Saturday, December 29, 2012

Game Recap: Cornell 79, St. Francis (PA) 67

Below, recaps from Friday's game at St. Francis (PA)...



LORETTO, Pa. (Dec. 28, 2012)
– Playing in its final non-conference game of the 2012-13 season, the Saint Francis U men's basketball team dropped a 79-67 home contest to Cornell Friday night at DeGol Arena.

Earl Brown (Philadelphia, Pa./Imhotep Charter) picked up SFU's first double-double of the season with 11 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Along with Brown, four other members of the Red Flash collected double-digit scoring efforts including Umar Shannon (Atlantic City, N.J./Atlantic City) (13), Stephon Whyatt (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peter's Prep) (14), Greg Brown (Odenton, Md./Archbishop Spalding) (16) and Ollie Jackson (Dallas, Texas/Pinkston ) (12).

Earl Brown (Philadelphia, Pa./Imhotep Charter) and Jackson also added three blocks apiece, career-best marks.

The Big Red (5-8, 0-0 Ivy) knocked in the first basket of the contest and was able to hold onto a lead throughout the first half. The Big Red led by as many as 15 in the period but the Red Flash (0-11 0-0 NEC) cut the advantage to seven at the break thanks to some accurate shooting.

Whyatt, Greg Brown (Odenton, Md./Archbishop Spalding) and Jackson tripled teamed a 3-point attack for SFU that sank three consecutive shots from beyond the arc with five minutes remaining in the first half. Defensive stops picked up as well for the Flash as the team finished the half with six blocks and seven in all for the game. Previously the team-high in blocks was three.

As the second period got underway Saint Francis managed a 6-0 run by way of 3-pointers from Whyatt and Jackson that put the Cornell advantage to three points. For the game the Red Flash hit a season-best 10 3-pointers. Turnovers proved to be the downfall for SFU, finishing with 18 and allowing the Big Red to convert those turnovers into 16 points.

“We made a run and made some plays, especially late first half and into the second half, but we've got to do a better job starting games,” head coach Rob Krimmel said. “We need to put ourselves in a position to win games without having to make a miraculous comeback.”

“When you're down like that, you expend a lot of energy coming back,” Krimmel said.

Cornell got a big night from its bench players who contributed 32 points towards the winning total. Johnathan Gray and Errick Peck of Cornell each dropped a game-high 21 points.

SFU shot 41.2% from the floor (21-51) but were edged slightly in rebounds 34-31.

“You want to win – you don't play to lose,” Shannon said. “We'll get it, we'll definitely get it. It's a rocky start [but] we're a confident group.”

Saint Francis kicks off Northeast Conference action at home on Thursday at 7 p.m. when Central Connecticut visits Loretto.

LORETTO, Pa. Sophomore guard Johnathan Gray and senior forward Errick Peck scored 21 points apiece to lead the Cornell men's basketball team to a 79-67 victory over winless St. Francis University Friday night in a non-league game at DeGol Arena.
Center Eitan Chemerinski added 15 points for the Big Red (5-8), which snapped its three-game losing streak on the fourth game of its five-game road swing that ends Sunday afternoon at Binghamton University.

Five players scored in double-figures for the Red Flash (0-11), led by Greg Brown (16 points) and Stephon Whyatt (14).

Cornell shot 50.9 percent from the field (29-for-57), while St. Francis was 21-for-51 from the floor (41.2 percent).

St. Francis' Umar Shannon made three free throws at the 7:53 mark of the first half to pull the Red Flash to within two points, 14-12, but Cornell responded with a 12-1 run over the next 2:47 to extend its lead to 13 points. The Red Flash pulled to within three points on three separate occasions in the second half, but Cornell ended the game on a 21-12 run over the final 8 1/2 minutes to seal the win.

Cornell improved to 4-3 all-time against St. Francis.

After Sunday's game at Binghamton, the Red returns to Newman Arena on Wednesday to face Bucknell. It will be Cornell's first home game since Dec. 1.

Box Score

Box Score (PDF)

LORETTO, Pa. – At shootaround Friday, Cornell head coach Bill Courtney implored his team to put their focus on the defense. He said that if energy was put into the defensive end, the offense would start to come around. After a senior-driven 79-67 win over Saint Francis (Pa.) on Friday evening at DeGol Arena, Courtney looked like a bit of a prophet.

Seniors Johnathan Gray and Errick Peck each had 21 points and classmate Eitan Chemerinski chipped in 15 as Cornell shot 51 percent from the floor, outscored the Red Flash 40-14 in the paint and dictated the pace throughout to snap a three-game skid. Gray added five rebounds, two blocks and two steals, while Peck added seven rebounds and four assists. Sophomore Galal Cancer just missed double figures with nine points, four rebounds and four assists. Senior guard Miles Asafo-Adjei had six assists without a turnover and Shonn Miller had six rebounds in just 17 minutes while battling foul trouble.

The Red Flash had five players score double figures, with Earl Brown posting an 11-point, 12-rebound double-double. Greg Brown scored 16 points, Stephon Wyatt notched 14 points, Umar Shannon had 13 and Ollie Jackson scored 12. Saint Francis hit 10 3-pointers to keep the home team in the game.

The first two minutes of the game set the tone for the game as the Big Red quickly established a lead and dictated the pace.

After the Red Flash won the opening tap, Johnathan Gray picked off a pass and went coast-to-coast for a layup 16 seconds in, a lead it would never relinquish. Shonn Miller stole the ensuing inbounds pass, and though Cornell couldn't convert, the Big Red went down the other end and Eitan Chemerinski drew a charge. That was the first 42 seconds of the game.

Chemerinski took a post feed, made a quick spin move and finished for a layup, then was part of a trap that forced a five-second violation. Another fastbreak layup by the Big Red, again with Chemerinski on the finishing end, and it was 6-2 Cornell less than two minutes in.

Saint Francis was able to settle down and Shannon scored five quick ones for the Red Flash to get back within 8-7 at the first media timeout. The home team hung around until Cornell embarked on a 15-2 run to turn a 14-12 edge into a 29-14 lead with eight minutes to play as the home team went 4:36 without a basket. It was the Errick Peck show for a stretch. The senior assisted on consecutive baskets, including a highlight reel play. Peck tapped out a long rebound to himself, went around his back to avoid a defender and found a cutting Cressler to make it 12-7. Peck then hit a jumper and found two more open shooters from the high post, then ended the run with a conventional three-point play and a fastbreak finish after a Galal Cancer steal.

Leading 41-34 at the half, Cornell didn't run away with the win. Saint Francis remained pesky, making several runs after halftime and got within four points four times and within three points on two other occasions, but the Big Red had an answer each time. Most of those answers were provided by Gray. He hit a 3-pointer, then was fouled shooting another and canned all three free-throw attempts. Peck answered two other mini-runs with buckets, including an offensive putback, and another with a free throw trip.

The Big Red pulled back away late, outscoring the home team 12-6 in the final six minutes and hitting 5-of-6 free throws in the final 71 seconds to ice the game away.

The Big Red returns to action on Sunday, Dec. 30 when it closes out the 2012 portion of the schedule at Binghamton at 2 p.m. at the Events Center in Vestal, N.Y. The game will be televised locally by Time Warner Cable.

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