Sunday, February 12, 2012

Game Recap: Cornell 72, Brown 63

ITHACA -- The Cornell men's basketball team defeated Brown, 72-63, Saturday at Newman Arena to secure a weekend home sweep and move to 10-12 overall and 5-3 in the Ivy League.

Junior Johnathan Gray, who poured in a career-high 29 points in Friday's overtime victory against Yale, scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds to pace the Big Red, as well as hitting four of Cornell's 12 3-pointers Saturday.

"The offense came along well tonight," said Gray. "We were a little bit disappointed with the way we came out defensively, but they made a lot of tough shots. We shot the ball extremely well and got into our transition game. Everyone was getting involved and touching the ball which I was happy about."

Cornell led the majority of the first half but was only able to take a 36-34 advantage into the break before erupting in the second half with a 15-1 run to take a 51-35 lead.

All of the Big Red's points during the stretch came on 3-pointers from five different players. After struggling from beyond the arc coming into the weekend Cornell went 12-of-26 (46.1 percent) against Yale before hitting 12-of-23 (47.1 percent) against Brown.

Brown (7-18, 1-7) pulled within 66-60 with 2:38 remaining, but Cornell scored six of the final nine points to secure the win.

"There were signs in practice," said Cornell coach Bill Courtney of his squad emerging out of a shooting slump. "When we were going through our slump we were never telling our guys that if they took a good shot and missed it was a bad shot. If it's a good shot, it's a good shot. They just weren't going in. What we had to do is possibly find a way to win when our shots weren't going in. Now that they're falling it makes things a whole lot easier."

Cornell has won three consecutive Ivy League games and is fourth in the standings. First place Harvard, No. 25 in the AP Top 25, lost its first game of the conference season Saturday, 70-62, at Princeton.

Senior point guard Chris Wroblewski polished off an outstanding weekend with 16 points and eight assists with one turnover, while classmate Drew Ferry chipped in 11 points.

The Big Red will hit the road for four consecutive games, starting at Penn on Feb. 17.

After yet another of junior Johnathan Gray’s 3-pointers found the bottom of the net, a smile finally appeared on the guard’s face as he sprinted back on defense. It was his sixth basket from beyond the arc on the night, which helped the Red secure its 85-84 overtime upset win over No. 2 Yale Friday night.

Gray recorded a career high 29 points, shooting 10-of-18 from the field. He led both squads in scoring in what was a back and forth game between two teams fighting for a top spot in the Ivy League. The Red (10-12, 5-3 Ivy League) is now just one win behind the No. 2 Bulldogs (16-6, 6-2).

“I was just trying to be aggressive, and I got some baskets early that gave me confidence,” Gray said. “But [senior point guard Chris Wroblewski] did a great job of finding me at different spots on the court.”

Wroblewski supported Gray’s big game with a double-double of his own. Gray was the scorer for a large number of Wroblewski’s 10 assists throughout the game. Despite his solid shooting performance, Gray remained modest.

“I haven’t shot great because I was thinking too much early on in the season,” he said. “Now when I shoot I’m knowing the ball is going in.”

Despite eventually coming out on top, the Red did get off to a rocky start. Less than five minutes into the game, the squad found itself down by 10, and after Bulldog junior Austin Morgan knocked down a three, the Red trailed by 13. However, with Ivy League-leading scorer Greg Mangano on the bench in foul trouble, the Red was able to make a run of its own towards the end of the first half. Led by 3- pointers from Gray and freshman forward Shonn Miller, the Red went into the locker room trailing by only one point after junior forward Eitan Chemerinski connected on a layup at the buzzer.

A large part of the Red’s first half comeback was its relentless defense. The squad threw a full court press at the Bulldogs, forcing them to cough the ball up 15 times. Additionally, the defensive combination of Chemerinski and freshman forward Dave LaMore, who provided an important spark off the bench, kept Mangano struggling to score.

“Everybody helped out when the ball went in to him, all five guys were aware of where he was,” Gray said. “We had to do our best as a team trying to make him kick the ball out and take bad shots.”

Mangano got into foul trouble early in the game, because of Chemerinski and LaMore’s ability to box him out of the paint, and the Red was able to limit him to only 14 points and five boards.

In the second half, the two teams traded baskets, with the largest lead never surpassing six points. The Red’s full court trap continued to plague the Bulldogs, causing turnovers and easy baskets for the Red on the other end.

With 22 seconds left in regulation, Gray hit his fourth three of the night to put the Red up by two, bringing the fans of Newman nation to their feet for what they thought would be the game-sealing shot. However, the Bulldogs got the ball inbounds quickly, and Morgan was able to go coast-to-coast to hit a layup at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.

