Sunday, January 22, 2012

Game Recap: Cornell 56, Columbia 61

Scoring woes continue to plague Cornell on the court
Columbia hangs on for men's basketball victory
Ithaca Journal

NEW YORK -- Despite holding its opponent to just 39.6 percent shooting and four of 14 from behind the arc, the Cornell men's basketball team couldn't muster up enough offense to notch its second conference victories in three tries this season, falling 61-56 Saturday at Columbia.

The Big Red (6-11, 1-2 Ivy League) trailed by as many as 10 points in the second half before having a shot to tie the game on a 3-pointer by senior point guard Chris Wroblewski with 9 seconds remaining.

But it was not meant to be, as Cornell shot just 33.9 percent from the floor and made only four of 19 3-pointers, a week after shooting a combined 5-for-28 from behind the arc against Princeton and Pennsylvania.

"We're having trouble scoring the basketball right now," Cornell coach Bill Courtney said. "It's hard to pitch a no-hitter every game. We're playing pretty good defense, and any time you hold a team to 39 percent shooting and force 18 turnovers you give yourself a chance to win, but unfortunately we're just not putting the ball in the basket enough to win right now."

The Big Red was also dominated on the boards Saturday, as the Lions (12-7, 1-2) held a 45-29 advantage in rebounds, 20 of which where hauled in by Mark Cisco, a 6-foot-9 center. The junior also scored a game-high 18 points.

Wroblewski led Cornell with 14 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals, although he shot just 3-for-13 and missed on his seven 3-point attempts.

Classmate Drew Ferry and junior Johnathan Gray were the only Big Red players able to find their range against Columbia, combining for 25 points on 4-for-7 shooting from beyond the arc. Despite the Big Red's recent struggles shooting the ball, Courtney says he has no plans of adjusting his players' shot selection moving forward, although he recognizes that his team has been more hesitant to pull the trigger from behind the arc because of the current slump.

"We're getting wide-open shots with good shooters," he said. "I'm never going to tell a good shooter to turn down an open shot. We just have to make them."

Cornell trailed 27-22 at halftime, but twice pulled to within a point at around the 7-minute mark of the second half. The Lions answered with a 7-0 run to push their lead back to eight points, and stretched it to 10 with 6:52 remaining.

Cornell battled back one more time in the game's closing minutes, trailing by just two with 15 seconds left after a jumper from by Wroblewski, but his 3-point shot to tie the game three seconds later missed and Columbia sealed the victory from the charity stripe.

Cornell and Columbia will face off again at 7 p.m. Saturday at Newman Arena, where Courtney hopes his team will be up to return the favor.

"It's just a matter of executing your game plan," he said. "We just didn't play very well (Saturday). We executed what we wanted to do but we just didn't play well. Both teams will be well prepared and the team that plays the best will win the game."

Poor Play Leads to Loss Against Lions
Cornell Daily Sun

The Cornell men’s basketball team continued its inconsistent play on the road this Saturday, experiencing its ninth consecutive loss as it fell to the Columbia Lions, 61-56. Despite the Red (6-11, 1-2 Ivy League) playing one of its finest defensive games of the year, Columbia’s (12-7, 1-2) advantage on the boards and the Red’s poor shooting were too much to overcome.

“We had solid defense. We held them to 39 percent shooting and forced 18 turnovers,” said head coach Bill Courtney. “[Offensively], we had great opportunities and good open looks. We just need to hit shots. We’re struggling with that right now and we have to continue to take open shots and build up our confidence and just put it in the basket.”

The Lions held the rebounding advantage, 45-29, primarily due to the play of Columbia center Mark Cisco, who scored 18 points and grabbed 20 rebounds along with three assists and two blocks. He was named the Ivy League’s Player of the Week due to his performance.

“[Cisco] got 20 rebounds — that’s very impressive,” senior guard and co-captain Chris Wroblewski said. “We just didn’t do a good job [on the boards] as they outrebounded us by [16], which is unacceptable. It is one of our weaknesses and it’s a point of emphasis wherever we play. It was one of the key factors in the game against Columbia ... but all the credit to Mark Cisco, he had a heck of a game.”

“We must do a better job of blocking out,” Courtney said. “We put a body on him, but he’s such a big strong player, so he kind of just knocked us out of the way. We have to be much more physical with our bigs.”

