Thursday, December 29, 2011

Game Recap: Cornell 58, Stony Brook 69 (OT)

Below, game recaps from Wednesday night...

STONY BROOK, N.Y. (AP)—Dave Coley scored six points and Tommy Brenton five in overtime to lead Stony Brook over Cornell 68-59 on Wednesday night.

Brenton grabbed the offensive rebound and scored after Bryan Dougher’s missed 3-pointer to give Stony Brook a 53-51 lead 35 seconds into the extra period. The Seawolves (4-6) didn’t trail the rest of the way.

Brenton came down with his second rebound of overtime, this time on the defensive end, and Dave Coley hit a jumper to stretch Stony Brook’s lead to four. With the help of three Cornell turnovers in the final three minutes, Stony Brook would hold on to snap a two-game losing skid.

Brenton finished with 12 points and Coley 10, and Stony Brook outscored the Big Red 17-8 in overtime.

Dougher and Ron Bracey paced Stony Brook with 16 points each.

Drew Ferry led Cornell (4-7) with 15 points.

Second Half Surge Not Enough, Men's Hoops Falls To Stony Brook in OT
Cornell Athletics

Box Score (PDF)

STONY BROOK, N.Y. – Cornell rallied from a 20-point first half deficit to send the game to overtime, but unforced turnovers and missed free throws doomed the Big Red in a 68-59 loss at Stony Brook on Wednesday evening at Pritchard Gymnasium. Cornell slipped to 4-7 on the season with the loss, while Stony Brook improved to 4-6.

Senior Drew Ferry hit five 3-pointers for his 15 points and Shonn Miller had 10 points and five rebounds to pace the Big Red, which outscored the Sea Wolves 31-16 in the second half to draw even at the end of regulation. Eitan Chemerinski added nine points and Galal Cancer notched eight points and four rebounds. Chris Wroblewski had five points, seven assists, four rebounds and five steals. Cornell shot just 29 percent from beyond the arc, including 2-of-12 from players other than Ferry.

Stony Brook was led by Bryan Dougher and Ron Bracey with 16 points apiece, while Tommy Brenton had 12 points and eight rebounds and Dave Coley scored 10 for the home team. The Sea Wolves held a 40-32 edge on the backboards and turned the Big Red over 18 times.

Cornell came all the way back to take the lead on a Ferry 3-pointer with 1:18 left in regulation, putting the Big Red up 51-49. It was the team's first lead since 1-0 just 1:24 into the game. Bracey, who entered the contest averaging just 4.8 points per game, was able to break free for a layup to knot the contest up 20 seconds later, and Ferry missed a 3-pointer and Cancer was long on a jumper at the buzzer that would have gave Cornell the victory in the final minute.

Stony Brook scored the first four points of overtime and Cornell would never be able to cut the lead to within three. A three-point play by Wroblewski made it 60-55 with 1:39 left, but that was as close as it would get as Stony Brook took the win.

Few would have guessed Cornell would even be in position to get the game into overtime, trailing by 20 points with over a minute and a half to play in the first half (35-15). Josh Figini hit a 3-pointer, and after getting two great defensive stands, freshman Devin Cherry got on the board with his first collegiate points with a tough 20-foot turnaround jumper at the buzzer to get the visitors back within 35-20 at the break.

The second half was all Cornell, as the Big Red picked up the defensive intensity, limiting Stony Brook to 27 percent shooting and 14 percent from 3-point range. The Sea Wolves also helped the Big Red by missing 7-of-10 from the free-throw line, a number it turned around in the five minute overtime session when it hit 9-of-10.

Cornell had eight steals in the second half to help get back in the game, while Ferry got hot in hitting 5-of-7 shots from beyond the arc in the final 20 minutes of regulation. The Big Red outplayed the home team throughout the second half, but couldn't seem to break through until Ferry drained consecutive 3-pointers to turn an 11-point deficit to five (49-44) at the final media timeout. Dwight Tarwater, who had five points and five rebounds, made an acrobatic tip-in from the right side after Wroblewski was just long on a 3-point attempt to cut the Stony Brook lead to 49-46 with 2:20 to play in regulation.

