Saturday, November 12, 2011

Game Recap: St. Bonaventure 79, Cornell 58

Below, recaps of Cornell's season opening defeat at St. Bonaventure...

After a white-hot shooting display in the first half against St. Bonaventure left the Red trailing only by two heading into halftime, 40-38, Cornell lost its shooting touch in the second half, eventually falling to the Bonnies, 79-58.

In the first half, the Red (0-1) shot 52 percent from the field and a gaudy 57 percent from 3-point land — converting 8-of-14 attempts; however, the Red missed all six of its 3-point attempts in the final 20 minutes, and shot just 30 percent from the field.

“We missed our first six 3s in the second half and trailed away from it, but coach reminded us [Saturday] in practice that [3-pointers] are one of our staples,” said senior co-captain and guard Drew Ferry. “It is something that we have to rely on and we can’t really get away from. Give credit to St. Bonaventure for playing good defense, but if we would have shot better in the second half, it would’ve been a closer game.”

While the Red relied on the 3, the Bonnies used their size advantage and secured some easy points close to the basket. In the first half, St. Bonaventure worked its way inside, scoring 18 points in the paint — compared to just six by Cornell — and converting 11-of-14 free throw attempts.

Despite the contrast in styles, the two teams played an evenly matched first half, with the lead changing hands 14 times and neither squad leading by more than four points. The half ended on a jumper by sophomore forward Dwight Tarwater that was reviewed before the officials finally counted the basket, shrinking Cornell’s deficit to 40-38 at halftime.

However, the Bonnies started to pull away after the break, putting together a 15-4 run in the first eight minutes. St. Bonaventure displayed a team effort during this run, as five different players scored. Power forward Andrew Nicholson scored 10 points on a series of layups, jumpers and impressive post moves to end any chances of a Cornell comeback.

Nicholson led St. Bonaventure’s attack, scoring 24 points and chipping in with five rebounds and two blocks. The Red acknowledged Nicholson’s dominating presence, and was not surprised that scouts consider him an NBA prospect.

“Andrew Nicholson is a great player,” Ferry said. “He can shoot from mid-range, has great post moves and is able to draw fouls. He’s going to be a big player for them, and I think he is a projected NBA draft pick. We battled as hard as we could, but he was just a little too much for us.”

“He’s definitely a really good player,” added junior forward Eitan Chemerinski. “We just tried our best to limit his touches and keep him off the offensive glass.”

The Bonnies also held the advantage on the boards, outrebounding Cornell, 35-26. The Red also did not help its cause by turning the ball over 18 times.

“We had 18 turnovers, which is very uncharacteristic for us, especially because we’re so good at handling the ball,” said senior co-captain and point guard Chris Wroblewski. “A lot of those were aggressive turnovers where we’re sprinting for layups and just missed the pass a little bit … We definitely have to cut that down and just be a little smarter next time.”

The team felt that the turnovers were a result of both the defensive pressure applied by St. Bonaventure as well as some opening night jitters.

“I think it was a combination of things,” Chemerinski explained. “They played really tough defense, but also I think as the season goes along, we’ll be sharper and minimize some of those mental mistakes.”

Wroblewski, the lone starter remaining from Cornell’s 2009-10 Sweet 16 run, shot the ball only twice from the field, missing on both attempts. The senior guard scored 25 of Cornell’s 54 points in last season’s matchup with St. Bonaventure. Wroblewski finished with four points, all from the free throw line, but recorded a game-high eight assists.

“I don’t think I go into a game thinking I want to pass this amount of times and shoot this amount of times — I don’t have any numbers in mind. It was more so what the defense gave me,” Wroblewski said. “St. Bonaventure did a great job on everybody … we wanted to play fast-paced, up-tempo and score a lot of points, [but] they took us out of that … They pressured me most of the game which kind of took me out of my game a little bit.”

One player who impressed, according to Ferry, was freshman forward Shonn Miller. In his first collegiate game, Miller hit all three of his field goal attempts — including one from downtown — and recorded a team-high four rebounds and one block.

“Shonn Miller stepped in there as a freshman and played some good minutes for us after getting back from a knee injury,” Ferry said.

The Red featured a balanced attack attack on Friday night, as six players scored more than six points, but only one — junior forward Josh Figini, who scored a team-high 10 points — reached double figures. Additionally, head coach Bill Courtney played all 14 players who suited up for the game.

Cornell looks to get back on track Monday night in its home opener against Binghamton at 7 p.m. at Newman Arena.