Along with Cisco’s great play, Columbia’s starting guards, Brian Barbour and Meiko Lyles, performed well, scoring 14 and 15 points, respectively. They frequently penetrated the Cornell defense and created opportunities.

“[Barbour and Lyles] had too much ability to get into the lane and make plays,” Wroblewski said. “We guarded them very well for the first 20 seconds of every shot clock, but then we kind of just collapsed for the last 15 seconds and they [would make] a play. We wore ourselves out playing great defense for 20 seconds, but … we have to finish off possessions a little stronger.”

The other key factor in the loss was the Red’s poor shooting, going 4-of-19 from 3 and shooting just 34 percent from the field. Wroblewski’s unexpected struggles shooting the ball played a role in the defeat, as the senior captain went 0-for-7 from 3.

“I couldn’t tell you, I really don’t know,” Courtney said when asked about Wroblewski’s shooting woes. “He’s getting extra shots up right now … He has just got to work through it. There’s nothing we can do about it, just tell him to take open shots and hopefully they’ll fall, since that’s a big part of what we do.”

After being one of the most feared shooters in the Ivy League and shooting over 43 percent from downtown for the past three seasons, Wroblewski refuses to let the start of this season alter his approach to the game.

“I have played basketball for my entire life and I consider myself a shooter,” Wroblewski said. “I don’t think the last 10 games of my career will make me say all of a sudden I’m not a 3-point shooter; that would be ridiculous.”

The Red’s shooting troubles are not limited to Wroblewski. Stand-out freshmen Galal Cancer (3-for-10 from the field) and Shonn Miller (0-for-4 from the field) also contributed to the problem. However, Courtney applauded the energy they brought to the game and understood the ups and downs all freshmen go through.

“[Both freshmen] have done very well and have really figured it out right now and how hard they have to play every day,” Courtney said. “They might not have a great game every day, but they’re playing hard and giving tremendous effort [and] they’ll continue to improve.”

“I think each game is a great experience with them and they’ll only get better,” Wroblewski agreed. “I know when I was a freshman, each experience gave me more confidence and more comfort on the court and I think those two have such great raw talent and just an unlimited ceiling of potential. I think they’ll just continue to grow and I don’t see them taking a step backwards. They are two of the most talented players on the team and we depend on them a lot and I think they’ll deliver for us.”

However, not everyone struggled offensively in this game. Senior guard and co-captain Drew Ferry hit 5-of-9 from the field and 3-of-6 from downtown, while junior guard Johnny Gray played 33 minutes off the bench, scoring 12 points and grabbing four rebounds with one steal.

Cornell will look to avenge its loss next weekend as it plays Columbia again on Saturday, this time at home in Newman Nation.

Light Blue finally out of own shadow Columbia breaks the habit of dropping close games
Columbia Spectator

At a certain point in the Columbia-Cornell men’s basketball game last Saturday night, I felt a little bit like Bill Murray’s character Phil Connors, the hapless weatherman stuck reliving the same day in the small town of Punxsutawney, Penn., in the classic 1993 comedy “Groundhog Day.”

Sent to Punxsutawney to cover the annual ceremony of the famous groundhog, which supposedly can predict if the winter will give way to an early spring based on whether or not he sees his shadow, Phil cannot escape. No matter what he does, each day when he wakes up, it’s Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney once again.

About seven minutes into the second half on Saturday night, I started wondering if Groundhog Day had come to Columbia.

The Big Red had cut the Lions’ lead to one, 35-34, with just under 13 minutes to play. Full-court pressure had been working, and the Lions worked hard just to get the ball into frontcourt. The offense stalled, and the players looked gassed. It was an exact repeat of the sort of possession that plagued Columbia in its losses to Penn and Princeton. In those two contests, the Light Blue opened up a lead on either side of halftime, only to see its offense come to a standstill and its lead dwindle, disappear, and turn into a deficit.

The problems in both games were concentrated on the offensive end. Full-court pressure by the Quakers and the Tigers forced turnovers and took the Lions out of their rhythm. Often, after struggling to get the ball over midcourt, Columbia players simply looked too tired to make anything happen in their offensive sets, letting the shot clock tick down without making any moves to the basket. This sluggishness on offense led to turnovers, forced shots, and—in the midst of a nearly seven-minute scoring drought in the second half against Princeton—multiple shot-clock violations.