After a Wroblewski steal turned into a pair of free throws to get within one, Chemerinski stole a pass and got it ahead to Cancer. The freshman found Ferry, who sidestepped a defender and calmly drained a 3-pointer to give the visitors their first lead at 51-49. Stony Brook tied it up on the other end on a layup by Bracey, and Cornell rushed it down the court. Ferry missed a 3-pointer, but Cancer rebounded and the Big Red called timeout with 35.8 seconds left on the clock to set up the potential go-ahead shot. Cancer got off a well-defended shot that hit the back of the iron and was rebounded by the Sea Wolves to send the contest into overtime.

Outside of two thunderous Miller dunks and the final minute flurry, not much went right for Cornell, which turned the ball over seven times in the first 12 minutes in falling behind by 18 points (27-9). The Big Red also missed its first seven shots from 3-point range before Figini's shot late in the first.

Cornell will continue its five-game non-conference road swing when it visits Bucknell on Saturday, Dec. 31 at 2 p.m. in Sojka Pavilion for a New Year's Eve contest. The all-time series between the two teams is tied 23-23.

Over the past two seasons, Stony Brook has established a trend of playing well in big games only to be undermined by shooting droughts. A case in point was last season's America East final when the Seawolves were tied or ahead for all but the final two seconds before losing an NCAA berth.

For much of the second half against Cornell Wednesday night, it seemed the pattern was repeating, much to the consternation of a Pritchard Gymnasium sellout crowd of 1,630. A 20-point SBU lead late in the first half shrank to 15 at the break and then gradually eroded over the course of the second half until the Seawolves had to come from behind to force overtime on a Ron Bracey layup that tied the score at 51.

But after scoring only 16 points in the second half on 27.3-percent shooting, Stony Brook exploded for 17 points in overtime to pull away for a 68-59 victory over the Big Red of the Ivy League. The key seemed to be hanging tough and working at defense and rebounding until the ball started going in the basket again.

"Heart," Bracey said. "We stayed in there and went for it."

"I wasn't going to let my team lose this game," said forward Tommy Brenton, who played a huge role with 12 points, eight rebounds, three steals and some tough defense on Cornell's Drew Ferry, who had 15 points on 5-for-12 shooting from three-point range, including the three with 1:17 left in regulation that gave the Big Red a short-lived 51-49 lead.

The box score looked just fine at the end for the Seawolves (4-6) with Bracey and Bryan Dougher each scoring 16 points and Dave Coley adding 10, including six in overtime. Stony Brook won the rebounding battle 40-32, and coach Steve Pikiell was pleased that guard Chris Wroblewski, who scored a career-high 29 in a win over the Seawolves last season, was held to five points. Cornell (4-7) came in with wins over three other America East teams and a four-point loss to No. 24 Illinois, so this was a quality win.

"Cornell is good," Pikiell said. "They have two guards who started for the Sweet 16 team [in 2010], and they almost beat Illinois. I was pleased with our defense. That was Cornell's low points in regulation this year."

Brenton left the game with his fourth foul with 6:57 left in regulation, but Pikiell brought him back just over a minute later when the going got tough. Ferry hit a couple big threes, but he missed his final shot in regulation and two more in OT when Brenton scored seven points.

"We don't lose at home," Brenton said. "We're trying to go undefeated at home."

If red is your favorite color, then last night's Cornell vs. Stony Brook contest was the game for you. You had the Big Red taking on the Seawolves, whose motto on their tickets is "Get Your Red On, It's What We Do". Needless to say, the crowd was dressed for one of the preferred colors of the holiday season.

The last time I saw Cornell was at Madison Square Garden in December of 2009. They had just won the Holiday Invitational, defeating St John's, who of course are the Red Storm, thus we are continuing with the red motif. The Big Red would eventually make the Sweet Sixteen that 2009-10 season, which actually wasn't that much of a surprise to me, having seen them play.

