70.2 percent free-throw shooter’s attempt went begging though, and Cornell grabbed the rebound to send the game into the extra period.

It was all Big Red in overtime, thanks to 14 combined points by Wroblewski and Max Groebe. “Miami Max” hit back-to-back threes to open the period and Cornell didn’t look back, building up its lead to 10 points with 1:30 remaining and then icing the game at the line from there on.

For Penn, the loss is a head-scratcher.

Coming off the two gut-wrenching defeats, Penn had the opportunity to build its morale back up against a struggling Big Red squad trying to deal with the loss of its standout senior class that pushed the team to a Sweet 16 appearance a year ago.

But wins aren’t just handed out in the Ivy League, and Penn’s lackluster effort at the start translated into a 29-13 Big Red lead with 7:08 to go in the half.

The Quakers were seemingly under attack from all fronts in that opening period — nine different Cornell players scored in the opening period, compared to just four for Penn.

According to Wroblewski, the early run by Cornell was by design, knowing that Penn was coming off the mentally and physically draining overtime games.

“We jumped on them early and that’s exactly what our plan was,” said Wroblewski, who scored a game-high 21 points. “We wanted to keep punching away … we knew we would wear them down.”

Penn did fight back despite the weariness, just as they did against Harvard and Princeton, in the second half. The Red and Blue actually held a nine-point lead with 8:41 remaining. However, Penn lost its lead, victimized by Cornell’s three-point shooting. Groebe hit 6-for-8 from downtown and the team as a whole knocked down 12 to Penn’s 6.

Wroblewski did credit Penn for having the mental focus to come back again, but for Allen, the trend is frustrating.

“We always want to wait until we get down to try and exert extra energy and think we can get back the games and win,” Allen said. “Obviously, you see tonight that we had to exert energy, and it didn’t fall our way.”


Box Score

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Senior Max Groebe hit a pair of 3-pointers to open overtime, part of a career-high 21-point night, and Cornell was able to get defensive stops when it needed to in winning its second in a row, topping Penn 82-71 on Friday evening at Newman Arena. The Big Red improved to 6-15 (2-5 Ivy), while the Quakers fell to 9-11 (3-3 iVY), with all three conference losses coming in overtime.

Groebe hit six of Cornell's 12 3-pointers on the night, going 6-of-8 from beyond the arc. He opened the extra session with a trey 14 seconds in and the Big Red never trailed again. Groebe and junior Chris Wroblewski (21 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals) each scored more than 20 points. Also in double figures was Ferry, who scored 11 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished three assists off the bench. Johnathan Gray chipped in nine points and four rebounds, Mark Coury had six points and five rebounds, Adam Wire notched four rebounds and four assists and Errick Peck had three points, four rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Each of them made several big plays at key times to give the Big Red its first win streak of the season.

Jack Eggleston had 21 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the Quakers, who lost their third straight overtime contest. Zack Rosen scored 15 points and dished off six assists for the Quakers, including becoming the 36th player in Penn history to reach 1,000 points with his first basket of the game. Penn shot 49 percent from the field in the half, but turned the ball over 18 times total, including nine times by freshman guard Miles Cartwright. The rookie was impressive otherwise, dishing off six assists and grabbing five rebounds.

The ending of regulation sent the Cornell crowd of 2,137 into a frenzy. The Big Red got a defensive stop with the score tied at 63-63 and held for a last-second shot. Wroblewski's step-back 3-point attempt rimmed out, but Coury followed it up with a tip that fell through the nets as time expired. One official under the basket blew his whistle for a push, and after a short debate, 1.3 seconds was put back on the clock and Conor Turley was put at the line with a chance to win the game for the visitors. Turley, an 89 percent shooter in conference play and a 70 percent shooter overall from the line, missed and the ball was rebounded by Wire to send the game into the extra session.

The overtime was nearly all Cornell. After Groebe hit a trey, Penn answered with a bucket from Rosen on a great feed by Eggleston, but Groebe came around another screen and pushed the lead back to four with his sixth make from beyond the arc on the night. Three straight defensive stops led to a fast layup by Ferry. After a Groebe steal on the defensive end, Wroblewski ran out for a layup and was fouled, extending the Cornell advantage to nine (74-65) with 1:42 left. Cornell went 7-of-8 from the line down the stretch to seal the win.

Cornell raced out of the gates to a quick start, going up as many as 16 (29-13) on a post jumper by Coury. Four early points by Josh Figini, a 3-pointer by Gray and consecutive treys by Groebe highlighted the run. Penn finally cut the deficit to single digits with under four minutes to play and a 3-pointer by Rob Belcore sent the visitors into the second half trailing only 36-29.

