Monday, February 27, 2012

Game Recap: Cornell 40, Yale 71

Recaps from Saturday's game at Yale...

ITHACA — The Cornell University men's basketball team continued on its path to a .500 Ivy League finish this weekend, claiming a 69-63 win at Brown on Friday before suffering a 71-40 defeat at Yale the following night.

The Big Red (11-15 overall, 6-6 Ivy League) has already surpassed its win total from last year and matched its 2010-11 Ancient Eight wins mark, although will need a victory against either Dartmouth or Harvard at home this weekend to avoid finishing the year with a losing conference record.

On Friday, senior point guard Chris Wroblewski posted his third career double-double — 24 points and a career-high 11 rebounds — to lead four Big Red players in double figures and help Cornell secure a season sweep of Brown Friday.

Freshman Shonn Miller added 17 points, nine rebounds and two steals, and senior Drew Ferry scored 14 points and junior Johnathan Gray had 12.

On Saturday, Yale (19-7, 9-3) made sure it would not suffer the same fate as Brown, avenging a 85-84 overtime loss to the Big Red on Feb. 10 thanks to a strong start and some stifling defense. The Bulldogs scored the first eight points of the game, and after Cornell battled back to even the score at 16, went on a 16-2 run that led to a 37-24 advantage at the half.

Wroblewski was the lone Cornell played in double figures with 10 points.

NEW HAVEN — Senior Night couldn’t have gone any better for the Yale men’s basketball team.

Seniors Reggie Willhite, Greg Mangano, Rhett Anderson and Brian Katz all took their bows before the game. The Bulldogs then went out hammered Cornell 71-40 in perhaps their best performance of the season at the Lee Amphitheater Saturday night.

Add in the fact that Pennsylvania upset Harvard 55-54, the Bulldogs (19-7, 9-3) will head into the final weekend of Ivy League play with their hopes for a title still alive.

Mangano led Yale with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Jesse Pritchard added 13. Willhite did just about everything else. He scored eight points, grabbed nine rebounds, had eight assists and chipped in with four steals to tie the school record (59) for thefts in a season.

“I couldn’t think of a much better way to go out,” Mangano said. “It was a real good crowd and we got great contributions from everybody. Even Rhett Anderson got a chance to play and he did real well. We played real well as a team and when we do that we’re tough to beat.

“There’s two more games left and we want to be playing postseason somewhere so there’s still work to do.”

Yale finishes the home portion of its campaign with an 11-1 mark, its best home record since 1990. The Bulldogs need one more win to record 20 victories for the sixth time in school history.

Yale coach James Jones feels that resume is already postseason-worthy.

“I think we should be in the postseason somewhere right now,” he said. “Our body of work has been very good, and to have the opportunity to win over 20 games is really quite special for this institution.”

Even Anderson, the lightly-used center, scored two points. About the only blemish on the night for Jones was the fact that Katz couldn’t play.

“I’m saddened by the fact that Brian had double retina surgery and couldn’t be a part of what was on the floor,” Jones said. “That’s something you want to think about.”

The Bulldogs never trailed. They scored the first eight points of the half and took a 37-24 lead into the break. They were even more relentless in the second half shutting down the Big Red all night long on the defensive end of the court. Cornell (11-15, 6-6) shot just 23 percent from the floor.

Yale wraps up the regular season on the road next weekend with games at Princeton and Penn. The Bulldogs are currently a game behind league-leading Harvard and half-game behind the Quakers.

Jones reflected on what Mangano and Willhite have meant to the Bulldogs.

“They are without a doubt among the best I’ve ever had,” he said. “They’re play and they’re professionalism, they’re a great group to have around. They work hard and when the lights come on they’re always ready to play.

“Reggie does everything for us … obviously what Greg has done goes without saying. He’s a double-double waiting to happen. I’m happy to have them and I’m not sure what I’m going to do next year without them.”

The Bulldogs played one of their best all-around games of the season on Senior Night and cruised to a 71-40 victory over Cornell before a crowd of 1,675 at the John J. Lee Amphitheater in New Haven.

Yale's three seniors who dressed for the game all contributed. Greg Mangano scored 16 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and had three blocks; Reggie Willhite had eight points, nine rebounds, eight assists and four steals; and Rhett Anderson had two points and one rebound. Senior Brian Katz has been out for virtually the entire season with an injury but was still recognized before the game.

