Friday, November 16, 2012

Cornell Athletics Game Notes for St. Peter's

Get all the information you need about the Cornell Big Red's game vs. St. Peter's on Friday, November 16, 8 pm, with The Cornell Basketball Blog's Game Preview Center.  Below, the Cornell Athletics Game Notes...  

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Game #3: Saint Peter's at Cornell
Tip off: Friday, Nov. 16, at 8:00 p.m.
Site: Newman Arena (4,473), Ithaca, N.Y.
2012-13 Records: Saint Peter's (2-0, 0-0 MAAC); Cornell (1-1, 0-0 Ivy League)
Series Record: First-ever meeting

Radio: HITS 103.3 FM (Barry Leonard, Eric Taylor)
TV: None
Live Stats: available at
Live Video: available at
Tickets: check availability by calling (607) 254-BEAR

Cornell head coach Bill Courtney is in his third season at Cornell (23-35, .397; 13-15 Ivy, .464) ... Courtney became the fifth Robert E. Gallagher '44 Coach of Men's Basketball at Cornell on April 23, 2010.

ITHACA, N.Y. - The Cornell men's basketball team will close out a three-game homestand to open the season when it plays host to undefeated Saint Peter's on Friday, Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. The contest will be part of a doubleheader with the women's team, which will play against Syracuse at 5:30 p.m.

Cornell opened the year with a 63-55 win over Western Michigan before dropping a narrow 74-70 decision to St. Bonaventure on Wednesday, nearly rallying back from an eight-point deficit with 90 seconds to play. The Big Red got 17 points and seven rebounds from Errick Peck off the bench in that game, as Cornell's reserves outscored the Bonnies 36-18. Devin Cherry matched his career high with 14, while Galal Cancer and Johnathan Gray each chipped in with 11. Cornell limited St. Bonaventure to 42 percent shooting and just 2-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc. That's a non-conference trend that has carried over from a year ago. Over the team's last 16 non-league games, opponents are shooting just 26 percent from beyond the arc while making just 4.8 per game. Only once in those 16 contests has an opponent shot better than 33 percent from 3-point range.

The Big Red's defense continues to play at a high level through two games, surrendering just 36 percent shooting overall and 18 percent from 3-point range, holding a +2.6 rebounding margin and averaging 8.0 blocks and 7.0 steals per game. In a statistic that could be telling this year, Cornell is +6.5 scoring in the second half of games, when its depth and pressure defense starts to take over.

Saint Peter's is one of the early surprises of the college basketball season with a 2-0 start, including a season-opening win over Rutgers (56-52). Desi Washington, a first-year transfer from Delaware State, is averaging 20.5 points and 6.5 rebounds to pace three double figure scorers. The Peacocks are hitting at a 47 percent clip from the field and 39 percent from beyond the arc while really defending. It is allowing just 56.5 points while limiting foes to 37 percent shooting overall and a miserable 19 percent from beyond the arc (6-of-31). One early achilles heal has been the team's free-throw shooting at just 45 percent through two games (13-of-29). Like Cornell, it has come on in the second half of games, outscoring its opponents by +7.5.

• make the Big Red 2-1 on the season.
• give Cornell a win in the first-ever meeting with the Peacocks.
• extend the Big Red's record against teams from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference to 61-46.
• be the 1,198th in program history (1,197-1,309 in 114 seasons).

ABOUT SAINT PETER'S: The Peacocks are looking to bounce back after going 5-26 a year ago (4-14 Metro Atlantic), including dropping its final eight games of the season and 12 of its last 13. So far that goal has been hit. At 2-0, the Peacocks have already won on the road at Rutgers (56-52) and at home against Central Connecticut State (64-61). Saint Peter's returns its top two leading scorers from a year ago in seniors Darius Conley (11.6 ppg., 7.4 rpg.) and Chris Prescott (10.1 ppg.). Adding to the group is first-year transfer Desi Washington, who is averaging 20.5 points over his first two games. The Peacocks were outscored by nearly 11 points per game, but defensively held opponents under 70 points per game despite its offensive struggles. It has been fantastic at that end of the court again this year, allowing just 56.5 points while limiting foes to 37 percent shooting overall and 19 percent from beyond the arc (6-of-31).

