Saturday, February 18, 2012

Game Recap: Cornell 66, Penn 73

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Zack Rosen scored 11 of his 25 points during a late burst as the University of Pennsylvania outlasted Cornell, 73-66, in Ivy League men's basketball Friday night to sweep the season series.

Miles Cartwright added 22 points for the Quakers (14-11, 6-2 Ivy League), who have won three of their last four.

With the Big Red ahead, 59-55, with 4:33 left, Rosen made a 3-pointer followed by two free throws to lead 60-59. Chris Wroblewski's trey pushed Cornell (10-13, 5-4) back on top, then Rosen knocked down two consecutive 3s for a 66-62 advantage with 1:13 left.

After two free throws by Wroblewski, Cartwright answered with a 3 and Rosen and Cartwright sealed it with two foul shots apiece.

Rosen was 5 of 10 from deep as the Quakers hit 12 of 22 treys. He also had six assists, five rebounds and three steals.

Drew Ferry's 17 points led Cornell, which lost to Penn, 64-52, on Jan. 14.

Box Score (PDF)

PHILADELPHIA, Pa.. -- Senior guard Zack Rosen scored 25 points and was lights out over the game's final four minutes to lead Penn to a 73-66 victory over Cornell on Friday evening at The Palestra. The Quakers improved to 14-11 (6-2 Ivy), while the Big Red slipped to 10-13 (5-4 Ivy).

Rosen scored or assisted on 23 consecutive points for the Quakers before Miles Cartwright hit two free throws with 11 seconds to play to ice the win. Rosen hit two NBA-range 3-pointers in the final four minutes and assisted on a trey by Cartwright his fifth of the game on six tries, that gave the home team a 69-64 lead with less than 30 seconds to play.

Rosen added six assists, five rebounds and three steals to his game-high 25 points. Cartwright was right behind with 22 points, making 7-of-10 field goals overall. Tyler Bernardini chipped in nine points off the bench. Penn shot 50 percent from the floor as a team and made 12-of-22 from 3-point range (55 percent) against the Ivy League's stingiest defense in running teams off the line.

Drew Ferry snapped a shooting slump with 17 points and added six rebounds for the Big Red, while Johnathan Gray had 15 points five rebounds and four assists. Chris Wroblewski was the team's third double figure scorer with 14 points. He also had three rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals. Cornell made 8-of-18 from beyond the arc and outrebounded the Quakers 29-25.

Rosen's final four minutes helped Penn overcome a four-point deficit after some fancy passing on the break led to a Shonn Miller dunk with 4:33 to play to force a Quaker timeout. The Big Red's 59-55 lead wouldn't last long, as Rosen pulled up from 30 feet and drained a 3-pointer to get back within one. Then, Rosen collected a steal and was fouled. He hit both shots to put Penn back in the lead with three and a half minutes to play.

On the ensuing possession, the Big Red took its final lead of the contest when Wroblewski hit a 3-pointer after Rosen slipped, leaving his senior counterpart wide open on the left wing. Rosen was undaunted, hitting an even deeper trey to put Penn up 63-62 with under three minutes remaining.

Another Rosen steal and a third trey by the Quaker guard pushed the lead to 66-62 with 1:13 remaining. Wroblewski drew contact on a drive and hit both free throws to cut the four-point deficit in half. That put Rosen in a position to be a creator, finding Cartwright in the right corner for an open 3-pointer while exhausting all of the shot clock, giving Penn a 69-64 edge with under 30 seconds to play. Wroblewski missed a trey of his own from the top of the key and Penn rebounded, then knocked in four free throws late. When it was all said and done, Rosen tallied 13 points, two steals and an assist in the final four minutes.

Turnovers were the story of the first half, as the Big Red gave the ball up 10 times in the first 20 minutes. Ferry scored 11 points, but Penn's Catwright outdid him with 14 points of his own. Gray added eight points and four rebounds for the Big Red, which shot just 42 percent from the floor as a team. Penn hit on 50 percent of its shots despite missing several layups.

Cornell led by as many as six points in the second half on an offensive rebound and putback by Eitan Chemerinski, who ended the night with seven points. He also scored on a conventional three-point play moments earlier. The game featured 10 ties and 11 lead changes, most coming during the middle 10 minutes of the second half. The Big Red looked as though it had claimed momentum during a 23 second span that featued a pair of Chemerinski free throws, followed by a defensive stop and fastbreak dunk for Miller. Unfortunately for the visitors, that just set up Rosen's heroics.

