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Game #19: Cornell at Columbia
Tip off: Saturday, Jan. 19, at 3 p.m.
Site: Levien Gymnasium (2,700), New York, N.Y.
2012-13 Records: Cornell (8-10, 0-1 Ivy); Columbia (9-6, 1-0 Ivy)
Series Record: Columbia leads 122-97
Last Meeting: Columbia won 67-58, Jan. 19, 2013 in Ithaca, N.Y.
Radio: HITS 103.3 FM (Barry Leonard)
Live Stats: available at www.GoColumbiaLions.com
Live Video: available at www.GoColumbiaLions.com
Tickets: check availability by calling (607) 254-BEAR
HEAD COACH BILL COURTNEY
Cornell head coach Bill Courtney is in his third season at Cornell (30-44, .405; 13-16 Ivy, .448) ... Courtney became the fifth Robert E. Gallagher '44 Coach of Men's Basketball at Cornell on April 23, 2010.
STORY LINES: The Big Red men's basketball team will attempt to even its Ivy League record and split the conference-opening series with travel partner Columbia when the two teams meet on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. in Levien Gymnasium. Cornell will be looking for its fourth straight road win — a milestone it hasn't accomplished since 2009-10. Cornell went just 5-24 away from home in head coach Bill Courtney's first two seasons.
Columbia earned a 67-58 victory over the Big Red on Saturday largely on the strength of a 13-0 run midway through the second half that erased a Cornell lead. The Lions hit 11-of-18 shots after halftime (61 percent) while running an efficient offense led by senior guard Brian Barbour (16 points) and center Mark Cisco (18 points, nine rebounds). The two teams were picked to finish third (Columbia) and fourth (Cornell) in the preseason Ivy League media poll and have widely been picked to finish in the upper division prior to the season.
The Big Red's offense has been most dangerous when it has gotten itself easy shots from its pressure defense pressure. In Cornell's eight wins it has scored 79.4 points per game on 50 percent shooting. In its losses - 55.1 points on 36 percent shooting. It also has a positive assist-turnover ratio and has limited opponents to 41 percent shooting in the triumphs. That has always been the case with Courtney's teams at Cornell. The defense has been a constant - and when the offense is clicking, Cornell is tough to beat. It is 21-2 when scoring 70 or more points under his watch.
Cornell has been tremendously balanced on the offensive end, with only one player averaging in double figures, though seven other players score more than 4.7 points per game. Leading the way is sophomore Shonn Miller, the reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Year. Miller leads the Big Red in scoring (10.4 ppg.), rebounding (7.2 rpg.), steals (1.8 spg.) and blocks (1.6 bpg.). Seniors Johnathan Gray (9.7 ppg.), Errick Peck (8.0 ppg.) and Eitan Chemerinski (7.4 ppg.) aren't far behind. Also among the balanced scoring group is freshmanNolan Cressler (8.0 ppg.) and sophomore Devin Cherry (7.1 ppg.) in the Big Red's 10-man rotation. Stalwart senior defender Miles Asafo-Adjei leads the team in assists (3.3), while sophomore Galal Cancer has flashed a strong all-court game (5.3 ppg., 2.5 rpg., 2.5 apg.). Junior guard Dominick Scelfo is averaging 9.4 points over his last four games to raise his scoring to 4.7 ppg.
A WIN OVER COLUMBIA WOULD:
• make Cornell 9-10 overall and 1-1 in Ivy play.
• make Cornell 3-2 in 2013.
• give Cornell a 5-2 record in its last seven games.
• cut Columbia's lead in the all-time series to 122-98.
• be the 1,205th in program history (1,204-1,318 in 114 seasons).
Columbia improved to 9-6 (1-0 Ivy) after last weekend's 67-58 win over the Big Red in Ithaca. The Lions have done a great job being efficient on offense with a strong 1.3 assist/turnover ratio while placing four players in double figures and a fifth at 9.7 ppg. Cousy Award candidate Brian Barbour leads the team in scoring (13.5 ppg.), assists (4.9 apg.) and steals (1.8 spg.), while freshman Grant Mullins has been impressive in averaging 11.4 ppg. and 3.2 rpg. while shooting 52 percent from the floor overall, 49 percent from 3-point range and 93 percent from the free-throw line. Third-year head coach Kyle Smith has posted a 39-34 record since taking over the Lions' program.
THE CORNELL-COLUMBIA SERIES:
Columbia leads the all-time series between the programs 122-97, though Cornell has won 15 of the last 21 meetings between the squads. Columbia won three straight before the Big Red pulled out a 65-60 victory over the Lions in Newman Arena on Jan. 28, 2012.