So with a one-point lead and eight seconds on the shot clock, the Light Blue players stood around the three-point line, looking browbeaten by Cornell’s pressure and having created no opportunities in the first three-quarters of the possession. Freshman forward Alex Rosenberg—hardly the team’s best ball handler—dribbled in place just past midcourt, 45 feet from the basket.

“Oh no,” I thought. “Levien Gym had turned into Punxsutawney, Penn. It was Groundhog Day. Again.”

But Rosenberg looked up at the shot clock and drove hard down the left side of the lane. Cornell’s help defense came, and the freshman found junior forward and defensive stalwart John Daniels underneath for a layup—Daniels’ only bucket of the game, and a crucial one. The lead was back up to three. Though the Lions’ offense still struggled to break the press, they found some points in transition and from the free-throw line. The players had broken out of their minor funk and no longer looked like the ill-fated weatherman Phil Connors, waking up at 6 a.m. on the same day, again and again. It was Groundhog Day no more.

Next weekend in Ithaca, the Light Blue will face the Big Red once again. Columbia needs to work on breaking the full-court press more effectively and must hope to continue its strong rebound (the Lions won the battle of the boards 45-29 on Saturday) in order to get back to .500 in the league. What may be most important, though, will be playing as if its second-half offensive funk is a thing of the past. Which, thanks in part to that Rosenberg-to-Daniels basket, it is.

At the end of the movie, Bill Murray’s character gets to spend the night with ’80s/early ’90s hottie Andie MacDowell, and when he wakes up, it’s not Groundhog Day again. I’m not trying to speculate on anyone’s proclivities for mature women with giant hair, but I do know this: Though an early spring may have been the furthest thing from everyone’s mind as they trudged out of Levien Gymnasium through the first snow of the new year on Saturday, the Lions’ second-half play made it clear that they no longer saw their shadows.

Offensive Droughts Haunt Men's Hoops In Loss At Columbia
Cornell Athletics

Box Score (PDF)

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The Cornell men's basketball team couldn't get an offensive rhythm going and Columbia did just enough against a stout Big Red defense to pull out a 61-56 victory on Saturday evening at Levien Gymnasium. Columbia improved to 12-7 (1-2 Ivy), while Cornell slipped to 6-11 (1-2 Ivy) with the loss.

Senior Chris Wroblewski led the Big Red with 14 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals, while Drew Ferry (13 points) and Johnathan Gray (12 points) also reached double figures in scoring. Cornell allowed Columbia to shoot just 39.6 percent from the floor in the loss, including 29 percent from 3-point range (4-of-14), but struggled shooting the ball plenty itself. The Big Red made just 34 percent of its shots overall, including just 4-of-19 from beyond the arc for 21 percent.

Mark Cisco had a dominant night in the post for the Lions with 18 points, 20 rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots. Meiko Lyles added 15 points and Brian Barbour notched 14. Columbia held a decisive 45-29 advantage on the glass and overcame 18 turnovers.

Columbia jumped out to a 6-0 lead, held the Big Red scoreless for the first 5:20 and never trailed, though it would never put the Big Red away. With Cisco dominating the glass, grabbing 11 offensive rebounds (including five offensive boards), the Lions led by as many as seven. Consecutive 3-pointers by Ferry and Gray late in the half got the Big Red within three with under a minute to play in the half, but Lyles got free for a layup to send the home team into the break leading 27-22.

Alex Rosenberg scored right out of the gates to push the Lions back out to a seven-point lead before the Big Red's pressure defense took hold. A driving layup by Ferry and a steal by Wroblewski that led to a runout layup by his senior co-captain got Cornell within 29-26. Columbia was forced to burn a timeout.

Cornell was able to pull within one twice with around 13 minutes to play, both times on free throws by Wroblewski to make it 35-34 and again at 37-36. Columbia answered that challenge by going on a 7-0 run to boost the edge back to eight. The home team would extend the advantage to as many as 10, the last time with six minutes remaining.

Four points in the final 32 seconds by Wroblewski gave the Big Red opportunities to get back in the game, cutting the contest to 58-56 after the senior hit a jumper with 15 seconds. Despite being double teamed, Columbia's Barbour was able to get the inbounds pass and the 90 percent free throw shooter cased in to make it a two possession game. Wroblewski then missed a 3-pointer that would have cut it to one, and the Lions were able to hold on to the win.