Since then, Steve Donahue parlayed that Sweet Sixteen and the two previous seasons' NCAA Tournament bids into a head coaching position at Boston College. Meanwhile after Donahue left and Louis Dale, Ryan Wittman and Jeff Foote all graduated, Cornell struggled to a 10-18 record last season. Of the five players that remain from that Sweet Sixteen team, only Chris Wroblewski, a starter that season, saw significant minutes in 2009-10. The Big Red entered last night's contest at 4-6.

The last time I saw Stony Brook, they were putting a whipping on FDU, beating the Knights 70-46. It was their last win going into last night. Still, the Seawolves had another good crowd fill Pritchard Gym last evening despite school not being in session due to the holiday break. They also had a lively and talented pep band that during pre-game warmups chanted out the names of the Stony Brook players similar to the Yankee Stadium Bleacher Creatures.

But unlike the FDU game, there was no Mick Foley in attendance last night. Perhaps he had a date with Mr. Socko. Also, I can't confirm whether or not James or Marilyn Simons were in attendance last night, though they certainly could afford season tickets.

The game started off with both teams struggling to put the ball in the basket. Similar to their game against FDU, Steve Pikiell's Stony Brook team played excellent man to man defense on Cornell. The Big Red often put up their shots with little time left on the shot clock. Meanwhile Stony Brook only attempted three shots in the first nearly five minutes and they scored all their points on free throws by Tommy Brenton. With a little more than fifteen minutes left in the first half, the score was tied at 3-3.

Finally, the Seawolves briefly broke the scoring drought on a layup by Al Rapier to go up 5-3. Baskets were still hard to come by in the first ten minutes. With Stony Brook hitting the occasional three, the Seawolves starting inching out their lead, going up 14-7 with less than nine minutes left in the first half. However, it seemed there was a good chance that neither Stony Brook or Cornell would break twenty points by halftime.

But then Bryan Dougher caught fire for the Seawolves. He preceded to score eight straight points which was part of a 19-2 Stony Brook run over the span of eight minutes. The Seawolves were now up 27-9 with less than five minutes left in the first half. After the media timeout, Cornell managed to finally hit some shots, scoring more points in four minutes and twenty three seconds, eleven, then they did in the beginning fifteen plus minutes of the game, nine. They cut what once was a twenty point lead down to fifteen as Stony Brook went into the half up fifteen, 35-20.

Stony Brook not only has a talented band, but also a very talented mascot in Wolfie. Now Wolfie looks like a regular wolf, not a seawolf (whatever that looks like), and he is very involved in all aspects of the game. First and foremost, he leads the team cheers and is the lead distraction when the opponent shoots free throws. Second, he leads the late second half media timeout kids dance to "Cotton Eyed Joe". Wolfie also has his own Twitter account, @WolfieSeawolf. He is so talented that he was twittering game updates while refereeing a faculty staff halftime game at the same time. Wolfie would become a huge factor late in the second half.

Whatever coach Bill Courtney said to his players at halftime worked, because I saw a different Cornell team in the second half. They came out in a half court trap defense which threw Stony Brook off their game as they had eleven turnovers in the second half. Now it was the Seawolves who were struggling to score on offense. They would only score sixteen points over the next twenty minutes.

On offense, the Big Red looked much more alive, working the ball around for open looks. Combine that with their successful half court trap and as a result, Cornell started slowly cutting into Stony Brook's lead and briefly had it down to single digits. Still with six and a half minutes remaining in the game, the Seawolves were still up eleven, 49-38.

But that's when Cornell made their first run of the game. Over the next five plus minutes, the Big Red outscored the Seawolves 13-0. This was due in large part to a) Stony Brook committing five turnovers in this span, b) The Seawolves taking too much time off the clock on several of their possessions late in the game and c) Drew Ferry, who buried three shots from beyond the arc, the last of which put Cornell up 51-49 with 1:18 left in the game.

The Big Red might have had a bigger lead had it not been for Wolfie. During the second half of the FDU game, Wolfie pulled out a "Shake Weight" and used that as a distraction when the Knights shot a couple of free throws late in the game. Wolfie pulled the "Shake Weight" out again last night. Sure enough, the distraction worked, as Cornell missed three free throws in a row due to Stony Brook's industrious mascot.