"I couldn't think of a better way to go out," said Mangano, who posted his 13th double-double of the season. "We got great contributions from everybody. We played really well as a team."

Willhite's four steals give him 59 for the season, which ties Alex Zampier's school record set in 2009-10.

After struggling away from Newman Arena all year, the Cornell men’s basketball team concluded its road schedule this weekend, splitting its games against Brown and Yale. The Red beat Brown (8-21, 2-10 Ivy League) on Friday, 69-63, before falling to Yale (19-7, 9-3) in a blowout on Saturday, 71-40. Cornell (11-15, 6-6) finished its road schedule with just two wins in 15 tries.

The Red has emphasized starting games with a lot of energy, and against Brown, Cornell did just that — getting off to a hot start and establishing a large lead that the team never relinquished.

“We got off to a great start,” said senior guard and co-captain Chris Wroblewski. “We really jumped on them early, which is something coach Courtney tries to emphasize to us every week. We got up 16 at one point, [and] because we’ve been put in that position at times this year, [we know] it’s a tough hole to get out of and we created a bit of a cushion for ourselves.”

After just 10 minutes, the Red was up, 26-10, mainly due to a play by freshman forward Shonn Miller. He scored nine points during the sequence and 15 of his 17 points in the first half. The rookie also grabbed nine rebounds.

“[Miller] was the reason for most of the points in the first half and during that run [when we built the lead],” said senior guard and co-captain Drew Ferry. “He provides great energy for us and he’s a dynamic player. He can post smaller guys up and he can take bigger guys to the basket because he’s quick. He’s just a great player.”

The Red went into the half with the lead, 42-31, and never slowed down to start the second half. Cornell increased its lead to 17 points; however, Brown countered by calling forward Dockery Walker off the bench. Walker, who averages only five points and four rebounds a game, went wild against the Red, putting up career-highs in points (23) and rebounds (17), as he almost single-handedly kept the Bears in the game.

“We got off to a great start in the second half as well … then they put Walker back in the game and that’s when they made their run,” Wroblewski said. “All the credit to him; he had career highs in both points and rebounds. If I had a game like that, I’d be overjoyed and I hope he is too for his outstanding performance.”

Despite Brown’s late run, the Red coasted to victory, winning 69-63. Wroblewski helped the Red by recording 24 points on 56-percent shooting, which included a game-high 11 rebounds.

“[Wroblewski] is very aggressive going to the glass,” Ferry said. “He’s one of our leading rebounders and it’s no accident. He works really hard pursuing balls and he’s a very aggressive player, offensively and defensively, and the stat line shows the effort he has put in all year.”

The Red provided a strong effort when it came to shutting down Brown’s star point guard Sean McGonagill, who leads the team in minutes played, scoring and assists. He missed all eight of his shots from the field and scored just two from the charity stripe, which led to four turnovers.

“[McGonagill] played phenomenal against us last year, so we just threw a lot of different guys at him just to wear him down,” Wroblewski said. “We pressed the entire game, and luckily, he didn’t hit some of the shots he’s used to hitting, so in that regard we got a little lucky, but all the credit to the guys who defended him, like [junior guard] Miles Asafo-Adjei and [freshman guard] Galal Cancer.”

The Red struggled against Yale, shooting only 22 percent from the field. The Bulldogs opened the game with an 8-0 run. Cornell responded quickly with a 16-8 run to tie the game, 16-16. At this point, the Red started to lose its grip on the game, as the squad struggled to buy a bucket and Yale seemed unable to miss. The Bulldogs led the Red at half, 37-24.

“Sometimes the ball just doesn’t go into the hoop,” Wroblewski said. “It was Senior Night, so I think their guys came out with a lot more energy than us and they hit their shots. When one team is hitting all their shots and the other team just isn’t, the game will be played out like it did and it was a very embarrassing game for all of us.”

“We definitely were getting good looks — I know personally that I had good looks — but shots that we made [against Brown], we didn’t make [against Yale],” Ferry said. “We have to be able to overcome a few missed shots and regain our confidence and knock them down and we just weren’t able to do that. Yale did play good defense, but for the most part, we got good looks we just couldn’t knock them in.”

The story did not change much in the second half, as Yale cruised to an easy victory, 71-40. No Cornell player scored more than two field goals and only Wroblewski scored more than five points.

Despite the deflating loss, the Red looks to use this weekend’s blowout as motivation for its last two games of the season, according to Ferry.

