Sunday, November 18, 2012

Game Recap: Cornell 64, St. Peter's 68

Below, recaps from Cornell vs. St. Peter's...

Box Score

Box Score (PDF)

ITHACA, N.Y. -- For the second straight game, the Cornell men's basketball team rallied from an eight-point deficit in the final minutes only to fall short in the end. This time, a Saint Peter's offensive rebound gained the Peacocks an extra possession they were able to convert on in the final minute as the visitors escaped Newman Arena with a 68-64 win. Saint Peter's improved to 3-0, while the Big Red slipped to 1-2.

Devin Cherry scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead four double figure scorers, while sophomore classmates Shonn Miller (13 points, three blocks, three steals) and Galal Cancer (13 points, five rebounds, four assists) and freshman Nolan Cressler (10 points, three rebounds) also contributed offensively. For one game, it was the defense that let Cornell down.

Saint Peter's scored 32 points in the paint and were able to consistently get in the lane, while hitting seven timely 3-pointers. The Peacocks turned the ball over just 12 times against Cornell's pressure and connected on 47 percent of its shots overall. Blaise Ffrench had a career-high 22 points and Yvon Raymond added 14.

Cornell was actually down 11 points with 2:44 to play after Des Washington nailed a 3-pointer. Cherry came right back down and drew a foul, hittign twoi free throws to trigger what would become a 9-0 run. Just a minute later, Miles Asafo-Adjei hit Cancer on the move and the sophomore's short shot i nthe lane made it 64-62 with 1:32 left. Cornell's defense went to work, putting together an excellent possession, including a Miller blocked shot out of bounds with three seconds left on the shot clock.

After a Peacock timeout, the visitors got a shot off that rebounded long into the hands of Chris Prescott. With a fresh clock, Saint Peter's wore as much time off as it could before a late, tough driving layup by Ffrench made it a four-point game. Cornell would get one shot to make it a one possession game. It wouldn't hit, and Washington made a pair of free throws with 11 seconds left that all but sealed the win.

Cornell struggled against a Saint Peter's team that had defended well in a pair of victories over Rutgers and Central Connecticut State, but it was the Peacocks' offense that surprised. SPU hit 4-of-5 3-pointers during one stretch of less than three minutes in the second half to help turn a two-point game into an 11-point contest with under seven minutes left. Though Cornell would make a run, it never would get back equal.

The Peacocks came out of the gates quickly and put the home team on its heels right away, erasing an early three-point Cornell edge with a 14-3 run that gave Saint Peter's a 14-6 lead by the second media timeout. The lead would balloon to as many as 11 before Cornell got back in it. A pair of 3-pointers and another jumper by Cherry highlighted the run as the Big Red took a narrow 26-24 lead with two minutes to play in the first half.

The lead would be short-lived, as Saint Peter's would score the final four points to go into the break leading 28-26.

Cornell would never get back in the lead after halftime despite two stretches that looked as though it was taking control of the game. Runs of 7-2 and 9-0 where the Big Red sped up the Peacocks seemed to take the wind out of the visitors briefly, but each time they bounced back.

Cornell returns to action on Sunday, Nov. 16 when it visits Wisconsin at 6 p.m. ET at the Kohl Center. The game will be televised by ESPN3.

Blaise Ffrench poured in a career-high 22 points to lead the Saint Peter's men's basketball team to their third consecutive win (68-64) over Cornell to open the 2012-13 season. Ffrench scored his most important basket with 28 seconds remaining to stifle an 11-0 run by the hosts and put the Peacocks in front by four at 66-62.

The last time Saint Peter's began a season with a 3-0 record was the 1990-91 season, when they secured five consecutive victories before picking up their first loss. The Peacocks would go on to win the MAAC Championship that year and advance to the NCAA Tournament.

"I'm really proud of the effort that we gave tonight", commented Head Coach John Dunne. "We didn't play perfect but our determination on the defensive end and our unselfishness offensively was tremendous. To win this game without Darius Conley and Pat Jackson who were both hurt, is a testament to our passion and hard work."

Four players finished in double figures for Saint Peter's; Yvonne Raymond (14), Chris Prescott (11), Desi Washington (10) and Ffrench.

The Peacocks led by as many as 11 points with seven minutes to play in the opening frame, but the Big Red out-scored the visitors by a 13-2 margin over the ensuing five minutes to force a tie score (24-24). Devin Cherry connected on a jumper at 1:58 to give Cornell their first lead since the 18:23 mark, but back to back buckets by Yvonne Raymond and Desi Washington gave Saint Peter's a 26-24 lead heading into the half-time break.

For the half, the Peacocks shot 48.1% to Cornell's 32.1%. Ffrench scored 13 of his 22 points in the first stanza.

The Big Red displayed their resilience again in the second frame, battling back from an eight-point deficit and later an eleven-point disadvantage to come within striking distance. An 11-0 run over the final two and a half minutes of play made it a one-possession game at 1:32 (64-62), but a basket by Ffrench with 28 seconds left enabled the Peacocks to close out the game on a 4-2 run for the win.

Overall, Saint Peter's shot 46.6% from the floor and 38.9% from long distance while Cornell shot 36.2% and 31.8%, respectively. The Peacocks also had the advantage in rebounds, pulling down 39 boards to the Big Red's 33.

Both Raymond and Washington tied for the team-high in boards, grabbing six a piece. Ffrench dished out four dimes to go along with his 22 points, while Raymond recorded 3.

Cornell also had four-played with double-digit markers, and were led by Cherry's 14.

The Peacocks return to action this Sunday for a 2pm road match against the Binghamton Bearcats. Saint Peter's has never lost a contest to Binghamton in two meetings.

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