Box Score

OLEAN, N.Y. -- After silencing a near sold-out crowd in the first half with its lights-out shooting, the Cornell men's basketball team couldn't get the offense going and the defense went with it as St. Bonaventure earned a 79-58 victory on Friday evening at the Reilly Center. The game was the season-opener for both squads.

Cornell shot 52 percent from the floor in the first half, including 57 percent from beyond the 3-point arc (8-of-14), but was just 30 percent accurate after halftime while missing all six 3-pointers. St. Bonaventure's All-America candidate Andrew Nicholson took advantage with 24 points, including making all 10 of his free-throw attempts, to lead three double figure scorers for St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies used their defensive surge in the second half to turn on the offense, shooting 52 percent after halftime for the win.

The Big Red used a balanced attack to stay in the game most of the night with Josh Figini the only scorer in double figures with 10 points. Dwight Tarwater and Drew Ferry each added eight points and Johnathan Gray and Shonn Miller had seven apiece. The team's leading returning scorer from a year ago, Chris Wroblewski, had six points and a game-high eight assists.

The bigger Bonnies held a 35-26 edge on the backboards and turned the ball over just 10 times to 18 miscues for the Big Red. Matthew Wright chipped in 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists and Michael Davenport scored 11.

Cornell's shooting made the game incredibly interesting early, hitting eight 3-pointers in the first 11:30 of the game. When Figini caught a Wroblewski pass for a dunk, the Big Red led 30-27 with 6:51 remaining in the half.

After Nicholson's basket opened the game for the Bonnies, nearly blowing the roof off the building, the Big Red calmly answered. A pair of Ferry 3-pointers and a third trey by Tarwater put Cornell up 9-7 by the first media timeout. The Bonnies regained the lead on a 3-pointer by Conger followed by a tip-in by Wright a minute later. Cornell again shook off the crowd, and freshman Shonn Miller calmly hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key for his first collegiate points to tie the game at 14-14.

The teams traded baskets nearly the entire first half with the Bonnies never leading by more than four points in a game that featured five ties and 14 lead changes in the first 20 minutes of action. A steal and layup by SBU's Cook with 31 seconds remaining in the half tied the Bonnies their biggest lead of that half at 40-36, but Cornell answered just before the horn to end the half. Wroblewski, who attempted just one shot before halftime, found Tarwater for a short jumper at the buzzer that took nearly the entire half to review, but when the officials viewed the replay, they counted the basket. That brought the Big Red back to within 40-38 at the break.

After getting off to a fast start offensively in the first half, the Big Red was just as cold to open the second. St. Bonaventure opened an uneven second half on a 7-2 run to extend the lead to 47-40 by the first media timeout. Eric Mosley's 3-pointer with 16:07 left in regulation made it a game-high seven-point bulge, and less than two minutes later a driving layup by Nicholson and a 3-pointer by Charlon Kloof forced a Big Red timeout and put the home crowd up 52-40. Cornell couldn't mount a serious comeback as the lead eventually grew to 13 (55-42) as the visitors had scored just four points in the first eight minutes of the half.

Cornell got four points back quickly on a layup by Chemerinski and a bucket by Miller after consecutive fantastic feeds by Miles Asafo-Adjei and Wroblewski on consecutive plays. That was as close as it would get, as the Bonnies gradually extended the lead behind Nicholson, who scored 10 points in a variety of ways during a five-minute span to put the game on ice for the Bonnies. A late 13-2 run turned a competitive game into a near-runaway victory for SBU.

The Big Red will open the home portion of its schedule when it plays host to Binghamton on Monday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. at Newman Arena in Bartels Hall.


Watch the complete game

- Andrew Nicholson led three St. Bonaventure players in doublefigures with 24 points, including a perfect 10-of-10 from the free throw line, as the Bonnies (1-0) outlasted a hot, then cold Cornell (0-1) team for a 79-58 win Friday night.

The Big Red made eight of their first 10 shots from behind the arc to stay within two, 40-38, at the half but went 0-for-10 after that as SBU pulled away with a clinching 10-0 run early in the second half.

Sophomore guard Matthew Wright scored 11 of his 13 after the break while grabbing a career-high seven rebounds and passing out five assists to just one turnover. Senior guard Michael Davenport added 11, but left the game early with cramps.