“It’s tough to see positives when you lose in a 30-point game like that and play as poor as we did,” Ferry sad. “But, I think it could motivate us for this last week to come out and work extremely hard this week in practice and come out and get two wins this weekend.”

Box Score

Box Score (PDF)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The Yale defense stepped up on Senior Day at the John J. Lee Amphitheater, limiting Cornell to 23 percent shooting overall and 18 percent from 3-point range in a 71-40 victory over the Big Red on Saturday evening. The loss dropped Cornell to 11-15 (6-6) Ivy, while the Bulldogs avenged a loss to the Big Red earlier this season in improving to 19-7 (9-3 Ivy).

Chris Wroblewski was the lone Cornellian in double figures with 10 points to go along with four rebounds and four assists. No other Big Red player scored more than five points. Freshman Shonn Miller hit for five points and chipped in eight rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals. Eitan Chemerinski had seven rebounds, including six offensive boards for the second straight night.

Playing in his final regular season home game, Greg Mangano posted 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots, while Reggie Willhite nearly posted a triple-double with eight points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Jesse Pritchard (13 points) and Austin Morgan (11 points) were also in double figures.

Yale jumped out to an 8-0 lead and looked like it would blow the game open early, but Cornell battled back, evening the score at 16-16 nine minutes in on a basket by freshman Deion Giddens. Five straight points by Johnathan Gray, including a 3-pointer, highlighted the 16-8 Big red run. Cornell tied the contest at 18-18 on a layup by Dwight Tarwater with 8:24 left in the half, but that triggered a Yale run. Jesse Pritchard's 3-pointer helped the home team explode on a 16-2 run that included three other triples (two by Morgan, one by Mangano) and a dunk by Brandon Sherrod that forced a Big Red timeout with two minutes left in the first half. Wroblewski broke the team's seven-minute scoring drought with two free throws, but Pritchard nailed another trey for Yale. Wroblewski's two free throws with under a minute to play sent the visitors into the break still trailing 37-24.

After shooting just 26 percent in the first half, Cornell would have figured to turn the numbers around in the second half, but it only got worse. Yale scored the first six points after halftime to quickly extend the lead to 19, The Big Red made only three baskets in the first 13 and a half minutes coming out of the locker room and saw the Bulldogs' lead get out to as many as 24 with five minutes to play before both teams emptied their benches. The Bulldogs scored the final 10 points of the game and held the Big Red scoreless for the final 4:19 to run out with the easy victory.

Cornell will close ou tthe 2011-12 season at home against Dartmouth on Friday, March 2 at 7 p.m. at Newman Arena, then will welcome Harvard on Saturday, March 3 at 7 p.m. for Senior Day.

Yale’s seniors have played a combined 300 games in their college careers, but they found a way to make their final homestand stand out this weekend.

The Bulldogs (19-7, 9-3 Ivy) prevailed against Columbia (14-14, 3-9 Ivy) 75-67 on Friday night and followed it up by demolishing Cornell (11-15, 6-6 Ivy) 71-40 on Senior Night Saturday. Forward Greg Mangano ’12 said that the 31-point victory was a satisfying home finale.

“I couldn’t think of a much better way to go out,” Mangano said. “[There was a] really good crowd and great contributions from everybody … We just played really well as a team.”

The four seniors — forward Rhett Anderson ’12, guard Brian Katz ’12, forward Greg Mangano ’12 and forward Reggie Willhite ’12 — were honored in a pre-game ceremony. Then they led the team to its most lopsided victory of the year in Ancient Eight play.

Mangano led a balanced scoring effort with 16 points in addition to 10 rebounds. Willhite scored eight points to go along with nine rebounds, eight assists and four steals.

“[Willhite’s] superman,” head coach James Jones said. “I’m going to get him a cape. He does everything for us.”

Willhite also contributed heavily to Friday’s victory, scoring 20 points while pulling down eight rebounds and dishing out six assists. Mangano scored a game-high 22 points on Friday. Guard Austin Morgan ‘13 had 14 and 11 points, respectively, but the weekend was a team effort.

On Friday night it was forward Brandon Sherrod ’15 who stepped up for the Elis. He also tied his career-high by scoring 10 points — eight in the second half — to hold off the Lions. He entered the weekend shooting just 58.6 percent from the free-throw line, but he knocked down six of nine from the charity stripe to preserve the victory. He said that his success was a result of his extra work.