The same two teams will go back at it on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. at Newman Arena.

Box Score | VIDEO: Postgame With Coach Smith and Mark Cisco | VIDEO: Game Highlights

NEW YORK - Mark Cisco scored 18 points and hauled in 20 rebounds, setting a Levien Gymnasium record, as the Lions held Cornell to 33.9 percent shooting in a 61-56 victory in front of 2,654 fans on Saturday night.

Columbia led 27-22 at halftime after both teams did not shoot well from the field to begin the game. Columbia hit 32.3 percent of its shots in the half and Cornell made just 27.6 percent, including two of ten from three-point range.

The Lions opened up a 10-point lead, 48-38, on two Cisco free throws at the 6:52 mark and still led by 10 when Brian Barbour found Cisco open along the base line for a jumper at the six-minute mark.

Being an Ivy League game, it remained close in the final minutes. Drew Ferry came back on Cornell's next possession to bury a three-pointer to cut the deficit to seven, 50-43.

Four minutes later, with Columbia still up by seven, Ferry drained another triple to make it a 54-50 game with 1:53 left to play.

Cornell kept up its full-court pressure and forced two Columbia turnovers that let the Big Red back into the contest. Two Chris Wroblewski free throws made it a 56-54 game with 32 seconds left and Cornell had to foul to extend the game.

With 21 seconds left, Ferry fouled Cisco after an inbounds pass. Cisco had made six of seven from the line in the game already and calmly sank both foul shots to make it a 58-54 game.

After Wroblewski hit a contested baseline jumper, the Big Red fouled Barbour, who also calmly drained a pair of foul shots to keep Columbia's lead at two possession, 60-56.

Cisco posted his second straight double-double with 18 points and 20 boards and also added three assists and two blocked shots.

"Without Mark, they win that game by 10 points," Barbour said after the game. "He was a beast on the boards."

Barbour finished with 14 points and five assists and Meiko Lyles had a strong game with 15 points and four rebounds.

"Our defensive end was sensational today," head coach Kyle Smith said after the game. "A big key was to get it into Mark. He's relentless on the boards."

Wroblewski's 14 points led Cornell, which also received 13 from Ferry and 12 points off the bench by Johnathan Gray.

Columbia and Cornell will meet again next Saturday, January 28 at 7 p.m. in Ithaca, N.Y.


Mark Cisco's 20 rebounds set a Levien Gymnasium record ... the previous record was 19 rebounds, set by two Brown players two years apart (Phil Brown, 1975 and Rob Crichton, 1977) ... Cisco now has three double-doubles this season ... he scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half ... Alex Rosenberg had nine points for the Lions ... Dean Kowalski had an assist and zero turnovers in 11 minutes off the bench ... Columbia defeated Cornell for the third straight time ... the Lions shot 50 percent from the field in the second half ... Columbia outrebounded Cornell 45-29 and won the battle on the offensive glass, 13-8 ... Pete Mangurian, Columbia's Patricia and Shepard Alexander Head Football Coach spoke to the Levien Gym fans at halftime ... the Lions have won six of their last eight home games.


Anonymous said...

Cornell just doesn't have any closers -- guys who take over at the end of the game and say "We ain't losing this game." They also got killed on the boards, again. It must be brutal for Courtney to coach a team that completely lacks college-ready big men.

Anonymous said...

Last night, I saw a team without an identity or a purpose and the sole blame falls on the coach.

The coach had no gameplan and made almost no adjustments thoughout the game. Shon Miller was the most athletic and dynamic player on the court and the coach gameplaned ZILCH for him (only took 4 shots!). Didn't post him up. Didn't create any plays for him. Even though we were playing a terrible Columbia team.

Courtney didn't display the body language and presence of a leader. He constantly looked exasperated. He constantly complained to his lead assistant. He would sub guys out after 1 mistake only to sub them right back in after a minute.

This guy is a solid recruiter but if he doesn't learn an offensive system or bring in an assistant who does, this team will be in trouble for years to come.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:27: It's not Courtney's fault. He's got an incredibly undersized team playing tenacious defense and hustling against teams way better than them. Aside from Binghamton, there's not a single team that Cornell has played where they had the talent advantage. This team can't sink the three except for Ferry, they can't rebound, they have no size, and they're relying on freshman who are just learning the college game and making a host of mistakes.