In overtime, the Red bench came through once again. Sophomore forward Dwight Tarwater, who is only averaging 13 minutes a game, drew first blood in the last period with an offensive rebound and put back to give the Red a two point lead. Mangano tied it again with a layup, and then Gray hit his fifth three from the corner and Tarwater connected on an elbow jumper to put Cornell up by four. After Morgan hit a deep three to put the Bulldogs within one, Gray hit his final long ball of the game, and the Bulldogs did not have an answer.

After the big win, the Red was back at it Saturday night against the Brown Bears (7-18, 1-7). Once again, although it came out with a win, the squad got off to a slow start, allowing the struggling Bears to stay in the game. Junior Matt Sullivan’s five first half three pointers were a large part of why the Red only found itself up by two at halftime.

However, the Red used its depth to tire the shorthanded Bears.

“We were playing at such a high pace, and coach told us at halftime that they would crack at some point,” Gray, who followed up his career night with another 16 points, said.

The Bears only had four players on their bench, one of whom only played five minutes. They also were without sophomore guard Sean McGonagill, who is leading the team in scoring with 14 points per game.

“They didn’t have their starting point guard, which definitely hurt them, and they didn’t have a lot of depth,” Gray said.

The Red was able to take advantage of this at the start of the second half, knocking down four straight threes, including one by junior forward Josh Figini, who had just entered the game for the first time. The Red never looked back from that point, and cruised to a 72-63 victory that was dominated by the team’s backcourt, which put up a combined 42 points.

Now two games above .500 in the conference, the Red has some momentum going into its road games against Penn and Princeton next weekend.

“This weekend we need to get one back at Penn and go in with a lot of energy,” Gray said.

According to Gray, these two big wins have given the Red the confidence it has been searching for all season.

“We are extremely confident right now,” he said. “We feel like we can beat anyone in the Ivy League.”

Men's Hoops Runs Away From Brown In Second Half

Box Score

Box Score (PDF)

ITHACA, N.Y. -- The Cornell men's basketball team opened the second half on a 15-1 run and cruised to its third straight win, a 72-63 victory over Brown on Saturday evening at Newman Arena. The Big Red improved to 10-12 (5-3 Ivy), while the Bears fell to 7-18 (1-7 Ivy).

A day after scoring a career-high 29 points, junior Johnathan Gray notched a tean-best 16 points and nine rebounds, while senior Chris Wroblewski continued his fantastic all-around play with 15 points, eight assists, five rebounds and two steals. He ended the weekend with 18 assists and just one turnover. Drew Ferry rounded out three double figure scorers with 11 points to go along with four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Freshman Shonn Miller had nine points, three rebounds and three blocked shots in the victory. The Big Red shot 47 percent overall and a blazing 12-of-23 from beyond the arc (52 percent). Cornell assisted on 17 baskets and turned the ball over just nine times as a team.

Matt Sullivan scored a game-high 21 points to lead the Brown attack, while Stephen Albrecht had 11 points, grabbed five rebounds and had four assists. Tyler Ponticelli recorded 10 rebounds for the Bears, who held a 41-32 edge on the backboards. Brown shot 39 percent from the floor and 36 percent from 3-point range in the loss.

After a lackluster first half that saw the Big Red head into the locker room with a 36-34 lead, Cornell exploded out of halftime to take control of the game with a big run. The Big Red had five different players connect from beyond the arc in the first 3:21 after the break, with Ferry, Tarwater, Figini, Wroblewski and Gray each connecting in succession as a two-point lead quickly became 15. Cornell continued to put the pressure on, never allowing Brown to get back within single digits until the Bears made a final run. The visitors clawed back to within six at 66-60 on a layup by Matt Sullivan, but after a timeout, Cornell posted up Miller, who was able to get an easy little jumper in the lane in isolation. After Sullivan missed a shot and Wroblewski rebounded, the Big Red senior went to the free throw line and connected on both shots to make it 70-60 with under two minutes to play. That was as close as the Bears would get.

The first half saw Brown get out early despite missing its leading scorer, Sean McGonagill. Sullivan was able to make shots at will, connecting on all five of his 3-pointers en route to 17 points. The two teams went back and forth throughout before Cornell looked to take control of the game. The Big Red went on a 10-2 run to turn a one-point deficit into a 32-25 advantage with 5:28 left after Ferry and Wroblewski each connected on treys. The lead grew to eight on a Cherry jumper, but Brown answered by scoring the final six points of the half with a three-point play by Tellef Lundevall, followed by Sullivan's fifth 3-pointer of the night, this one coming with 11 seconds left in the half. Cornell was able to sneak into the locker room with an uneasy 36-34 lead.

Cornell returns to action when it visits Penn on Friday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Palestra.

Ithaca, New York – Junior Jonathan Gray scored 16 points and senior Chris Wroblewski added 15 points to lead Cornell to a hard fought 72-63 Ivy League win over Brown at Newman Arena. Brown junior guard Matt Sullivan led all scorers with 21 points.

The Bears fell to 7-18 with the loss, 1-7 in the Ivy League, while Cornell extended its record to 10-12 overall, 5-3 in league play.