“It was a lot of work in practice,” Sherrod said. “I try to shoot free throws after every practice.”

On, Saturday guard Jesse Pritchard ’14 answered the call for the Bulldogs. He hit all three of his attempts from beyond the arc on the way to a career-high 13 points along with two steals. He tied a career-high with four assists on Friday without turning the ball over once. Willhite said that the team plays its best when the offense is balanced.

“When we move the ball we can be a very, very good team,” Willhite said. “It’s not always about scoring, it’s about making the right play. When we give the ball up to the open man we get good shots.”

The homestand sweep gave the Bulldogs an 11-1 home record this season. Jones attributed part of this success to the crowd. He added that the players feed off of the energy of the fans at the Lee Amphitheater.

Jones said that he did have one regret about the weekend, though: He wished that Katz — who has been limited to two games this season after having double retina surgery — could have dressed for senior night.

“I’m saddened by the fact that one of our seniors, Brian Katz … couldn’t be a part of the game on the floor,” Jones said. “That’s something you want to think about and have a memory. Certainly Greg and Rhett and Reggie are going to have a memory about that going forward.”

The Elis will travel to Princeton March 2 for the final weekend of the regular season.

Box Score

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – It would have been hard to script a more perfect Senior Night. The Bulldogs played one of their best all-around games of the season and cruised to a surprisingly easy 71-40 victory over Cornell before a crowd of 1,675 at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

And the three seniors who dressed all played a role. Greg Mangano scored 16 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and had three blocks, Reggie Willhite had eight points, nine rebounds, eight assists and four steals, and Rhett Anderson contributed two points and one rebound.

Brian Katz has been out for virtually the entire season with an injury but was still recognized before the game.

"I couldn't think of a better way to go out," said Mangano, who posted his 13th double-double of the season. "We got great contributions from everybody. We played really well as a team."

Willhite's four steals give him 59 for the season, which ties Alex Zampier's school record set in 2009-10.

Willhite's versatility was never more evident than in this weekend's sweep of Columbia and Cornell. In the two games, he averaged 14 points and 8.5 rebounds while adding 14 assists and six steals.

"It's not about scoring, it's about making the right play," Willhite said. "When we move the ball, we are a really good team."

The news only got better for the Bulldogs (19-7, 9-3 Ivy) shortly after the final buzzer. Penn knocked off Harvard 55-54, so Yale moved within a game of the first place Crimson (10-2). The Quakers (9-2) are just a half-game in back of Harvard.

The Bulldogs close out the regular season next weekend at Princeton on Friday and at Penn on Saturday. Harvard travels to Columbia on Friday and Cornell on Saturday, while the Quakers host Brown and Yale before ending the season at Princeton on Mar. 6.

The Bulldogs seized control with a 16-2 run late in the first half that was capped by a Brandon Sherrod dunk off a nifty feed from Sam Martin.

Cornell (11-15, 6-6 Ivy) never got closer than 14 in the second half.

Yale shot 47.4 percent from the field and held the Big Red to only 22.6 percent (14-of-62).

The Bulldogs finished their home schedule with an 11-1 record, their best mark in Lee Amphitheater since the 1989-90 team also went 11-1.

"We have a great atmosphere," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball. "It's an intimidating place to play, and we really feed off the crowd."

In all, 11 of the 15 players that dressed scored. Jesse Pritchard scored a career-high 13 points. He was 5-of-6 from the field.

"Jesse is getting comfortable," Jones said. "He started the season playing behind Reggie so there weren't many minutes [available]. We changed the lineup, and he's gotten the chance and has taken advantage."

Still, it was a night about the seniors, who have helped Yale to 69 victories during their careers.

"They've worked hard every day," Jones said.

The Bulldogs' 19 overall victories are the most since the 2001-02 team won 21. A victory next weekend would give Yale 20 wins for only the sixth time in school history.

NOTES: The win was the 100th Ivy League victory for Jones at Yale… He is only the fifth coach in league history to reach the marl… The victory earned Yale a spilt of the season series with the Big Red. Cornell edged the Bulldogs 85-84 in overtime two weeks ago in Ithaca… Yale has now won nine of the last 11 meetings with Cornell in Lee Amphitheater… The Big Red is 9-2 in Ithaca and just 2-13 on the road… Yale's bench outscored Cornell's 16-13… The Bulldogs turned 13 Cornell turnovers into 22 points. Yale had 11 turnovers, but they led to just four points for the Big Red.


