Sunday, November 11, 2012

Game Recap: Cornell 63, Western Michigan 55

Below, recaps from Saturday's Cornell victory over Western Michigan.


Video Highlights via Time Warner Cable YNN (click here)




ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) -- Nolan Cressler scored 20 points and Shonn Miller had six of Cornell's 13 blocked shots as the Big Red defeated Western Michigan 63-55 Saturday in the season opener for both teams.
Cressler, a freshman guard, came off the bench to shoot 6-of-8 from 3-point range. Cornell's bench outscored Western Michigan's 35-14.
Miller, last season's Ivy League Rookie of the Year, also came up with nine points and three steals for the Big Red, whose pressure defense limited the Broncos to 1-of-13 shooting to open the game and 30.4 percent shooting (17 of 56) overall. Cornell's blocked shot total was one shy of its school record.
Galal Cancer and Errick Peck added 10 points each for Cornell. Cancer also had seven assists.
Shayne Whittington led Western Michigan with 18 points and 13 rebounds, and Jared Klein had 12 points.




The Cornell men's basketball team turned its season opener into a block party and everyone was invited, including the 1987-88 Ivy League championship team. When it was all over, Cornell walked out of Newman Arena with a 63-55 win over the Broncos on Saturday afternoon in the season opener for both teams.

Unveiling a relentless pressure defense on unsuspecting Western Michigan, the Big Red limited the Broncos to 1-of-13 shooting to open the game, blocked 13 shots (one shy of a school record) and had eight steals. In all, Cornell held Western Michigan to 30 percent shooting overall and 21 percent from 3-point range while holding a 40-34 edge on the backboards.

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the 1987-88 Ivy League champions, the Big Red put on a high-energy defensive show to open its third season under head coach Bill Courtney. Shonn Miller blocked six shots and added three steals and six rebounds, while Eitan Chemerinski blocked two, had two steals and posted seven rebounds to spark the defense in the frontcourt.

While the spotlight was squarely on the defensive effort, freshman Nolan Cressler made quite an impression on the Newman Nation crowd, scoring a game-high 20 points and nailing six 3-pointers off the bench in his debut. Galal Cancer also had 10 points seven assists and five rebounds off the bench, while Errick Peck rounded out the double figure scorers with 10 points in his first action since the 2010-11 campaign.

Shayne Whittington posted a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Broncos, with Jared Klein adding 12 points and a game-high five steals off the bench.

Western Michigan scored the game's first four points, but when the Big Red caught them on a layup by Cancer less than five minutes in, Cornell would never again trail. The Broncos made its third shot of the night, then went without a field goal for a span of 8:08 as Cornell turned a four-point deficit (4-0) into a nine-point lead (16-7) with under 10 minutes remaining in the half. Cressler had 10 points during the 16-3 run as part of a 4-for-4 half. The visitors were stifled the entire first 20 minutes, shooting just 21 percent from the floor, but was still able to stay within two (28-26) at the break by forcing 11 Cornell turnovers.

While the Big Red never got scorching hot after the break, its offense was much more fluid. The Big Red assisted on 11 of its 13 baskets and made 5-of-13 shots from beyond the arc while turning it over just five times. Western Michigan would fall behind by as many as 12 points (55-43 with 5:15 left) before making a late run to get back in the game. The Broncos got within four on a pair of free throws by Klein with 30 seconds to play, but Errick Peck and Shonn Miller each connected on free throws to salt the game away in the final 23 seconds to claim the win.

Cornell returns to action on Wednesday, Nov. 14 when it plays St. Bonaventure at Newman Arena in a game that will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network.


Cornell started its 2012-13 campaign on a strong note, winning the first game of the season, 63-55, against the Western Michigan Broncos (0-1) at Newman Arena on Saturday afternoon.

The Red (1-0) was propelled by an aggressive defensive effort, which included 13 blocked shots — one shy of the team’s all-time record. The squad also recorded eight steals in the game.

Although the team’s defense was a crucial part of its victory, the Red committed 19 personal fouls and gave the Broncos the opportunity to make a number of 3-point plays late in the game.