With the Bears down to nine players due to injury, Sullivan stepped up and scored 17 of his game high 21 points in the first half. Sullivan hit 7 of 13 field goals and 5 of 8 treys. Junior Stephen Albrecht also scored in double figures with 11 points, while junior Andrew McCarthy, senior Jean Harris, and sophomore Josh Biber added seven points each.

Bears' junior forward Tyler Ponticelli was the game's top rebounder, pulling down a career high 10 carroms.

Gray was a strong inside and outside presence for the Big Red, scoring 16 points on 6 of 10 shooting, and hauling in nine rebounds. Wroblewski had eight assists to go with his 15 points, while Jon ferry added 11 points.

Cornell used full-court pressure for 40 minutes to force 14 Brown turnovers. The difference in the game came from behind the three-point arc where Cornell connected on 12 of 23 treys, while Brown converted 8 of 22 three-point attempts.

Holding a 36-34 lead at the half, Cornell utilized a 15-1 surge, all on treys by five different players, to break the game open up take 51-45 lead over the Bears.

Brown pulled to within six points of the Big Red, 66-60, on a lay-up by Sullivan with 2:39 remaining in the game. But the Big Red out-scored the Bears, 6-3 down the stretch to account for the final score.

A fast paced first half had seven lead changes before Cornell seemingly took control in the last eight minutes. Brown held a 25-24 advantage following a layup by Tyler Ponticelli with 8:07 remaining in the half.

Cornell out-scored the Bears, 8-0, to pull ahead by a 32-25 margin after Wroblewski connected on a trey with 5:28 left in the first half.

A late Brown 9-2 surge that included two treys by Sullivan and a three-point play by junior Tellef Lundevall, cut Cornell's halftime lead to two points, 36-34.

Sullivan kept the game close for the Bears in the first half by scoring 17 points, including all five of his three-point attempts and 6 of 8 field goals overall.

Next week, the Bears will travel to Boston to challenge #23 Harvard on Friday, February 17 (7:00 p.m.), and continue north to Hanover, NH to face Dartmouth on Saturday, February 18 (7:00 p.m.).

The men's basketball team hit a roadblock when it travelled to New York over the weekend, stalling in a 86-60 loss to Columbia Friday and then falling 72-63 to Cornell the next day. The pair of losses stretch Bruno's losing streak to five, stranding them in seventh place in the Ivy standings ahead of only Dartmouth, which has yet to win a conference game.


Cornell 72, Brown 63

The Bears opened with a better showing the following night against Cornell (10-12, 5-3), sticking with the Big Red and entering the half only down two points. But Cornell unleashed a 15-1 run in the second half and held on late for the nine-point victory.

"It was definitely a tough weekend for us, but we played much better against Cornell than Columbia," Sullivan said.

Sullivan again led the squad with 21 points, 17 of which came in the first half. Stephen Albrecht '12.5 was the only other Bear in double figures with 11 points, and Tyler Ponticelli '13 led the team with a career-high 10 rebounds.

The Bears hit the road again this weekend as they travel to Cambridge Friday to face No. 25 Harvard (21-3, 7-1) before battling Dartmouth (4-20, 0-8) the following night. In the first matchup with the Crimson, the Bears caught Harvard off guard and kept the game close before eventually falling 68-59 before a sellout crowd at the Pizzitola. Harvard slipped four places in the top 25 after suffering its first Ivy loss to Princeton (14-10, 4-3) Saturday — the Tigers' 24th consecutive home victory over the Crimson. Against Dartmouth, the Bears will look to sweep the season series — Bruno took down the Big Green 66-59 Jan. 27.


Anonymous said...

With six games to go on the Ivy League slate, Cornell is one victory away from eclipsing last season's total. Next weekend will be tough, but with Harvard's loss on Saturday, suddenly anything seems possible. Perhaps I'm feeling overly optimistic because I have a bad case of Linsanity. Either way, I can't wait to see how the rest of the season plays out.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you!! That's one to tie and two to eclipse, right? With games @Brown and vs. Dartmouth at Newman still on the slate. I'd like to think we can eclipse and maybe more.

Feeling OK about this weekend's road trip. We handled Princeton once and we've got them on the back end. They'll be stoked for a payback. However, we're much deeper. They play eight or nine guys; we go thirteen deep.

Let's see if the Blue can give the Tigers a tough game Friday night. There is little doubt that both Harvard and Penn petered out in the second halves of their Saturday night games, after that exhausting game Friday night in the Palestra.

Penn beat Dartmouth on a 30ft buzzer beater. In losing, Harvard allowed Princeton to score 48pts in the second half, far off the usual Crimson defensive effort.

It's a good time to feel optimistic.

Anonymous said...

I agree that this year's team is better than last year's. Arguably, Coach C is growing into the job, getting more out of equal or less talent.

I'm coming down with acute Linsanity myself.