The Big Red returns to action tomorrow at 6 p.m. when it faces Princeton at Jadwin Gymnasium.

Penn coach Jerome Allen doesn't want to make a habit out of relying on Zack Rosen to pull the Quakers out of tough situations. But in a quiet moment, even he must admit it was fun watching his senior leader doing it successfully Friday night.

Rosen scored 13 of his game-high 25 points in the final 3 minutes, 56 seconds and assisted on Miles Cartwright's game-clinching three-point basket with 29.3 seconds remaining, leading the Quakers to a 73-66 victory over Cornell at the Palestra.

The win enabled Penn (14-11 overall, 6-2 Ivy League) to remain within 11/2 games of Harvard in the standings. But the Quakers would not have gotten to that point without Rosen, who knocked down three from beyond the arc down the stretch, two of them in the 26- to 28-foot range.

Asked about his range, Rosen quipped, "The building," and laughed.

Turning serious, he added, "I don't know. I practice it, and I work at it. Coach trusts me, and luckily tonight they went in."

Allen, however, did not want the game to get to that point. Cornell's offensive rebounding was a problem, taking the Big Red from a seven-point deficit to a six-point lead in the second half. The visitors shot 48 percent in the final 20 minutes and kept it close to the end even though the Quakers shot 50 percent in the game and 54.5 percent from three.

"As much as I like [Rosen], I don't want to rely on his heroics to win basketball games," he said. "I know he's capable of making tough shots. I'm not saying the game shouldn't be that close, but we just put ourselves in a position where we've got work extremely hard to get the results that we want."

The Big Red (10-13, 5-4) took control with a 19-6 run through a 51/2-minute stretch of the second half, including a five-point possession after Penn sophomore Cameron Gunter was called for a flagrant foul for landing an elbow above the shoulders of Cornell's Shonn Miller. Johnathan Gray hit two free throws and Eitan Chemerinski converted a three-point play.

Down by six, 49-43, the Quakers answered with a 9-0 run with Rosen contributing two short jumpers and an assist on a three-ball with 8:56 left by Tyler Bernardini, who did not start because of a foot injury but gutted out 22 minutes.

Cornell put together a 7-0 spurt a short time later to regain the lead at 59-55. That's when Rosen went to work.

He hit a deep three and two free throws to give Penn a brief lead. After Chris Wroblewski drained a three-ball for the Big Red, Rosen cranked one in from Franklin Field to put the Quakers in front for good with 2:48 to play.

"I couldn't believe he took that shot," Cornell coach Bill Courtney said. "That was unbelievable. How do you defend that? Some of the plays he made tonight were terrific."

The Quakers got two defensive stops and Rosen drilled yet another trey. Wroblewski's two free throws got the Big Red to within two with 1:04 left, but Rosen broke out of a double team as the shot clock ticked down and found Cartwright in the right corner for the decisive three-ball.

Zack Rosen scored 25 points and Miles Cartwright added 22 to lead the Penn Quakers (14-11, 6-2 Ivy) over the Cornell Big Red (10-13, 5-4 Ivy) 73-66 in an Ivy League thriller.

The game started out back and forth. Miles Cartwright scored six points early to give Penn a 6-4 lead with around 16:28 left in the first half. However, missed layups and turnovers plagued the Quakers early. Both teams shared three pointers, and traveling violations for the next five minutes.

Both teams failed to make stops, as Penn led Cornell 27-23 with five minutes left in the half. It went back and forth for the rest of the half, and a Miles Cartwright buzzer beater gave Penn a 35-29 lead at the break.

Cartwright led all scorers with 14 points, and Cornell guard Drew Ferry had 11 points.

The half was clearly controlled by Penn. The Quakers shot 5/8 from beyond the arc. Zack Rosen and Miles Cartwright controlled the tempo, and ran fundamentally sound half court offense. However, there were too many turnovers, for the Quakers and Cornell. Too many traveling violations, charges, and errant passes. The 17 total turnovers plagued both teams in the first half.

Cornell jumped out to an 13-7 run to tie the game at 42 minutes. The Big Red continued their momentum behind Drew Ferry and Jonathan Gray, who had a combined eight points in the first seven minutes of the second half. Cornell improved their lead to six points after a layup.