“We’re going to have to keep [the other team] off the foul line,” said head coach Bill Courtney. “That’s going to be a point of emphasis for us.”

On the offensive end, the Red benefited from a solid game by freshman guard Nolan Cressler, who went 7-12 from the field and scored a game-high 20 points. Of the six 3-pointers that Cressler knocked down, his last one came after a timeout with 1:44 left in a 5-point game.

The play was designed so that sophomore guard Galal Cancer would penetrate, attract Cressler’s man and then kick it back to Cressler for the three. The crowd exploded when they watched Cressler’s shot hit the back of the net.

While Courtney said that he was impressed with Cressler’s game, he was confident of the freshman’s abilities entering the game.

“It’s hard to expect a guy to get 20 [points] in 18 [minutes],” Courtney said. “But … we know he’s going to have some days like that. The other day in practice he went 11-for-12 from three.”

The game also featured the return of senior forward Errick Peck, who was a key player on the 2010-2011 squad but was sidelined all of last season with a knee injury. Peck scored 10 points and hit two free throws to give the team a six-point lead with 23 seconds to seal the victory for the Red.

“He’s in the form he was before he left,” Courtney said, expecting Peck to have a big season.

The 2011-12 Ivy League Rookie of the Year Shonn Miller scored nine points and went 5-of-6 from the free throw line. His six blocks were instrumental in the team’s defensive effort. He finished last season with 48 blocks — an all time team-high for a freshman.

The Red faces off against the St. Bonaventure Bonnies at home on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The game will be nationally televised on the NBC sports network. The Bonnies are 1-0 after a victory on Friday in their home opener against Bethune Cookman.

In their first game, the Bonnies had three players score in double digits. Senior guard Eric Mosley had 14 points, junior guard Matthew Wright had 13 points and forward Demitrius Conger dropped 12.

“We’re going to play a pretty good team coming up on Wednesday,” said sophomore guard Galal Cancer.

The Red is poised to come out with a victory and confident in their deep squad this season, according to Cancer.

“Even big-man wise, we have a lot of depth,” he said. “We’ve got a good core of guys this year.”

With a non-conference schedule that pairs Cornell with powerhouses like Duke, Wisconsin and Vanderbilt, the Red looks to improve in every game and to prepare for battle in a competitive Ivy League this season.


Box Score

Box Score (PDF)
Photo Gallery (Photos by Patrick Shanahan)

ITHACA, N.Y. – The Cornell men's basketball team turned its season opener into a block party and everyone was invited, including the 1987-88 Ivy League championship team. When it was all over, Cornell walked out of Newman Arena with a 63-55 win over the Broncos on Saturday afternoon in the season opener for both teams.

Unveiling a relentless pressure defense on unsuspecting Western Michigan, the Big Red limited the Broncos to 1-of-13 shooting to open the game, blocked 13 shots (one shy of a school record) and had eight steals. In all, Cornell held Western Michigan to 30 percent shooting overall and 21 percent from 3-point range while holding a 40-34 edge on the backboards.

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the 1987-88 Ivy League champions, the Big Red put on a high-energy defensive show to open its third season under head coach Bill Courtney. Shonn Miller blocked six shots and added three steals and six rebounds, while Eitan Chemerinski blocked two, had two steals and posted seven rebounds to spark the defense in the frontcourt.

While the spotlight was squarely on the defensive effort, freshman Nolan Cressler made quite an impression on the Newman Nation crowd, scoring a game-high 20 points and nailing six 3-pointers off the bench in his debut. Galal Cancer also had 10 points seven assists and five rebounds off the bench, while Errick Peck rounded out the double figure scorers with 10 points in his first action since the 2010-11 campaign.

Shayne Whittington posted a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Broncos, with Jared Klein adding 12 points and a game-high five steals off the bench.