THE CORNELL-SAINT PETER'S SERIES: This is the first-ever meeting between Cornell and Saint Peter's on the hardwood.

CORNELL VS. THE MAAC: The Big Red holds a 60-46 all-time record against current members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and will be meeting Saint Peter's for the first time. The Big Red has faced Canisius (25-17), Fairfield (0-2), Iona (0-2), Loyola (Md,) (1-0), Manhattan (1-1), Marist (2-3), Niagara (27-20), Rider (3-0) and Siena (1-1). This only scheduled game this season for Cornell against a team from the MAAC.

NBA SCHEDULE: Cornell is in the midst of playing six games in 11 days, covering four states (New York, Wisconsin, Arizona and Nevada) and three time zones (Eastern, Central, Mountain). Cornell opened on Nov. 16 against St. Bonaventure at home (72-68 loss), and continues tonight at home against Saint Peter's. The Big Red will then hop a plane on Saturday to play at Wisconsin, then to Arizona State for a Tuesday game before playing against Presbyterian and then either Longwood or Florida A&M on Nov. 23 and 24 in Las Vegas. All told, Cornell will travel 4,400 miles to play its six games. 

• Cornell is 94-56 in the last five seasons.
• The Big Red is 51-19 in its last 70 Ivy League contests over the last six years.
• Cornell is 57-13 over its last 70 home games, including 40-11 in the last five seasons and 52-12 in the last six years.
• In non-conference games, the Big Red is 43-37 over the last five seasons.

• The Big Red blocked 13 shots in the season-opening win over Western Michigan, the second most in school history behind 14 blocks recorded against Niagara in the 1978-79 season.
• The last time Cornell opened a season with three straight home games was in 1998-99, when the Big Red lost the opener to Buffalo (64-63) before bouncing back with wins over Bucknell (69-56) and Penn State-Behrend (80-70).
• Cornell hasn't allowed a non-conference team to shoot 50 percent in 15 straight games, including contests against eventual postseason teams American (CIT), Lehigh (NCAA), Stony Brook (NIT) and Bucknell (NIT), as well as nationally ranked Illinois and BCS schools Mayland and Penn State. The last non-Ivy to shoot 50 percent or better was St. Bonaventure in the 2011-12 opener. The Bonnies made exactly 50 percent of its shots (27-of-54).
• Over the last two seasons, Big Red non-conference opponents have hit just 77 3-pointers in 16 games (4.8 per game) on .259 shooting (77-of-297). Only once in 16 games did a team shoot better than 33 percent from beyond the arc. That trend continued in the opener against Western Michigan, who was just 3-of-14 (.214), and the second game against St. Bonaventure, who was just 2-of-14 (.143).
• Cornell's 3-point season totals in the last five years represent the top five single-season marks in school history. The Big Red's 217 3-pointers a year ago ranks fifth on the chart. Prior to 2007-08, when the run began, Cornell had made more than 200 treys in a season just once. 
• The Big Red has reached double figures in victories in nine consecutive years, the most since hitting that mark 10 consecutive times from 1981-82 through 1990-91. The school record is 12 straight years beginning in 1944-45 and stretching through the 1955-56 season.
• Cornell lost 141 player games due to injury in 2011-12 (Asafo-Adjei - 15; D.Cherry - 4; Gatlin - 26; Groebe - 6; LaMore - 3; Matthews - 28; Peck - 28; Sahota - 28; Scelfo - 3).

