ITHACA — The Cornell men’s basketball team will have an early season opportunity to showcase itself on national television Wednesday night when it plays host to defending Atlantic 10 Tournament champion St. Bonaventure. Tip-off at Newman Arena is slated for 7 p.m.
The game will be shown on the NBC Sports Network as the first game of its new Ivy League basketball package. It will be the first of two Cornell athletics event to be shown by the network; Friday night’s Cornell-Harvard hockey game is scheduled to air at 7:30 p.m.
Coach Bill Courtney’s Big Red men’s squad opened a promising basketball season on Saturday with a solid 63-55 victory over Mid-American Conference squad Western Michigan. Cornell limited the Broncos to 30 percent shooting, outrebounded WMU, 40-34, and blocked 13 shots, one shy of the school record.
The Big Red held Western to 1-for-13 shooting to open the game.
In his college debut, Big Red freshman Nolan Cressler scored 20 points off the bench, including 6-for-8 shooting from beyond the 3-point line. He earned Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors for his efforts, which included two rebounds, an assist, a blocked shot and a steal while committing no turnovers in 18 minutes.
Sophomore Shonn Miller, last year’s Ivy Rookie of the Year, did a little bit of everything for the Red: nine points, three assists, six rebounds, six blocks and three steals. Senior Errick Peck, back after missing all of last year with an injury, also reached double figures with 10 points, while sophomore point guard Galal Cancer chipped in 10 points, seven assists and five rebounds.
Cornell will face a stiff challenge in the Bonnies, who earned the Atlantic 10 tournament championship and were knocked out by Florida State in their first NCAA Tournament game by Florida State. Coach Mark Schmidt’s squad got off on the right foot last Friday with a 65-55 win over Bethune-Cookman.
Three starters and 12 letterwinners are back from last season’s 21-10 team, though missing is NBA first-round draft pick Andrew Nicholson (18.5 ppg., 8.4 rpg.), who torched the Big Red for 24 points a year ago in the Bonnies’ 79-58 season-opening win at the Reilly Center in Olean. Cornell leads the all-time series with St. Bonaventure, 8-5.
After Wednesday’s game, the Big Red hosts the Peacocks of St. Peter’s College, from Jersey City, at 7 p.m. Friday at Newman Arena. Cornell then heads west for the Las Vegas Invitational, beginning with games Sunday at Wisconsin and Tuesday at Arizona State. The final two games of the tournament will be played in Las Vegas.