Western Michigan scored the game's first four points, but when the Big Red caught them on a layup by Cancer less than five minutes in, Cornell would never again trail. The Broncos made its third shot of the night, then went without a field goal for a span of 8:08 as Cornell turned a four-point deficit (4-0) into a nine-point lead (16-7) with under 10 minutes remaining in the half. Cressler had 10 points during the 16-3 run as part of a 4-for-4 half. The visitors were stifled the entire first 20 minutes, shooting just 21 percent from the floor, but was still able to stay within two (28-26) at the break by forcing 11 Cornell turnovers.

While the Big Red never got scorching hot after the break, its offense was much more fluid. The Big Red assisted on 11 of its 13 baskets and made 5-of-13 shots from beyond the arc while turning it over just five times. Western Michigan would fall behind by as many as 12 points (55-43 with 5:15 left) before making a late run to get back in the game. The Broncos got within four on a pair of free throws by Klein with 30 seconds to play, but Errick Peck and Shonn Miller each connected on free throws to salt the game away in the final 23 seconds to claim the win.

Cornell returns to action on Wednesday, Nov. 14 when it plays St. Bonaventure at Newman Arena in a game that will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network.


With such a young group, the learning curve for Western Michigan University’s men’s basketball team will be quite steep early this season.

Chalk up the Broncos’ 63-55 season-opening loss Saturday at Cornell’s Newman Arena as lesson No. 1.

They have some things to learn, but their instructor has seen encouraging signs and is eager to impart more lessons in the weeks to come.

“I told the kids before the game, whether we won today or whether we lost, it was going to tell them the exact same thing,” WMU coach Steve Hawkins said about his team, which features eight freshmen, three sophomores and only three seniors (plus three redshirt juniors).

“We’re going to see several different styles. I’m just excited about playing from Saturday through next Sunday. We’re playing obviously Tuesday at home (against Marygrove, 7 p.m.), and I can’t wait to get the home opener going there. Then we play Friday, Saturday, Sunday (at the South Florida Invitational). Those five games, we’re going to get several different styles of play against Division I competition -- against strong Division I players.”

Cornell blocked 13 Bronco shots and finished with a 40-34 rebounding advantage. WMU shot only 30 percent (17-of-56) compared to 40 percent (23-of-57) for the Big Red, which made eight 3-pointers to the Broncos’ three.

WMU was in the game the entire way. The Broncos trailed 26-24 at halftime, and did fall behind 50-39 with 7:50 left, but pulled within five (56-51) with 1:52 remaining and four (59-55) with 23 seconds left.

They just couldn’t get over the hump against a Cornell team that pressured and denied defensively, and made it difficult for WMU to get good looks.

Redshirt junior Shayne Whittington, a 6-foot-10 starting center, recorded a double-double for WMU with 15 points and 13 rebounds. The former Lawrence High School standout grabbed five offensive boards and went 7-for-10 from the free-throw line, where the Broncos finished 18-of-25 compared to 9-of-14 for the Big Red.

WMU freshman Jared Klein, a 6-1 point guard from Otsego, scored 12 points and notched five steals in 29 minutes off the bench during his collegiate debut.

“We got pushed around -- that’s what really took place,” Hawkins said. “They just physically beat us up. I thought the thing that was the best about (Saturday) was, we had several people realize how hard they’re going to have to work just to get open. Forget about taking shots -- (it’s difficult) just to get open.

“From that standpoint, it made (Cornell) the worst team for a young team to have to play against because of their style of play. On the other hand, it may have been the best game to play because I think we got ourselves a lesson on how hard you’re going to have to play.”

WMU senior forward Nate Hutcheson finished with nine points on 3-of-12 shooting, and added four rebounds, two blocks and one steal. Freshman Darius Paul, a 6-8 forward, had eight points, three rebounds and two assists in a starting role.

The Broncos registered only four assists to Cornell’s 17.

WMU's Klein did not have any assists, but had only two turnovers.

"I thought Jared played very well. He handled the pressure better than anybody," Hawkins said. "He was able to go by their guards when they got up into him. We had some other players that really struggled with that, when they got up into us and pressured us. Jared took control of the offense, settled us down as much as he could."