Anonymous said...

Cornell will not be the Ivy League champion in men's basketball for the 2011-12 season. But the Big Red can still make a statement which would be heard on all seven of the other campuses. Beating Harvard on Senior Night would vindicate this team and send a warning shot for next year.

There's something about the long bus ride to and from Ithaca. We can't win on the road but we sure can defend Newman.

The off-season will feel a whole lot different if we beat Harvard on Saturday night.

Anonymous said...

Good luck with that.

q'nis said...

We have nothing to lose and Harvard has everything to lose. We need to come out shooting threes and shooting them at a high clip. That's certainly possible at home. If we are close at half, it's anyone's game.

From just looking at box scores, it seems like Amaker has had an inconsistent(and thin) rotation lately. That can really hurt a team at this point in the season, especially one supposedly with a lot of depth.

Anonymous said...

I'm in agreement with Anon 10:40. With Penn's upset on Saturday, Cornell's season is still relevant. Even though the team will finish below .500, they have illustrated the ability to close out close games and should relish the opportunity to play the role of spoiler on March 3.

Harvard has shown throughout the course of the season that they're far from infallible. Their loss to UConn looks worse with each passing week, and the loss to Fordham showed a team content to rest on its laurels. If they don't play well down the stretch, they can forget the NCAAs.

It would be a fitting tribute to Wrobo's contributions over the last four years to see the mighty Crimson fall. Will you be there? I will.

Anonymous said...

Cornell is good at home in Ithaca and under normal circumstances might have a good shot at upsetting Harvard. But I think Harvard will be playing for the Ivy championship and auto bid to the NCAA March tournament. Knowing this, they will be going all out. Tommy Amaker will make every move he can. If Harvard loses, it would be such a devasting blow to Harvard's program that I'm not sure that would recover next year. Therefore a MUST win for the Crimson.

Anonymous said...

Well, if all of the three's are not falling and if we truly want to beat Harvard, then Coach C better start working on some offensive plays because so far this season, I have not seen anything other than the run n gun offense.

I for one am not hopeful but hey, anything is possible.

Anonymous said...

Saturday night's game against Harvard will be broadcast on ESPN3. For those who might not follow network schedules all that carefully, Harvard is 1-3 this season on the ESPN family of networks, having beaten Coach D and BC on ESPN3, but lost to UConn on ESPN2, Princeton on ESPNU and Penn on ESPN3.

Harvard can't stand the heat on the worldwide leader in sports.

Anonymous said...

I can't understand why coach Courtney does not play the freshman David LaMore.
He is by far the best low post player Cornell has.
We could have used him a lot more all season.
Does not make any sense at all to sit him.
Is he healthy?

Anonymous said...

lamore is not the best post player. not saying he couldnt be but the freshman confidence is low and so he doesnt have a lot of moves. Eitan has a ton of moves but needs to slow down. Figini isnt really a post player but can spread it out. LaMore's time will come but the freakout is not necessary.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Lamore may not be the best post player but he definitely could have helped during the year and perhaps gained confidence going into next year.

I nothing else, I am sure he would have rebounded.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Don't be so quick to dismiss young big men, including Lamore.

Lamore happens to be a strong and fairly skilled player who will develop in a top tier Ivy big man.

There was another freshman big man in our League not to long ago who averaged just 2.1 ppg and 1.9 rpg as a rookie while shooting 42% from the floor.

Do you know who I am talking about?

As a sophomore, this big man improved, but was still a work in progress. His numbers were 7.5, 5.5 and 40% FGs.

By the time he was a senior, he was an NBA prospect. His name?

Greg Mangano.

Anonymous said...

I am not discounting Lamore. I believe that he could have helped during the season. He could have been a big defensive presence and his offense would have come from that. I think that he should have been a part of the rotation more toward the beginning of the season.

My concern now is the fact that everyone else is discounting him and placing Bunce in the starting lineup next year and if he will not be ready.

CBB where do you see Lamore next season?

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Big men improve tremendously from frosh to soph years, more so than the guards.

I think we see a healthy competition for time in the post between Bunce, Lamore and Giddens.

I think we've seen the last of Eitan and Josh at center. With Giddens and Lamore as experienced sophs, I am expecting Bill Courtney to slide Eitan and Josh to the power forward spots where they will compete with Holt Harmon and Shonn Miller for minutes.