And, finally, Columbia isn't a terrible team. They're not great, but they are far from terrible. Let's give Courtney a fair chance. The reality is that he inherited an exceptionally weak team when Donahue left.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous anon comment. This one goes to the coaching. Anyone present for this game in NYC could clearly see that Cornell is significantly more talented and athletic than Columbia.
Leadership starts with coaching and moves down to your Senior leader; if you looked at Coach Bill, you saw the same dejected look that we saw on Wrobo's face.
Are you kidding me? We should never, never lose to such a crappy Columbia team (especially if they have a crappy game), its not like Columbia shot 75% the floor and 60% from 3!
Moving forward, the coaching staff is in dire need of more thought. BC is an outstanding recruiter, so we will definitely be amongst the most talented in the league, its just a matter of plain old X's and O's...

Anonymous said...

Terrible Columbia team? Please.... You should wish Cornell had a terrific bench coach like the Lions' Kyle Smith, the recruits he is getting for next year (including two who turned down Princeton, regardless of what Big Red Fan thinks), the kids he is getting back (Agho, Frankowski and the transfer forward from GW) and the kids he has playing, particularly Barbour and Cisco.

Anonymous said...

The Daily Sun sports department tweeted that, of Courtney's 44 games as head coach to date, 14 of them have been losses by five points or fewer.

That seems to support Anonymous 9:27 PM in his contention that Courtney has approximately equal talent on the court, but can't create a gameplan or make the minor adjustments which can make up that deficit of five points over the course of a game.

Anonymous said...

My prediction: many of these posters critical of Courtney will be eating their words in three years. Let's wait to see what happens.

Not counting the freshman, there are two players on Cornell's team Wrobo and Ferry) that are legit, and they're both guards under 6'2". There's no size on this club, although the class next year should remedy that problem.

Don't you think a top-six rotation of Bunche, Harmon, Peck, Miller, Cherry, and Cancer could make some waves? Good thing this blog didn't exist when Donahue was around; you folks would have tried to drive him out of town when he was at the bottom of the league.

Anonymous said...

Cornell is tied with Columbia for fifth in the league, ahead of Brown and Dartmouth. That's exactly where most thought Cornell would be preseason (and with Peck). What's all this griping about? It's not the coach's fault; this team is rebuilding. I, for one, appreciate that Courtney is giving lots of time to the frosh, not to win games now when it won't matter, but for two years down the road. It takes time to build a winner, and the cupboard was pretty barren when Coach C. took the helm.

Anonymous said...

Stop acting like the other Ivies are parading seven-footers.

Anonymous said...

I think reasonable minds know that this season and maybe next season are lost. The focus should be on rebuilding and recruiting. In that vein, any hints at 2013 recruits to satiate the mases? Any high-profile (ie top 100, 150) players in the mix?

Anonymous said...

The Cornell fans who think Columbia has a crappy team are dealing in old stereotypes. The offense isn't great, but the defense is one of the best in the league. How do you factor in the Sports Network's prediction that Columbia would win by 4, and Columbia won by 5? Cornell has some athletic players, but it is going to be pounded inside by Ivy League teams. For this reason, even with the home court advantage, it's quite likely that Cisco will have another big game next Saturday, and Cornell fans will scream once again that Cornell lost to "crappy" Columbia.

Anonymous said...

Courtney is going to get time, at least 4 years, no matter what anyone thinks. However, I'm not going to pretend he's been good so far. The coaches who recently beat him are new coaches too. Cisco was every bit as inexperiences as Josh and Eitan when Kyle Smith arrived, and he isn't any taller than them. Both last year's team and this year's could have been better. It took forever for Courtney to get guys like Coury going; previously reliable players have been going through slumps under him. Courtney could improve over time but let's not pretend he's been good so far. He's been awful. This team has been amongst the worst at everything from range shooting to free throws since he came along.

Anonymous said...

Good discussion, I for one thinks its coaching as well and not the talent or size on our team. Since we have a rematch with Columbia this week what would a well coached team do? What kind of changes would he make and will we see BC make them? Will we allow Cisco to get 20 boards? Will he put in good match-ups so that we can score? If BC is able to adjust and get parity in rebounding even if they loose I would consider this some sort of coaching success.