Big Red freshman Nolan Cressler scored a game-high 20 points, as the 6-4 guard hit 7 of 12 shots (6-of-8 from 3-point range). Galal Cancer, a 6-2 sophomore guard, played a well-rounded game with 10 points (5-of-7 shooting), seven assists, five rebounds and one steal. Forward Errick Peck added 10 points.

It was the first-ever matchup between WMU and Cornell.

“They blocked 13 shots. They were very athletic. We played against a real, real athletic team,” Hawkins said about the Big Red. “You wouldn’t think Cornell, an Ivy League team, would be athletic but they were really athletic. I don’t think we’ve played a MAC team that moves side-to-side and was as quick as Cornell was in quite a while.”


Western Michigan University’s young men’s basketball team battled Cornell in a season-opening road test, but dropped a 63-55 decision to the Big Red Saturday aternoon.
The Broncos trailed only 26-24 at halftime, but fell into a 50-39 hole with 7:50 left.
WMU battled back, however, and pulled within 56-51 with 1:52 left and 59-55 with 23 seconds remaining. The Broncos got no closer.
Redshirt junior Shayne Whittington, a 6-foot-10 center who starred at Lawrence, led the Broncos with 15 points, 13 rebounds and one steal. Point guard Jared Klein, a 6-foot-1 true freshman from Otsego, scored 12 points and collected five steals during 29 minutes in his collegiate debut.
WMU senior forward Nate Hutcheson added nine points on 3-of-12 shooting, along with four rebounds, two blocks and one steal. Freshman forward Darius Paul ahd eight points, three boards and two assists in his debut.
For Cornell, freshman guard Nolan Cressler scored a game-high 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 6-for-8 marksmanship from 3-point range. His triple with 1:44 left gave Cornell a 59-51 lead.
Sophomore guard Galal Cancer played a solid floor game with 10 points (5-of-7 shooting), seven assists, five rebounds and one steal for the Big Red.
Cornell shot 40 percent as a team (23-for-57) compared to 30 percent by WMU (17-of-56). The Big Red were 8-of-25 from deep, while the Broncos went 3-for-14.
Cornell had 17 assists to only four for WMU, and outrebounded the Broncos, 40-34.
WMU’s home opener is 7 p.m. Tuesday against Marygrove.


Stats 

ITHACA, N.Y. - Junior Shayne Whittington posted a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds, but the Western Michigan men's basketball team struggled offensively against a good Cornell squad, as the Big Red defeated the Broncos 63-55 on Saturday. With the loss, the Broncos fall to 0-1 on the season.

Whittington acted as a steadying influence on the young Bronco squad, controlling the paint for a double-double. Whittington was especially effective in his ability to use his size advantage against the Big Red's frontcourt; he drew a number of fouls over the course of the game, and finished with a 7 of 10 performance from the foul line. Freshman guard Jared Klein also broke double-digits in scoring, recording 12 points in his regular season debut.

The Broncos were the victim of tough defensive effort from Cornell; the Big Red recorded 13 blocks, contributing to the Broncos' 17 of 56 shooting night. WMU was good from the free throw line, going 18 of 25 for a 72.0 shooting percentage.

The first half was a rollercoaster of pace, as the two teams alternated between high-tempo attacks and more deliberate half-court sets. The Broncos took a four-point lead to start the game, with Whittington starting the team off with a pair of free throws, and Austin Richie scoring a lay-up on a slick bounce pass from Darius Paul at the 17:13 mark. Cornell responded with a 16-3 run to take the lead, but Brandon Pokley drained a three-pointerfrom the wing to break the momentum and cut the lead to six points.

Paul made a pair of free throws at 8:22 in the first to make it a six-point game, and Klein nailed a three 20 seconds later to slice the lead down to three points. Paul would score the last of his six first-half points on two possessions to end the half, scoring a lay-up at 3:47 to make it 26-22, and putting back his own missed shot on a tip-in at 3:13 remaining in the half. The teams entered the locker room with Cornell leading 26-24.