The Bonnies and Big Red exchanged the lead 14 times in a tight first half, with neither team leading by more than three until Da'Quan Cook's decisive steal-turned-bucket with under a minute to play. Cook finished with eight points, seven boards and three steals in an all-around effort, helping Bona to a 40-38 halftime lead.

Leading 42-40 early in the second, SBU held Cornell scoreless for a 5:20 span and got four points from Nicholson, along with 3s from Charlon Kloof and Eric Mosley, to run off 10 unanswered and take control for good.

SBU held Cornell without a field goal over the final 9:01, turning a 12-point lead with just under seven minutes left into a 21-point victory after a 6-0 run and a triple from Wright.

The Bonnies, who play six of their next seven games on the road, travel to Cleveland State on Friday

Box Score - Recap

OLEAN, N.Y. (AP)—Andrew Nicholson scored 24 points and St. Bonaventure pulled away in the second half for a 79-58 win over Cornell in the season opener for both teams Friday night.

The Bonnies led 42-40 and went on a 10-0 run in the second half to break open a close game and lead 52-40. Cornell went more than five minutes without scoring during that run and had another scoring drought at the end of the game, going the final 6:41without a field goal.

Nicholson made all 10 of his free throw attempts. Matthew Wright added 13 points and Michael Davenport had 11 for the Bonnies.

St. Bonaventure dominated close to the basket, outscoring Cornell 30-18 in the paint.

Josh Figini scored 10 points to lead Cornell.

The game featured 14 lead changes in the first half as neither team led by more than three points until the final minute before halftime.

OLEAN -- There was more than just a distinct chill in the air here Friday night.

There was anticipation, excitement and the hope only a new basketball season can provide for a team with ambitious goals, and a fan base eager to pack its bags come March for a meaningful postseason road trip.

St. Bonaventure raised the curtain on a new season at the Reilly Center, one the Bonnies hope will wind up with a trip to the "Big Dance." While Bona still has plenty of things it needs to clean up in its game (as is the case with every team in the nation in November), it showed the flashes that have prompted thoughts of the Bonnies earning a more meaningful postseason bid on the heels of last season's CBI appearance.

Andrew Nicholson was virtually unstoppable around the basket. Da'Quan Cook hit big shots. Reserves Matthew Wright and Charlon Kloof scored key baskets, and a leaky Bona defense plugged the holes emphatically over the final 20 minutes during a convincing 79-58 triumph over Cornell.

Nicholson poured in a game-high 24 points, hitting all 10 of his free throws, and was an intimidating presence inside although he had just two blocks to show for it. Wright -- a sophomore guard -- played a fine all-around game with 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Cook (eight points, seven rebounds) provided energy on the defensive end and an offensive jolt late in the first half to help the Bonnies escape with the lead.

"It was a great victory for us," Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt said. "We wanted to be 1-0 on Nov. 11 and we accomplished that. Guys stepped up and played their roles very well."

Especially Wright, who filled in once starter Michael Davenport left the game with muscle cramps in the second half. Wright, who started his career 1 for 21 from beyond the arc last year, scored 11 points after halftime, including a long two-pointer that gave the hosts a 54-42 lead over the Big Red with 13:06 left.

"I just came out trying to be aggressive," said Wright, who averaged 4.7 points per game as a freshman. "I just had to step up."

"He really gave us a good boost," Schmidt added.

So did Cook, who scored Bona's final five points during the last 1:41 of the first half. The senior's baseline layup gave the Bonnies the lead for good (37-36). After a free throw, he made a steal and went coast-to-coast for a layup.

"That was big," Schmidt said. "It wasn't a typical layup either. It was a difficult play and it gave us energy."

That it did as Bona pulled away with a 12-2 blitz in the opening 5:31 of the second half. Nicholson had four points during the burst and drew a key charge to further frustrate the Big Red. Reserve Kloof capped it with a three-pointer.

Davenport finished with 11 points and three assists in 21 minutes before departing. He was one of eight players to score for Bona.

The RC was rocking prior to the start of this season opener. The student section cheered their heroes upon introduction, booed Cornell when it took the court and chanted “USA, USA” after the national anthem on Veterans Day.

The only real downer: Marquise Simmons, who missed nine games last year with a hand injury, suffered a foot injury early in the first half and didn’t return.

Still, the Bonnies made sure the 4,423 fans in attendance went home happy after some uncomfortable moments in the opening 20 minutes, which included Cornell canning 8-of-14 three-pointers.

The first half featured 14 lead changes and five ties as the Big Red stayed in the game by shooting 52 percent overall (13 for 25), 57.1 percent from beyond the arc, while the Bonnies went 11 for 14 from the line as they used their size to get Cornell in the double bonus.