We have no chance to win if we are out rebounded 29 to 45

Anonymous said...

Is there any patience anymore?

League play is three games old, and yet many on this blog are writing off the rest of the year and predicting starting lineups for 2012-2013 consisting mostly of next year's still unproven freshmen and sophomores, while Donahue recruits are discarded as role players. I doubt they see it that way and I hope they are only motivated by the slights and insults, some of which have been issued in defense of the coach.

And, the "5 yr old on Christmas morning" attitude towards freshmen, coupled with the unrealistic expectations placed on freshmen which are reinforced time and time again on this blog, only perpetuate the lack of patience. I doubt that pressure helps the freshmen

A lot can happen between now and the end of the season, between now and next year. Injuries. Transfers. Players get better. Or worse.

Folks, the coaches and the players work harder and put in more time than many of you could ever imagine - year round. They care more than you know. They are all immensely talented. Let the journey happen.

I do hope Cornelians are bigger than this.

Anonymous said...

The jury is still out on Courtney as a coach and watching this team make the same offensive mistakes again and again is just painful (stop chucking up threes, you can't shoot them anymore). But the main problem this team has talent. There isn't nearly enough. Cornell is a bunch of freshmen, Ivy League role players and a slumping Chris Wroblewski. Other than 'ski and Shonn, no one on this team starts for any Ivy but Dartmouth, and Chris would probably have lost his starting gig until he starts shooting like his old self. The league is getting better, the way most Ivy sports are improving; you are very mistaken if you think this is first division talent. Making it worse is that Courtney wants to play a style that most of guys he inherited from Coach D can't play well.

BC is clearly learning on the job, and that can be painful to watch sometimes. But his defense is ranked in the top 100 by Ken Pomeroy and that didn't happen by accident. If he gets his guys, which he should, and he learns how to run an offense, he'll be fine. If not, there is always hockey.

Anonymous said...

I'll stay out of the Courtney debate because way too early to judge, but anyone (like some of the posters here) who thinks Columbia has equal/more talent than Cornell is out of their mind. Seems like some of you don't understand that Lions can be talented and still have less talent than Cornell.

Wenger said...

the coach have to be move on better and better, a chance, even a change...but all is great if it communicated to the official and teams,what's strategy the best.

Anonymous said...

Columbia is terrible and Penn is mightily unbalanced (although heaven knows what kind of motivation an unexpected road sweep provided them).

As for talent, who has better freshmen than us? Columbia's only significant player who Kyle Smith inherited was Agho, and he's injured. You all forget that Barbour emerged under Smith, Cisco is having his biggest year, and did you know Lyles last year? No. So, all these people developed under a new coach but Courtney can't develop his players. Courtney didn't start off with worse talent; his team has just failed to show progress. Acting like "oh other Ivy coaches has better talent to work with than him" is just ridiculous. If his players have languished it is because of poor coaching.

Anonymous said...

How does Courtney only get Shon Miller 4 shots in that game? Nobody on Columbia's team could guard him.

What did we do instead? Pass pass pass around the perimeter until the shot clock ran down and then chuck up a 3. Courtney said they executed the gameplan but didn't hit the shots. If that's their gameplan, he better come up with a new gameplan.

Anonymous said...

Cornell posters may be overestimating the talent level of their players (perhaps, thanks to this site).

Shonn Miller is an athletic wing, who has had some good games. But, at least last Saturday night, he was outplayed by Columbia's Alex Rosenberg. Just look at the stats. That Miller only got 4 shots was not by Courtney's design; it was a result of very tight defense.

Both Cornell and Columbia had their ups and downs in this game. I don't think the issue is good talent underperforming, as the other team has some talent too and may have been just a few points better this time in the clutch. Let's see: Barber scored 25 in each game against Penn and Princeton. Cisco had 18 and 20 vs. Cornell. Lyles hit 12 straight 3's and has had some amazing games.
No surprise Columbia won this game.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:05: Couldn't agree more.

Anonymous said...

I thought that Princeton and Penn looked comparable. I was wondering which of the Friday night victory or the Saturday night loss was a more accurate reflection of our squad. I fear the Columbia outcome suggests that it is the latter. We'll see this weekend when we host.