THE IVY OPENER:
Cornell opened its 58th official Ivy League season (the league was formally started prior to the 1956-57 season) with a 67-58 loss to Columbia, dropping its record 20-37 record in conference openers. Cornell is 15-19 against Columbia in league openers and 15-16 at home. The programs' records against opponents in Ivy openers: Brown (0-3), Dartmouth (1-4), Harvard (2-5), Penn (0-2), Princeton (1-1) and Yale (1-2). Going back to its Eastern Intercollegiate Basketball League (a forerunner of the Ivy League), Cornell's record is 45-63 in conference openers (25-28 in the EIBL).
• Cornell is 102-65 (.611) in the last six seasons.
• The Big Red is 51-20 (.728) in its last 71 Ivy League contests over the last six years.
• Cornell is 59-17 (.776) over its last 76 home games.
• In non-conference games, the Big Red is 50-45 (.526) over the last six seasons vs. scholarship programs.
Dating back to the 2004-05 season (nine years), Cornell's 76-37 record is the best among Ivy League teams in conference action. Penn is second at 75-38, followed by Princeton (63-50) and Yale (62-51). Rounding out the field is Harvard (51-52), Columbia (44-69), Brown (43-70) and Dartmouth (28-85). Going back to the 2006-07 campaign, the Big Red is a full games better than anyone else in the league with its 60-25 mark. Penn is second (50-35), followed by Harvard (49-36), Yale (48-37), Princeton (47-38), Columbia (37-48), Brown (32-53) and Dartmouth (17-68).
• In its last six contests, Cornell has posted 97 assists with just 76 turnovers.
• Cornell's bench has outscored the opposing bench in 17 of the team's 18 games this year. It has more than doubled up the opponent in bench scoring in 12 of those games.
• For the year, the Big Red bench has outscored its opponents 556-257 so far this year (an average of 30.9-14.3), including 35-14 vs. Western Michigan, 47-8 vs. Presbyterian, 46-12 vs. Longwood, 29-2 vs. Vanderbilt, 48-24 vs. Boston University, 32-13 vs. Saint Francis (Pa.) and 28-3 vs. Binghamton.
• Only one player is averaging better than 24.0 minutes per game. Shonn Miller is playing 28.8 minutes every night.
• In its last seven wins, Cornell has averaged 81.7 ppg., while shooting 51 percent from the floor (211-of-415).
• Cornell has turned the ball over 19 times or more five times this season, but also has six games where it has turned the ball over 10 times or less.
• Ten different players have reached double figures in scoring at least once in the team's first 18 games.
• 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.
• In its last three games, Cornell has connected on 29-of-56 shots from 3-point range (.518).
• Sophomore Shonn Miller has three or more steals in seven games this year and has blocked two or more shots in eight others.
• Miller enters the Columbia game with 299 career rebounds and is looking to become the first Big Red player to hit 300 rebounds by the end of their sophomore year since Walt Esdaile grabbed 315 in 1966-67 (freshmen weren't eligible). To put 300 rebounds in perspective, he'll be just the 67th player in school history to hit that mark. He is on pace to end the year with more than 400 rebounds, a mark that has only been hit by 43 players all-time for the Big Red.
• In Cornell's eight wins this season, senior Errick Peck has averaged 11.6 points and 6.0 rebounds while shooting 48 percent from the floor. In its 10 losses, Peck is averaging 5.2 points and 3.9 rebounds while shooting 33 percent from the field.
• Freshman Nolan Cressler has made 29 3-pointers in 18 games this season. He has hit multiple 3-pointers in 10 contests (29-of-52, .558) and has been shut out in eight others (0-for-18, .000).
• In his last three games, spanning 72 total minutes, Cressler has hit 14-of-21 shots, including 8-of-11 3-pointers, for 37 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and four steals.
• With his 9-of-12 shooting effort against Longwood, senior Eitan Chemerinski jumped into first place on the school's career field goal percentage list. He surpassed the 100 field goals needed to join the list and is now at .624, ahead of all-time leader John McCord (.583).
• Senior Johnathan Gray is averaging 16.2 points and 4.7 rebounds in his last six games.
• After opening the year 2-of-20 from 3-point range in the first five games, Gray then went 12-of-19 over the next four games (.632). After a 1-of-19 stretch (.053), he has made 21-of-44 (.477) in his last six games (Cornell 4-2).
• In his last five contests, senior Miles Asafo-Adjei has 23 assists and five turnovers. He has taken just six shots in his 116 minutes of court time.
• In his last five games, sophomore Galal Cancer has 21 assists and eight turnovers.
• Cancer needs two steals to hit 50 for his career.
• Junior Dominick Scelfo has hit a 3-pointer in nine consecutive contests.
The Big Red will stay on the road for its first true Ivy weekend when it heads to Princeton (Friday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m.) and Penn (Saturday, Feb. 2, 7 p.m.) for key early Ivy contests.