Penn was the aggressor in the second 20-minute period, quickly getting to within one less than three minutes in and taking its first lead of the game since 2-0 when Turley completed a three-point play with 14 minutes left in regulation. That was part of a 17-2 run over 6:32 by the Quakers that turned a six-point deficit with 15:13 into a nine-point lead (52-43) with 8:41 left. Cornell answered with a big 3-pointer by Gray and a pair of free throws by Eitan Chemerinski. Down five with four minutes remaining, a Groebe 3-pointer off a set play cut it to two, but Cartwright answered right back with a trey of his own. A free throw by Wroblewski, followed by a short jumper by the junior, and then two more free throws set up the crazy ending of regulation.

Cornell returns to action tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. when it meets Ivy unbeaten Princeton at Newman Arena.

Box Score (PDF)

ITHACA, N.Y. - For the third time in six nights, the Penn men's basketball team played an overtime game. For the third time in six nights, the Quakers lost.

This one may have been the hardest to take.

Playing a Cornell team that entered the night with a 5-15 overall record, and already well out of contention at 1-5, Penn started slow again. This time, however, the Quakers were able to make up the difference before the end of regulation -- in fact, they were up nine with just over eight minutes to go, and up five with three minutes left.

Cornell made up the difference, however, and when the overtime started Max Groebe immediately put the Big Red up with a three-pointer -- his fifth of the game. Zack Rosen countered with a layup, but Groebe drained another trey immediately after that.

Somehow you just felt like it was over at that point. And it was. Cornell rolled in the extra session, taking an 82-71 decision at Newman Arena.

Penn (9-11, 3-3 Ivy) has only played three straight overtime games one other time in its history; that was in 1983-84. That year, Penn went 2-1 during that stretch. What the Red and Blue would give for 2-1 this year.

Cornell (6-15, 2-5) makes three-pointers. It's what the Big Red does. And they did it again on Friday, knocking down 12 treys and seeming to gain confidence with each one.

Penn was hoping to stop the trend of starting slow on Friday night, but unfortunately it continued. The Quakers gave Cornell plenty of open looks, and the Big Red responded by knocking down six three-pointers in the opening half. A majority of them came as Cornell jumped out to a 27-13 lead.

Penn was able to cut into the deficit with an 8-0 run late in the stanza, all of the points coming from Jack Eggleston. By halftime, the Cornell lead was just seven, at 36-29, and when the Quakers opened the second stanza with six more points it was 36-35.

The good times kept rolling Conor Turley led a nine-point spurt that turned a 41-35 deficit into a 44-41 lead, scoring five of the points including a free throw that gave the Quakers their first lead since 2-0. That lead eventually expanded to 48-42, and crested at 52-43.

However, with the score 54-46, Cornell came to life and scored nine of the next 10 points to tie the game at 55-55.

With the crowd back into it, Rosen hit a three-pointer and Miles Cartwright followed with a layup off a steal to push Penn's advantage back to five. Groebe knocked down a trey, but Cartwright answered with one of his own, and it was 63-58 as the clock passed the three-minute mark.

Penn would not score again in regulation. They had chances.

Cornell's Chris Wroblewski personally brought the Big Red back, hitting three free throws and a jumper around a pair of misses by Rosen. Penn then got a great chance to take a lead in the final minute, but missed a layup. Cornell got the rebound, and with the shot clock off the Big Red had a chance to win.

Wroblewski took a long trey that missed, but Mark Coury appeared to grab the rebound and put the ball in for the win. However, a whistle blew, and much to the displeasure of the home crowd Coury was whistled for a foul that put Turley at the line with a 1-and-1 and 1.3 seconds left.

Cornell called timeout. Turley missed the front end. On to overtime.

Groebe's opening salvos in OT set the tone. Before long it was 76-65, and Cornell was well on its way to victory.

Eggleston led Penn with 21 points, had a game-high nine rebounds, and dished off five assists. Rosen scored 15 points, including the 1,000th of his Penn career, and had six assists. However, they were the only Quakers to reach double figures in the scoring column. Rob Belcore was Penn's third-leading scorer, with eight points off the bench.

For Cornell, Wroblewski finished with 21 while Groebe had 20 (going 6-of-8 beyond the arc and hitting two foul shots late in OT).

Penn will be back in action Saturday night in New York City, facing Columbia at 7 p.m.