It's purely anecdotal observation but it appears to me that our football program displays both the greatest home field advantage and worst traveling record in the Ivy League. In other words, we outperform at home and underperform on the road, much more so than the HFA displayed by other Ivies. It just seems that the long bus ride takes a bigger toll on both our team outbound and our opponents inbound.

I haven't noticed quite as obvious an impact on our basketball team but it would be illuminating if somebody were to run the numbers.

Anonymous said...

We need some perspective here.

Consider the team last year: these guys had an awful run early in the year, and started the Ivy season on a major losing streak. They eventually turned it around and finished mid table behind some great play by Wroblewski and a newfound consistency from Peck.

After that run, we legitimately had some expectations coming into this season. We knew that the team would need to replace its big men, but we believed Eitan and Josh could do it. We believed that the freshman would supplement the vets well enough that this team would be good this year.

What happened? Well, it's pretty simple. Peck, who, if this team expected to compete, was going to be its best offensive and overall player, went down. Ski, the senior captain, suddenly forgot how to shoot for whatever reason (probably injury). So the two veterans we were counting on were basically gone. That left Ferry as the only shooting threat, but when he was alone teams eventually learned how to stop him.

What that leaves is basically a team of freshmen. OF COURSE they're gonna struggle, folks. It's beyond unrealistic to expect these guys to be consistent against more experienced teams.

As far as concrete issues with the team: obviously we're not so good on offense right now. We are quite good on defense. But the real issue is rebounding. If this team can secure the defensive boards, it can run. And when it runs its very hard to stop. If next year brings us some better rebounding (from an improved Eitan, Lamore, Giddens, and/or Bunce, Harmon), expect this team's offensive numbers to look WAY, WAY better.

Anonymous said...

We need some perspective here.

Consider the team last year: these guys had an awful run early in the year, and started the Ivy season on a major losing streak. They eventually turned it around and finished mid table behind some great play by Wroblewski and a newfound consistency from Peck.

After that run, we legitimately had some expectations coming into this season. We knew that the team would need to replace its big men, but we believed Eitan and Josh could do it. We believed that the freshman would supplement the vets well enough that this team would be good this year.

What happened? Well, it's pretty simple. Peck, who, if this team expected to compete, was going to be its best offensive and overall player, went down. Ski, the senior captain, suddenly forgot how to shoot for whatever reason (probably injury). So the two veterans we were counting on were basically gone. That left Ferry as the only shooting threat, but when he was alone teams eventually learned how to stop him.

What that leaves is basically a team of freshmen. OF COURSE they're gonna struggle, folks. It's beyond unrealistic to expect these guys to be consistent against more experienced teams.

As far as concrete issues with the team: obviously we're not so good on offense right now. We are quite good on defense. But the real issue is rebounding. If this team can secure the defensive boards, it can run. And when it runs its very hard to stop. If next year brings us some better rebounding (from an improved Eitan, Lamore, Giddens, and/or Bunce, Harmon), expect this team's offensive numbers to look WAY, WAY better.

Anonymous said...

Of course Ski is frustrated. Think of the burden the senior co-captains share. To not be surrounded by any "bigs". Does it make sense that Chris is the second leading rebounder on the team? His shot may be off which I gather is more frustrating for him than the fans, but he is the one keeping us in the games. Can't imagine what it's like for him to have played with the Sweet 16 team and not this.......

Anonymous said...

I think the team has a lot of potential. Looking forward to seeing these freshman play next year. It seems that they just need to feed the big guys down low to take the pressure off the guards. We need to get more points in the paint and finish better.

Anonymous said...

Would Coach Spiker consider Cornell a lateral move or a promotion from Army?

Anonymous said...

To the guys/gals on this thread that believe that Cornell and Columbia are equal in talent, you are completely fooling yourselves. Completely. The fact of the matter is that if you take Cornell's team and run them against Columbia in a pick up game, they would dominate. They are bigger, more athletic, more skillful (this doesn't just mean 3's), and most importantly, deeper, way deeper than the Columbia team we played last Saturday.