Still, the Seawolves needed to tie a game where they had been up by twenty points at one time. And Stony Brook got that on a layup by Ron Bracey with fifty seven seconds left. The Big Red now had a chance to win the game, but Ferry missed an open three pointer. Cornell got the rebound and worked down the clock for the final shot. But Galal Cancer missed a jumper and we headed for overtime tied at 51.

In the overtime, it came down to mostly a free throw shooting contest. The Seawolves scored nine of their fifteen overtime points from the charity stripe. Tommy Brenton had seven points during the extra period, five from the line. The other two came on a breakaway dunk that ended the game as Stony Brook defeated Cornell 68-59.

Dougher and Bracey each had sixteen points to lead the Seawolves. Brenton added twelve points and Dave Coley had ten points. Ferry led the Big Red with fifteen points and Shonn Miller added ten points. The big difference came at the line. Stony Brook was 19 of 28 from the charity stripe while Cornell was only 8 of 17. Give Wolfie a big assist on that statistic.

The Seawolves' next home game is Friday as they take on the Raiders of Colgate. It just so happens that Colgate's road uniform color is maroon, which is of course an off shoot of red. Hey, it is the preferred color of choice this holiday season. Guess I will have to find something in red to wear for Friday night's game.

Just remember to bring the red "Shake Weight", okay Wolfie?

What looked like a potentially quiet victory on Wednesday night became a last-minute race to the finish when the Stony Brook University men’s basketball team played five dynamic extra minutes in its first overtime game of the season, defeating the Cornell University Big Red 68-59.

“I thought our guys did a good job hanging tough,” said head coach Steve Pikiell after the game. “Everyone made a play.”

It would take combined effort from the team to defeat the Big Red, who had two players who started on a sweet-16 team last year. However, Pikiell would be pleased by his defense, as it would hold Cornell to what would tie for its second-lowest score of the season.

Neither team took a decisive edge in the early goings of the game. The Seawolves and Big Red matched each other point for point with the score settling down at 5-5 before Stony Brook began to open up its game.

Cornell has been trying to push Stony Brook outside the three-point arc early on in order to force difficult shots, but that strategy did not work out in its favor as the Seawolves made precisely those shots. The Big Red were also further hampered as the Seawolves clamped down defensively, forcing 10 turnovers and three offensive rebounds in the first half.

Times were not as tough for Stony Brook, which broke away on an 11 point tear to make the score 22-7. The greatest margin of the first half that the Seawolves would lead by was 18 when they had a 27-9 advantage.

Stony Brook, already known for its three-point game, lived up to its reputation in the first half. Senior Bryan Dougher, Stony Brook’s all-time leader in said category according to the Stony Brook Athletic Department, made the first of the game. He would make two more before the first half concluded. Juniors Ron Bracey and Leonard Hayes made two and one three-pointers, respectively, to give to the Seawolves six such baskets for the half. Dougher would connect on another shot from behind the arc in the second half.

However, Cornell inched back as the half concluded, a sign of things to come. The score stood at 35-20 as the teams went to their respective locker rooms.

After the break, the Big Red made an effort to get back into the game. They scored six of the first eight points, driving their deficit to 37-26. Though the Seawolves were able to keep a safe distance on the scoreboard for some time, Cornell would not let them out of its sights, reducing the lead to below 10 for the first time since Stony Brook took a 17-7 advantage in the first half.

Perhaps what kept Stony Brook afloat during this period was its ability to get second opportunities, primarily by bringing in offensive rebounds, and denying Cornell from doing the same. Another place in which the Seawolves found an opportunity to grab points was the charity stripe. The Seawolves made 19 of 28 free throws in the game, 11 more attempts than Cornell would have. Stony Brook is now 4-1 in games where it has more free throws than its opponent.