Fran Dougherty and Zack Rosen scored back-to-back layups cutting Cornell's lead to two points. A missed three pointer and a pair of missed foul shots doomed Cornell in their next two possessions. Rosen ended up tying the game at 49 apiece with a short jumper. Tyler Bernardini then struck gold, with a massive three pointer that put the Palestra crowd on it's feet. Penn was leading 52-49.

A Wroblewski layup finally ended the Quakers run. However, Miles Cartwright hit his fourth three pointer of the game, giving Penn a 55-52 lead with six minutes to play. Drew Ferry tied the ballgame at 55 with a banked-in three. Shonn Miller slammed it home in transition to give Cornell a little 7-0 run and take the lead 59-55 with 4:20 remaining.

Rosen nailed a three with 3:50 left, and Shonn Miller picked up his third foul after Rosen stole a pass. Rosen made the foul shots, but a NBA three pointer by Cornell guard Chris Wroblewski gave the Big Red the lead.

As usual, the other senior guard answered. Rosen made an "even longer" three to answer Wroblewski's with 1:50 to play.

Then, Rosen made one of the biggest three pointers of the season. Rosen's three gave the Quakers a 66-52 lead with a minute to play. He had 11 straight points for Penn down the stretch.

Wroblewski also made a pair of free throws.

Can you guess what happened next? Yet another three. This time by Miles Cartwright, his career-high fifth of the game. That sealed the deal for the Quakers, as they defeated the Big Red 73-66 in a thrilling game.

After the game, Coach Allen was content with the victory. "We put ourselves in an extremely hard position to win the game."

Concerning Cartwright's play, Zack Rosen said "Miles is the reason we won the game. Didn't defend at all. Miles helped us out. We need to come back tomorrow night with more urgency, more focus, better execution."

Rosen nailed numerous NBA range three pointers in the victory over Cornell. When asked what he thought after his first three to give Penn a four point lead, Rosen said "Thank God. I practice and work at those threes, and Coach [Allen] trusts me."

On the other side of the ball, Cornell head coach Bill Courtney wasn't shocked by Rosen's 25 point night. "Well, I'm glad I don't have to coach against him again. He was tremendous. I couldn't believe he took that shot."

Rosen scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half, "We did a good job defending him for 36 minutes. He's so crafty with the ball."

The Quakers take on Columbia tomorrow. Coach Allen said that his team needs to get more stops, and rebound better. "We need to finish our defensive possesions. You win a basketball game by making stops and scoring. That's it. We had too many careless turnovers."

Tyler Bernardini played only 22 minutes, and did not start. "Tyler has had health issues. He toughed it out tonight. I applaud him for that.

For Rosen, "This Is It." The senior has only a handful of games left with the Quakers, and would like to finish with an Ivy League title.

Cornell visits Princeton tomorrow night.

Shortly after Friday’s critical Ivy League game against Cornell ended, Zack Rosen was asked what his range is.

Normally subdued in postgame press conferences, the Penn senior point guard fired off a quick retort

“The building,” he said with a smile.

He was joking. Or was he?

With the Quakers facing a stiff challenge from Cornell in a game they desperately needed to win, Rosen buried three huge three-pointers in the final four minutes -- two of them from way downtown -- to send the Quakers to a hard-fought 73-66 Ivy League victory at the Palestra on Friday night.

The win allows Penn (14-11 overall, 6-2 Ivy) to remain a game-and-a-half behind Harvard in the loss column in the race for the Ivy League championship and coveted NCAA tournament berth. And if it wasn’t apparent already, Friday’s game showed just how much Rosen wants to get a taste of the postseason before he graduates.

Afterwards, Cornell head coach Bill Courtney said he’s never seen a player with Rosen's range. The Penn senior finished with a game-high 25 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals.

“I couldn’t believe he took those shots,” Courtney said. “That was unbelievable. How do you defend that? And he was the focal point for us because he torched us up in Ithaca. We tried to do our best. We did a good job for 36 minutes. But in the last four minutes he made a lot of winning plays. He’s the best player in the league.”