Bona didn’t yield a three-pointer after halftime, forcing the Big Red to go 0 for 10. The Bonnies gave up just six field goals in the second half as their man-to-man wore down their guests.

Bona also held Chris Wroblewski, who had 25 points last year in a game the Bonnies won, to just four points and eight assists.

“We just told the guys to keep on pressuring and pressuring them, take some of their legs away,” Schmidt said. “I thought in the second half we just played tremendous defense. We just came after them.”

With a crowd of over 4,400 to back them up, the men's basketball team breezed to a 21-point victory over the Cornell Big Red tonight, 79-58.

All-Atlantic 10 first-team forward Andrew Nicholson led the way for the Bonnies, gathering 24 points and 5 rebounds while also going a perfect 10 for 10 from the free throw line.

With 14:54 left to go in the first half, Cornell fouled junior forward Marquise Simmons when he went up for a basket underneath. Simmons limped to the sideline after making both free throws. He came back in the second half with a boot on his foot and crutches.

Schmidt said his status is uncertain.

John Watson reported on SBU-TV that Simmons tore his Achilles tendon and is going to need six months of rehabilitation.

In the first half, Cornell hit 8 of 14 three-pointers to keep them within two at halftime, 40-38.

Dwight Tarwater, Drew Ferry, and Dominic Scelfo all had two three-pointers in the first half for the Big Red, while second team All Ivy-League guard Chris Wroblewski dished out six assists.

However, during the second half Cornell failed to make any three-point buckets. Schmidt credited strong defensive play from his team.

"We just told the guys to keep on pressuring them and hopefully take some of their legs away,"Schmidt said. "I thought the second half our guys played tremendous defense. From eight three's to no three's. That was a commitment that we made. We won the game defensively."

Schmidt also praised sophomore guard Matthew Wright on his play.

"Matthew was terrific,"Schmidt said. "He came in off the bench and gave us the spark that we needed offensively. That's what any good team needs. He had seven rebounds which is probably a career high."

Wright tallied 13 points on the day going 5 for 9 from the field and 1 for 4 from beyond the arc.

Senior forward Da'Quan Cook scored eight points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. Cook also had three steals for the Brown and White.

The Bonnies went on a 15-4 run to start the second half and never looked back. Schmidt said he liked the way his team jumped into the second half early on.

"We've always had a slow start in the second half,"Schmidt said. "I though we came out and did a great job stopping the first possession then came down and scored. In a game like that, during the second half, you always talk about stops and scores."

The “Andrew Nicholson Show” is off to a good start to the season as the stud senior forward helped lead the Bonnies to a 79-58 win over the Cornell Big Red on Friday night.

Nicholson had a game high 24 points, leading the Bonnies to the convincing win over Cornell to start their season 1-0.

Cornell managed to hang in the game early on as they trailed by only two points at the half (40-38).

Unfortunately for Cornell, the Bonnies stepped their game up a notch in the second half and ran away with the game.

St. Bonaventure’s defense was dominant in the second half as they limited Cornell to only 20 points in the half and forced the Big Red into numerous scoring droughts.

At the same time, the Bonnies kept scoring at a high rate as Nicholson and Michael Davenport led the way for St. Bonaventure.

The two seniors combined for nearly half of the Bonnies scoring as they combined for 35 points. (Nicholson 24, Davenport 11)

With the win, the Bonnies now stand at 1-0 and next play November 18th when they travel to Cleveland State to take on the Vikings.

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — For twenty minutes a visitor got comfortable in the Reilly Center. The relaxed state was short lived.

Player-of-the-year candidate Andrew Nicholson led all scorers with 24 points as the St. Bonaventure Bonnies defeated the Cornell Big Red 79-58 Friday night on Bob Lanier Court.

Leading by two at half, Nicholson sparked a 22-11 run as the Brown and White took a commanding 62-49 lead.

Matthew Wright entered the ball to Nicholson on the left block, and the senior forward took a dribble to create space and hit a turnaround baseline jumper for the 13-point lead.

After a layup by Cornell’s Josh Figini at the other end, Da’Quan Cook grabbed an offensive rebound and finished at the rim.

“We’ve always had our slow starts at the beginning of the second half,” said head coach Mark Schmidt. “I thought we came out and did a great job. We got a stop on the first possession and came down and scored. In a game like that, you talk about stops and scores. We put them together, and that’s what you got to do to beat a team like that.” We won that game defensively.”