However, those efforts would not be enough to hold back the Big Red, who sent a shockwave through the packed Pritchard Gymnasium when they took a 51-49 lead with 1:18 left to play. Stony Brook managed to punch a dual ticket to overtime though as junior Ron Bracey made a crucial layup to tie the game at 51 apiece.

“We had heart,” Bracey said succintly after the game, adding that he was in the flow of things as his team’s chance at victory nearly slipt away.

Stony Brook took command of its first overtime of the season quickly. Junior Tommy Brenton scored two quick free throws, and sophomore Dave Coley added a jump shot to put Stony Brook ahead by four points. Cornell would not overcome that margin, and Brenton polished off the game with a reverberating dunk.

“I was not going to let my team lose that game,” Brenton said afterwards with a smile.

With a long victory to conlcude a two-game losing streak, Steve Pikiell now prepares for his team’s next game against Rider University at 7 p.m. on Friday and subsequently for conference play to begin.

Final Stats

Stony Brook, N.Y. - Junior Tommy Brenton (Columbia, Md.) scored seven of his 12 points in overtime as the Stony Brook men's basketball team scored eight of the extra period's first nine points to pull out a 68-59 victory over the Cornell Big Red before a sellout crowd at Pritchard Gymnasium on Wednesday night.

Brenton went 10-for-14 from the foul line and pulled down eight rebounds to go with three steals. Senior Bryan Dougher (Scotch Plains, N.J.) and junior Ron Bracey (Cincinnati, Ohio) led the Seawolves with 16 points apiece while sophomore Dave Coley (Brooklyn, N.Y.) chipped in with 10.

"I was very pleased with our defense tonight," head coach Steve Pikiell said. "A lot of guys contributed to this victory. They did a great job of hanging tough against a good Cornell team."

Stony Brook (4-6) led 49-38 with 6:34 left in regulation following a free throw from senior Al Rapier (Chicago, Ill.) but Cornell (4-7) ran off 13 straight points over the next five minutes, taking a 51-49 lead on a Drew Ferry three with 1:18 left.

Bracey tied the game off a feed from Rapier with 57 seconds left and SBU forced a Ferry miss on Cornell's ensuing possession. Galal Cancer grabbed the rebound though and the Big Red called timeout with 36 seconds to go.

Senior Dallis Joyner (Norfolk, Va.) forced Cancer to miss a short jumper with three seconds left and then grabbed the rebound as the game headed to overtime.

The Seawolves never trailed in the overtime period as Brenton hit two free throws on Stony Brook's first possession and Coley then drilled a jumper with 3:27 left to push the lead to four.

Cornell's Eitan Chemerinski hit one of two free throws with 2:52 remaining to make it 55-52 but Stony Brook then ran off six straight points capped by Coley's steal and lay-up to go up eight with under two minutes left.

Cornell got no closer than five the rest of the way as the Seawolves improved to 4-0 at Pritchard Gymnasium.

The teams battled evenly early, with Stony Brook holding an 8-7 advantage just over seven minutes in.

But Stony Brook seized control of the game over the next eight minutes, out-scoring Cornell 19-2 to take a 27-9 lead. SBU hit five threes in the run including two each from Bracey and Dougher.

The Big Red got within 29-15 on Shonn Miller dunk but Rapier answered with two free throws and Bracey and sophomore Eric McAlister (Hightstown, N.J.) followed with a pair of jumpers to push the Stony Brook lead to 20.

Cornell scored the final five points of the half but Stony Brook still headed to the break with a 35-20 lead. SBU went 6-for-13 from three in the opening 20 minutes while forcing the Big Red to miss nine of their 10 attempts from beyond the arc.

The Big Red scored six of first eight points of the second half to trim the Stony Brook lead to 11 before Dougher knocked down his third triple of the game to give the Seawolves a 40-26 lead.

Cornell continued their hot shooting though as Ferry knocked down a triple before Dwight Tarwater answered a Rapier hoop with another three to trim the Stony Brook lead to 10 with 14:44 left.

The Seawolves are right back in action on Friday, hosting Rider at Pritchard Gymnasium. Game time is set for 7 p.m. For tickets, call (631) 632-WOLF or visit

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