Minutes earlier, when Cornell’s Shonn Miller finished off a transition dunk to give the Big Red a 59-55 lead with 4:33 remaining, Courtney was feeling confident. He watched his team first go on a 19-6 run early in the second half to take a six-point lead and then counter with another spurt to go back up by four after a Tyler Bernardini three-pointer put the Quakers ahead 52-49.

“We had a lot of momentum at that moment,” the Cornell coach said. “But Zack decided to take over after that.”

Rosen’s first trey, which came with just under four minutes left, pulled the Quakers to within one at 59-58. That one was very long.

The senior point guard then got a steal, got fouled and sunk two free throws to put Penn up 60-59. Cornell sharpshooter Chris Wroblewski countered with a three-pointer of his own to put the Big Red back up, 62-60, but that lead would be short-lived as Rosen hit back-to-back three pointers – including maybe his deepest one of the night – to put the Quakers back up 66-62 with just over one minute to play.

“We had our backs against the wall,” Rosen said. “We made plays down the stretch. But we put ourselves in the position we don’t need to put ourselves in. Hopefully we can correct that.”

After a pair of Wroblewski free throws drew the Big Red to within 66-64, Rosen dribbled around the perimeter and found an open Miles Cartwright, who buried his fifth -- and biggest -- three-pointer of the night.

Rosen, who had 13 points, one steal and one assist in the final four minutes, iced the game with a pair of free throws.

“I have the most confidence in him,” Cartwright said. “He’s really showed what he can do late in games. We kind of look to him in late-game situations to carry us and make plays.”

Without a big night from Cartwright, though, the Quakers may not have even have been close enough to win in the final minutes. The Penn sophomore guard had one of his best games of the season, scoring 22 points on 7 for 10 shooting and 5 for 6 shooting from three-point range.

Cartwright poured in 14 of those points in the first half, capped by a slicing drive and layup just before time expired that gave Penn a 35-29 halftime lead. His performance was especially vital with Bernardini -- Penn’s second leading scorer -- hobbled with a foot injury. Bernardini finished with nine points but didn’t start and played just 22 minutes.

No one else on the Quakers scored in double figures.

“He’s why we won the game,” Rosen said of Cartwright. “We didn’t defend like we need to. We didn’t defend like we practice. We didn’t defend like we’re supposed to do. Miles stepped up and bailed us out.”

To be fair, the Penn defense did force 16 Cornell turnovers. But the Big Red (10-13, 5-4) -- who were led by Drew Ferry (17 points), Johnathan Gray (15 points) and Wroblewski (14 points) -- executed their offense well when they took care of the ball, shooting 45 percent for the game and 48 percent in the second half. They also outrebounded Penn by a 29-25 margin, which didn’t sit well with Penn head coach Jerome Allen, who would have preferred a more comfortable victory.

“As much as I like them, I don’t want to rely on [Rosen’s] heroics to win basketball games,” Allen said. “I know he’s capable of making tough shots, but I think sometimes we put ourselves in this position where we’ve got to work extremely hard to get the results we want. If we just keep it simple and stress details, maybe that’s not the situation.”

The Quakers, who likely need to win their final six Ivy games to have a shot at the NCAA tourney, will get an immediate chance to put together a better all-around performance when they host Columbia (14-11, 3-6) on Saturday night at the Palestra.

Courtney is thankful he won’t be there for that. He’s seen enough of Rosen in his two years on the job.

“I’m glad," the Cornell coach said, "I don’t have to coach against him anymore."

Basketball is a game of runs, but not in the same sense as is baseball.

Tonight’s matchup between Penn and Cornell at the Palestra showed that to be true in spades, as the Quakers dispatched the Big Red, 73-66.

Penn (14-11, 6-2 Ivy) started off hot against Cornell (10-13, 5-4), producing a first half resplendent with crisp offensive movement and a lot of made threes.

After halftime was a different story, as Cornell stormed back — largely thanks to star point guard Chris Wroblewski — to take the lead about midway through the second half.

With just under nine minutes left, the teams were tied at 49. And then Tyler Bernardini hit a three to take the lead, completing a 9-0 Quakers run.

But that was just the beginning.

The last five minutes saw lead change after lead change, with each respective fan group rising and falling with the arc of the basketball — generally a shot from three point range.

In the end, it was the Quakers fans who had reason to celebrate, seeing the game effectively put away as Zack Rosen and Miles Cartwright hit huge three pointers back to back.