Wright gave the Bonnies a 66-52 lead when he caught on the left side, showed a ball fake, went one dribble to the right and pulled up from fifteen feet.

Eric Mosley added to the bulge when he grabbed a rebound of Wright’s three-point attempt and hit a jumper in the lane.

The Bonnies stretched it to 16 when Demitrius Conger used a bounce pass to lead Nicholson sliding from left to right across the lane, and the senior connected on a baby hook.

Cornell hit eight of their first ten from behind the arc as the teams traded leads twelve times in the first half with the Bonnies taking the largest lead at four.

After a making a pair of one-and-one free throws, Conger grabbed a defensive rebound and busted up the middle of floor. With Michael Davenport taking a defender with him on the wing, Conger finished a right hand layup in the lane. SBU led 35-31.

But Cornell would not go away.

Dominic Selfo came off the bench and hit back-to-back carbon copy treys from the right to give Cornell a 25-23 lead.

“They hit some tough shots,” Schmidt explained. “It’s not like we weren’t there. You live with it and keep on working. Hopefully, they’ll start missing, and that’s what happened.”

Johnathan Gray finished in transition and was fouled. Cornell trailed 35-34. Nenad Tomic finished a layup and the Big Red reclaimed the lead36-35.

Cook led the way as the Bonnies grabbed the momentum going into the half. Davenport fed Cook along the baseline to the right of the basket. The 6’8″ forward pivoted and used his body to shield a defender before scoring.

Next trip down the floor Cook took another pass on the baseline and used identical footwork to draw a foul where he cashed one of two.

The senior continued the effort at the defensive end with a steal and a layup for a 40-36 edge.

“That was a big lift,” Schmidt said of Cook’s steal and layup. “That layup wasn’t typical. That was a difficult layup. He did the blue-collar stuff. That’s what we want him to do.”

Cook accounted for eight points, seven rebounds and three steals.

Wright also provided valuable input. In 27 minutes, the sophomore added 13 points, seven points and five assists.

“I got to play through some mistakes,” Wright mentioned. “I got extended minutes, so I got to take advantage of it.”

“Matthew was terrific off the bench,” Schmidt noted. “He gave us a spark.”

After hitting eight of their first ten from behind the arc, the Big Red failed to connect for the rest of the game. The Bonnies used full pressure to slow the Cornell aerial.

“We told the guys to keep pressuring them and take their legs away,” Schmidt noted. “We won the game defensively. They’re a great three-point shooting team. The guys did it. They stepped up. We didn’t do anything differently as far as switching. We just got into them a bit more.”

The Bonnies are 43-3 in home openers at the Reilly Center.

Davenport added 11 points and three assists.

Conger chipped in nine points and grabbed four boards.

The victory came at a cost. Both Davenport and Marquise Simmons left the game with injuries. The two will be evaluated.

St. Bonaventure heads out on the road for their next three games with their first road test next Friday at Cleveland State.


Anonymous said...

Who hit that sweet step back 3-pt in first half?

Anonymous said...

Drew Ferry.

Anonymous said...

St bonnies is final four shame in this loss, saw HArvard play and still love our Ivy title chances. Our Fresh are studs, and these HS seniors and we should be back in the national rankings in no time!

Anonymous said...

The bonnies arent Final 4 material but they should get to the dance, we hung with them for a half with good shooting. Bigger more athletics teams will hang with them for the whole game.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Let's keep things in perspective.

Bona is more like an NIT team. They are not an NCAA team. They will finish 4th-6th in the A-10. A solid club that is better than every Ivy team except Harvard.

Still, it was not a horrific loss.

Cornell was in the game at halftime.

Cornell played two freshmen substantial minutes, it was the first game of the year, it was on the road in a hostile gym AND it was without Errick Peck who is Cornell's second best player.

Anonymous said...

I could be mistaken about this. Both Coach and the fans watched the Bonnies, a better team on their home court, put the Red in a tough position with a 10-zip run in the first six minutes of the second half.

From that point, it looked vaguely as if Coach then did some much needed tinkering with the lineup, that might have worked to spark a comeback, but definitely will prove valuable over the next few weeks in figuring out who the contributors will be this year. The comeback did not materialize, but the experience was clearly valuable.

Prepare for more of that with this team with its unsettled lineup and shortage of frontcourt experience, for a few weeks. It's the purpose of the pre-season. We will get there.