• Saint Peter's Director of Basketball Operations Ryan Woerner served as an assistant coach on Dayna Smith's Big Red women's basketball staff for one year (2010-11). He was a student assistant for the Cornell men's basketball team under Steve Donahue during the program's run to the 2009-10 NCAA Sweet 16.
• Freshman Nolan Cressler scored 20 points in the opener against Western Michigan, the most by a Big Red rookie in his collegiate debut in school history. The previous mark of 18 was set by Ryan Wittman against Northwestern to begin the 2006-07 campaign.
• Cressler was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week after the win over Western Michigan.
• Sophomore Shonn Miller recorded six blocks against Western Michigan, a mark that is tied for sixth all-time in a single game for the Big Red.
• Miller had six blocks and three steals in the win over Western Michigan, becoming the second player in school history to have at least five blocks and three steals. Jeffrion Aubry was the first to do it with five blocks and three steals against New Mexico in the 1998-99 season.
• Sophomore Galal Cancer is the first Cornell player to surpass 10 points, seven assists and five rebounds with one turnover or less since Wallace Prather against Penn State Behrend (19 points, seven assists, five rebounds, one turnover) in 1998. He is the first player to reach that mark off the bench.
• In two games this season, Cancer has posted 11 assists and just three turnovers a year after being nearly 1:1 (75 assists, 70 turnovers).
• Over the last two seasons, senior Josh Figini is 13-of-25 from 3-point range (.520).
• Senior Johnathan Gray needs 16 points to reach 400 for his career.

• Senior Johnathan Gray was a member of the U.S. Virgin Islands national team this summer, competing in the 2012 FIBA Centrobasket Championship from June 18-24 in Puerto Rico. He averaged 8.5 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists while hitting 10-of-21 3-pointers (.476) from the international 3-point line to rank fourth on the team in scoring. The Virgin Islands team went 1-3 with a win over Costa Rica (92-64) behind Gray's 12 points and five assists.
• Gray is a former walk-on who served as team manager during the 2009-10 Sweet 16 season until midseason, when he joined the varsity roster during Christmas break.
• Junior forward Dwight Tarwater's brother, Davis, earned a gold medal in the 4x200 meter freestyle relay at the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London, England. Dwight was there to see his brother, a three-time NCAA champion and 13-time All-American swimmer at Michigan. At the Olympics, Tarwater swam the third leg of the preliminary round of the 4x200. His time of 1:46.33 was a personal best, and the second fastest leg for Team USA, which turned in the fastest preliminary swim. His leg was the third fastest among all 64 swimmers in the prelims.
• Freshman center Braxston Bunce earned his second straight appearance on Team Canada's Under-18 national team this past summer, competing at the 2012 FIBA Americas Championship from June 16-20 in Brazil. Canada went 4-1, with Bunce averaging 1.5 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists in two contests,
• Men's basketball was one of 11 Cornell teams honored by the NCAA in its annual Division I Academic Progress Report (APR). The APR measures semester-by-semester records for every individual team in Division I with regard to each team members' continuing eligibility, retention and progress toward graduation. The NCAA “commends” teams that have APR scores in the top 10 percent within their sport, with the minimum necessary score ranging from 975 to a perfect mark of 1000 depending on the range of team scores within that sport.
• As a team, Cornell sports a 3.2 cumulative grade point average.
• Senior Eitan Chemerinski (Applied Economics and Management) has been a member of the 400 Club, joining an exclusive group of Cornell student-athletes to post a grade point average of 4.0 or better.
• Chemerinski solved the Rubik's Cube in 2 minutes and 43 seconds during a road trip in 2009-10, a video that went viral on YouTube. Chemerinski speaks five languages, including Mandarin.
• Cornell has had four Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-Americans this decade, including a first-teamer in Graham Dow '07, who was a Rhodes Scholar candidate.
• Recent Cornell graduates have attended Harvard Law (Lenny Collins '06), Cornell medical school (Ugo Ihekweazu '07), Georgetown medical school (David Lisle '06) and Stanford graduate school (Graham Dow '07, biology).
• Cornell has been represented on the five member All-Ivy first team four times in the last five years, with three of those years placing multiple players on the first team.
• The Big Red has had four Ivy League Rookie of the Year selections in the last 10 years, including Shonn Miller in 2011-12.
• Over the last three seasons, Cornell has graduated three of the school's top 13 scorers, the top two assist-makers all-time, two Ivy League Players of the Year, two Associated Press honorable mention All-Americans, an Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year, a Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American, three Academic All-Ivy picks and six players who competed in more than 100 career games.

NEXT UP: Cornell hits the road for the first time in 2012-13, and first up is a visit to Wisconsin on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 5 p.m. CT (6 p.m. ET) at the Kohl Center. The game is Cornell's first in the 2012 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational and will be televised on ESPN3.

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