Paul capped his personal 8-0 run for the Broncos at the beginning of the half, scoring on a lay-up on WMU's first offensive possession to cut Cornell's lead to just 27-26. That would be the closest the Broncos would get for the remainder of the game, however, as the Big Red's Nolan Cressler made a series of three-pointers from around the perimeteto keep the Broncos at bay. Klein recorded a triple of his own at the 14:44 mark to make the score 35-31, but the Big Red would expand the lead to 11 points, and held a double-digit lead until late in the half.

The Broncos made one more push, however, coming back from 12 points down at 5:15 to pull within two possessions in the final minute. Klein drove to the hoop and drew a foul from Eitan Chemerinski, making a pair of free throws to make it 59-55 with 30 seconds remaining. However, the Big Red were able to just barely thwart the Broncos' press on the ensuing possession, and ultimately made a pair of free throws with 22 seconds remaining to ice the game.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good start for the entire Ivy league. Everyone won except Yale which lost in overtime to Sacred Heart.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Wouldn't exactly call Penn's and Harvard's start as "good." Both played bad games against bad teams.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I echo that comment, CBB!

UMBC appears to be a bottom 50 of D-1 team. Penn struggled to beat them at the Palestra. It took a second half comeback from down 20.

Hahvahd let a D-3 team hang around the whole game.

Both Penn and Hahvahd return only one proven starter quality player (Cartwright and Rivard). The rest of the returnees have only rotation-level experience. This extreme level of inexperience on teams matters night-in and night-out.

It looks as if Hahvahd will start two frosh (Chambers and Smith [counting Smith as a rookie because he only had 17min courtime last year]). Rookies Hicks, Nelson-Henry, and Lucas-Perry [essentially] will play major roles for the Quakers. That's alot of first year guys who will have to play better than first year guys usually play, if either of these teams is to reach the first division of the league.

Yale actually looked better than their loss indicates. SH ranks a "notch" or two higher than WMU in the pre-season polls.
At SH, the Dawgs had a 24pt lead with <14min left in the game, kicked it away, and finally missed a FT with 16 seconds left, leaving the Pioneers needing a 2ptr instead of a 3ptr, to get into OT.

I thought Galal looked like a new man out there for the Red.

Anonymous said...

Really didn't like some of Shonn Miller's body language despite the win. Showed some attitude towards Courtney and the referees. Game is all mental for him but if I was BC I wouldn't stand for it

Anonymous said...

With his skillset, there is no reason for Shonn to shoot 3ptrs this year. He only shot 30% last year and we now have better options. Wonder if Coach has been pointing this out?

IMO, Coach would definitely be justified in letting Shonn know that the four 3ptrs he tried against WMU was too many. For the sake of the team, Miller would be justified in listening.

Anonymous said...

With his skillset, there is no reason for Shonn to shoot 3ptrs this year. He only shot 30% last year and we now have better options. Wonder if Coach has been pointing this out?

IMO, Coach would definitely be justified in letting Shonn know that the four 3ptrs he tried against WMU was too many. For the sake of the team, Miller would be justified in listening.

Anonymous said...

You act as if the season is plus 5 games in and Miller has shot 4 3ptrs each game. Give the season a chance before you start in on the kid he does many more things well than what both anon would be lead to believe

Anonymous said...

The season is very young, but I think it is OK to look at last season, too.

You watch Shonn Miller play the game night-in-and-night out, and you know how lucky Cornell is to have him. He is one of those players whose stats line does not reflect all the good things he does. He seems to be everywhere something positive is happening. We are going to see more of this. As the season wears on, if "results" don't seem to be showing up in Miller's own line, you can be sure that is because teams are extending extra effort to stop him, that leaves his teammates more open to contribute.

Coach is about winning. That means getting the team as a whole to do more things that win games and fewer things that lose games.

Last year Shonn shot 30% from 3pt range and 51% from 2pt range. The D-1 averages on these are 34.5% and 48.5%. He scores from 2pt range way more efficiently than from 3pt range. Furthermore, when he takes a three, he is poorly positioned to rebound a miss.

Note that Cornell played better last night against Bona than they did against WMU. That second half was really good! Shonn only took one 3ptr in the game. Coach is justified in asking Shonn to stick to doing what he does best. It will make Cornell even better.