The variable involved is coaching. Read: No one is calling for BC to be on the hot seat! He should absolutely have 4-5 more years, this is not a BCS football team! What i'm calling for and what it sounds like some of the others are, is to have a better game plan. The sign of a great coach is one that is able to put their players in the proper position to excel. A lot of our young guys aren't knock out shooters, so we need to get out of that identity! These guys are straight up ballers, just like your average BCS program, so you need to use your assets.

Take Shonn for example, he's the most athletic player on the court with his size and length. Instead of having him take only 4 shots, most of which are 3's, why not get him in some face up situations in the short post (about 5-10 feet off the block) so that he can take a slower footed IVY league 4'man off the dribble to go strong to the rack or knock down a higher percentage shot if they play off him. Also, by having an athlete like him closer to the basket, this instantly increases our offensive rebounding prowess (guys like Cisco etc have to box him out, leaving others available to go after the ball). By having Miller out at the wing as the trail big, he's essentially useless offensively.

I'll give the coaches some credit, in the second half, they did apply some token full court pressure to Columbia's crappy guards, then ultimately tried an all out trap in the last few minutes. This actually worked a bit and caused a few turnovers. But why not say to yourself, look we have a deep team with a ton of long athletic guards, GC, JG, MAA, Cherry etc. Why not make the decision to give teams like Columbia 40 minutes of hell? Think back to our sweet sixteen mathcup against Kentucky. Play to your assets!

At the end of the day, things will continue to improve. BC is a great recruiter and for Donahue, it wasn't until Spiker came along that our offense had any identity. We love this team and will definitely back them/critique them through the thick and thin. But don't for one second think that this team is too young to make a mark, these kids are talented, just not the type of talent that we're accustomed to.

btw, Army to Cornell would be a move up for Spike. But its too early BC to be any where near a hot seat.

Anonymous said...

It might be too soon for BC to be on the hot seat. But what Coach D did over 10 years is establish a Cornell-style of basketball. That has completely disappeared under Courtney.

Cornell basketball has a system and a tradition because of Donahue and I think it's important that the system lives on even as coaches come and go.

Which means we need to have a pipeline of coaches (like Spiker) who know the system and can come in and keep a fluidity to our program. Similar to how Princeton has done it.

It's going to be terrible if we have to switch our system every 5 years as coaches leave.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Donahue did not have a system in his early years at Cornell.

In his first few seasons, Donahue experimented with several different offenses.

We ran a slow down Princeton-offense one season (2001-2002), then a high tempo fullcourt run offense by 2004.

It was not until Spiker was hired that we implemented the half court motion offense of John Belein (West Virginia). Spiker brought the system to Cornell. It was not something Donahue designed.

The offense also changed a bit with a tweek in 2010 when Alex Tyler came off the bench and Jon Jaques (a shooter) became the power forward.

Bill Courtney's offense relies on a lot of athleticism and to some degree, one-on-one play. It is the type of offense you typically see at the BCS level with high level athletes. Guys that can beat you off the dribble.

He wants to play up tempo, pressure defense, transition basketball.

He needs time to fill his system with his players.

In the meantime, the team is still playing hard and many of the players recruited by the last coaching staff are still playing major roles and will continue to do so.

Anonymous said...

Yup... he gets to waste two to three years until he has his "own" players ... burns... squanders potentially decent years. Last year was potentially decent and BC threw it away. It's not like BC didn't inherit anything he could do something with. Last year's team got an unfair rap. A win at Dartmouth or some free throws at Yale & they'd have found themselves in sole possession of 3rd place. Was decent free throw shooting and beating an otherwise winless Dartmouth really too much to ask? Really? He didn't inherit the talent to manage even that? His system requires SO much tweaking and SO many years of development that they can't shoot foul shots and beat Dartmouth? If he bothered to coach the people he had he could've accomplished something. Imagine if they had actually developed over the non-conf season last year instead of BC subbing like crazy unable to choose a rotation. He got a decent group and did a bad job.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

People made similar comments about Steve Donahue when he inherited Ray Mercedes (All Ivy) and Ka'ron Barnes (All Ivy). The team won 12 games his first two seasons.

When Donahue left, Cornell lost 8 seniors, including 3 First Team All Ivy guys.

There was some raw potential in the 2010-2011 team, but they were also inexperienced and it showed.

Anonymous said...

All of the problems BC is having is not totally due to his lack of coaching skill, there is also blame to be placed on Donahue for not having the interest in developing the players he obviously knew he would leave behind.