Rosen finished the game with 25 points to lead all scorers, followed by Cartwright’s 22.

The Quakers will face Columbia tomorrow night at the Palestra, as they look to keep their vie for the league title alive.

Penn trailed by four with under five minutes to go, in danger of falling two games back in the Ivy League race with just a few games to play, in danger of not giving Quaker phenom Zack Rosen a chance to play in his only NCAA tournament.

Rosen wasn’t about to let that happen. Not on his home court. Not tonight.

The senior scored 13 points in the final four minutes to keep Penn’s season alive, as the Quakers (14-11, 6-2 Ivy) came from behind and swept the Cornell Big Red (10-13, 5-4 Ivy), 73-66, on Friday at the Palestra.

Penn had a lead as large as seven just 37 seconds after halftime, but Cornell went on a 18-6 run to lead 49-43 with 12:35 remaining. A Cameron Gunter offensive foul and subsequent technical foul ended up as a five-point swing in the Big Red’s favor, but the Quakers had a little fight in them.

Penn scored the next 10 points, starting with a Fran Dougherty layup and capped off by a Bernardini 3-pointer in transition that put Penn back in front, and it looked like the Quakers would cruise to a victory, but it wouldn’t be that easy.

Chris Wroblewski (14 points, three assists) found Shonn Miller off a Bernardini miss and the freshman slammed it home for a 59-55 Cornell lead just a few minutes later, and suddenly all the momentum was with the visitors. That was, until Rosen took over.

A 3-pointer from well beyond NBA range drew Penn within one point, and a pair of free throws gave Penn the lead with 3:32 remaining. Following a Wroblewki trey, Rosen hit two more from distance in a 1:34 span, with a steal in there for good measure.

“I couldn’t believe he took that shot. That was unbelievable to me,” Cornell coach Bill Courtney said of the first of Rosen’s treys. “How do you defend that? Some of the plays he made tonight were terrific.”

With former Ivy Leaguer Jeremy Lin currently the hottest name in the NBA, Rosen’s name is being thrown around as a potential pro sleeper.

“He’s so crafty with the ball, and he can play screen-and roll basketball…I wouldn’t put it past him,” Courtney said. “He’s gotta get stronger…but he’s got the ability to play for a very, very long time.”

Cornell entered the night the worst team in the Ivy League in rebounding margin (-6.6 rebounds/game), but took advantage of a Penn team that was being outrebounded by 2.3 boards so far on the season. The Big Red won the battle of the boards 29-25, but the Quakers had some big rebounds down the stretch to help them battle back.

“That’s something really that we concentrated on,” Courtney said. “I thought they had some key offensive rebounds in critical moments, though, and that hurt us.”

Penn senior Tyler Bernardini (nine points, three rebounds) spent the first six minutes of the game on the bench and played just 22 for the game as he deals with what coach Jerome Allen called a “medical issue.” Sophomore Steve Rennard got his first career start in place of Bernardini, but it was another sophomore guard who picked up the slack.

Miles Cartwright made three 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes of the game to provide an early spark for the Quakers in Bernardini’s absence. The sophomore guard finished with 23 points, his highest total since putting up a career-high 27 against Rider back on Nov. 17.

“It’s why we won the game,” said Rosen, who came into the game second in the Ivy League in scoring, at 18.0 points per game. “We didn’t defend like we need to, we didn’t defend like we practiced, we didn’t defend like we’re supposed to. Miles stepped up and bailed us out.”

Fittingly, it was Cartwright who hit the biggest dagger of the night, a 3-pointer from the corner off a feed from Rosen to make it 69-64 with just 29 seconds left. Rosen and Cartwright each hit a pair of free throws in the last 20 seconds, but it was Cartwright’s fifth trey of the evening (on six attempts) that sealed the deal.

Still, as spectacular as Rosen and Cartwright’s finish was, the Quakers would rather not be put in that position to begin with.

“I don’t want to rely on (Rosen)’s heroics to win basketball games,” Penn coach Jerome Allen said afterward. ”I know he’s capable of making tough shots, but…sometimes I think we put ourselves in the position where we gotta work extremely hard to get the results that we want.”

The Quakers remain one game in the loss column behind the Ivy-leading Harvard Crimson, with a rematch just a week from Saturday night up in Cambridge. First, they must get past Columbia on Saturday, 7pm, at the Palestra.

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