* * *

Postgame Notes: It was Penn's third overtime game in a row, the fourth in the last five contests, and the fifth OT affair in the last eight games ... The only other time a Penn team played as many overtime games in a season with 1983-84, when the Quakers played six (going 2-4) ... The record for overtime Ivy League games in a season? 1983-84, when all six OT games came against Ancient Eight opponents ... Cornell has now beaten Penn six of the last seven times they have met; prior to that, the Quakers had won 18 straight over the Big Red ... This was the seventh Penn-Cornell game to go to overtime; the Quakers are now 3-4 in those games ... The last Penn-Cornell OT game came in the 1989-90 season ... Penn had 20 assists on its 25 baskets, its best ratio in that category this season ... The 20 assists were one shy of the team's season high (set against Brown) ... Penn fell to 0-8 when putting just two players in double figures in the scoring category, and 0-10 when making fewer free throws than its opponent ... Cornell hit 12 three-point shots, the most by a Penn opponent this season ... Senior Jack Eggleston led Penn with 21 points, the third time in five games and fifth time this season he has led the Quakers in that category in a game ... It was Eggleston's fourth 20-point game this season, and the sixth of his career ... Eggleston also led all players with nine rebounds, the 18th time in 20 games he has led Penn in that category ... Eggleston finished with five assists, a season high ... Junior Zack Rosen had 15 points, his team-leading 16th double-figure scoring game in 2010-11 ... Rosen's three-pointer early in the first half pushed him over the 1,000-point mark for his career; he is the 36th player in Penn history to reach the mark, the second this season (Eggleston), and the first to do it in his junior year since Ibrahim Jaaber in 2005-06 ... Rosen now has 1,014 career points ... Rosen also had six assists, his ninth straight game with five or more assists ... Junior Rob Belcore had eight points off the bench, one shy of the season-high nine he had last Friday against Dartmouth ... Freshman Fran Dougherty had seven points for the second straight game; that is a season/career high ... Senior Tyler Bernardini was held to six points, which all came in a row midway through the second half ... Bernardini entered the game having hit double figures in 10 straight contests, averaging 18.1 ppg during that stretch ... Bernardini now has 963 career points ... Freshman Miles Cartwright had seven points, the first time in four games he was held to single digits.

Out of the Big Red's 21 games this season, ten have been decided by 5 points or less. Nine of those have turned out to be losses.

That figure very nearly became ten tonight, as a little bit of luck spared Cornell a heartbreaking loss to the Penn Quakers and instead fueled an overtime thriller in which the Red walked away with an 82-71 victory.

In the final seconds of the second half with the game tied at 63, Cornell's Chris Wroblewski launched a shot from the top of the key, which bounced off the rim and into the hands of Mark Coury, who tipped the ball back in for what appeared to be a game winning layup as time expired. But the referees stepped in to wave off the basket as Coury was whistled for a foul on the rebound prior to his shot - much to the dismay of the 2000 fans in attendance Newman Arena. Coach Bill Courtney chose to express his displeasure by ripping off his jacket and marching to half court and back, his protests ignored.

With the clock reset to 1.3 seconds, Penn's Conor Turley took to the line for a one-and-one bonus, set to put Penn ahead in the final moments of play. But Lady Luck intervened, and shot number one clanged off the bucket and into the arms of Adam Wire, whose half court heave sailed wide and sent the game into overtime. “That [miss] was huge. We're going to have to go thank him for that,” Errick Peck remarked wryly after the game.

Those seconds were the most intense of a night where the Big Red seemed to play as they have all season long. Thanks to some hot shooting in the opening minutes, Cornell jumped out to a 15-point lead in the first half, but saw that evaporate as play progressed. After its early miscues, the Quakers clamped down on the Big Red shooters, and despite a wild rotation of Wroblewski, Johnny Gray, Drew Ferry, and Jake Matthews, the three-point range shots all but disappeared. Strong perimeter resistance forced the Big Red offense down low, where Eitan Chemerinski and Mark Coury struggled to pull together a combined 12 points.

Tonight's play continued to highlight the Red's biggest weakness this season: its ability to compete in the paint. Skilled as Coury, Chemerinski, and Aaron Osgood (knee injury) are, they simply don't have the size and strength to provide a consistent threat on the low block. And when outside shooters can't get open looks and post players can't establish strong positions, that spells bad news for a team.

It took most of the second half for Cornell to solve the Penn defense and slowly climb back from a 7-point deficit to knot the game up at 63. Miscues on both ends of the floor and tenacious defense from Adam Wire kept the Quakers mostly in check, particularly Penn's All-Ivy standout Zack Rosen. It made a difference, but it almost seemed to be too little, too late.

When overtime opened up, the Big Red rediscovered their touch, as Max Groebe knocked down a pair of threes and shifted the momentum wildly in favor of Cornell. From there it was just a matter of hanging on, and good free throw shooting and aggressive defense were enough to give the Red the victory.

Final Score: Cornell 82, Penn 71.

Leading Scorers
Cornell: Wroblewski 21, Groebe 20, Ferry 11
Penn: Eggleston 24, Rosen 15


The Big Red continue their home stand on Saturday as they tip off against Princeton at 7pm in Newman Arena. Can't make the game? Don't forget that you can tune in to Barry Leonard with the call right here on WVBR, the Voice of the Big Red. Tune into 93.5 FM or stream it live at http://wvbr.com. Pregame coverage kicks off at 6:30.

No comments: