Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Cornell Athletics Game Notes for Bucknell

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Game #15: Bucknell at Cornell
Tip off: Wednesday, Jan. 2, at 7 p.m.
Site: Newman Arena (4,473), Ithaca, N.Y.
2012-13 Records: Bucknell (12-2, 0-0 Patriot); Cornell (6-8, 0-0 Ivy)
Series Record: Bucknell leads 24-23
Last Meeting: Bucknell won 63-60 (Dec. 31, 2011 in Lewisburg, Pa.)

Radio: HITS 103.3 FM (Barry Leonard, Eric Taylor)
TV: None
Live Stats: available at www.CornellBigRed.com
Live Video: available at www.CornellBigRed.com
Tickets: check availability by calling (607) 254-BEAR

Cornell head coach Bill Courtney is in his third season at Cornell (28-42, .400; 13-15 Ivy, .464) ... Courtney became the fifth Robert E. Gallagher '44 Coach of Men's Basketball at Cornell on April 23, 2010.

ITHACA, N.Y. -- The Cornell men's basketball team has already played nationally ranked Duke and Wisconsin among four BCS teams this season, but it will open the 2013 portion of its schedule against arguably the best offensive team on its schedule when it meets reigning Patriot League regular season champion Bucknell on Wednesday, Jan. 2 at 7 p.m. at Newman Arena. Cornell will attempt to build on the momentum of two consecutive wins as it puts together final preparations for the Ivy League play. As a continuing celebration of the new year, Cornell will be offering $2 tickets to fans to see the matchup.

Cornell brings a 6-8 record into the contest after a 79-77 win at Binghamton on Sunday afternoon, its second road win in three days. The Big Red has upped its game over the last two outings, especially on the offensive end where it averaged 79.0 points on .487 shooting while knocking down 16 3-pointers. The Big Red's pressure defense has come back to life, turning its opponents over an average of 18.0 times per game and attempting 17 more field goals than its opponents. It has also taken care of the ball, turning it over just 23 times to go along with its 33 assists. Seniors Eitan Chemerinski (16.0 ppg., 3.0 rpg., .923 field goal percentage), Johnathan Gray (19.5 ppg., 5.5 rpg.) and Errick Peck (16.5 ppg., 6.0 rpg.) have led the way over their last two games.

The Big Red has been solid on the defensive end all season, but Cornell has been most dangerous when it has gotten itself easy shots from the pressure. In Cornell's six wins it has scored 77.3 points per game on 48 percent shooting. In its losses - 54.6 points on 35 percent shooting. It also has a positive assist-turnover ratio and has limited opponents to 40 percent shooting. That has always been the case with head coach Bill Courtney's teams at Cornell. The defense has been a constant - and when the offense is clicking, Cornell is tough to beat. It is now 20-2 when scoring 70 or more points under his tenure.

Cornell has been tremendously balanced on the offensive end, with no player averaging in double figures, yet six players score more than 7.3 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 (9.9 ppg.) and ranks second in the league in rebounding (7.9 rpg.) and blocks (1.7 bpg.) and is fourth in steals (1.7 spg.). Chemerinski and Gray are both averaging 8.4 points and Peck is fourth at 8.2 ppg. Freshman Nolan Cressler (7.6 ppg.) and sophomore Devin Cherry (7.3 ppg.) aren't far behind in the Big Red's 10-man rotation. Stalwart senior defender Miles Asafo-Adjei leads the team in assists (3.0), while sophomore Galal Cancer has flashed a strong all-court game (5.0 ppg., 2.6 rpg., 2.3 apg.).

• make the Big Red 7-8 on the season.
• even Cornell's record in the all-time series with the Bison to 24-24.
• make Cornell 139-115 all-time against members of the Patriot League, including 3-4 under head coach Bill Courtney.
• be the 1,203rd in program history (1,202-1,316 in 114 seasons).

ABOUT BUCKNELL: The Bison brings a 12-2 record into the contest after a dominant 66-46 victory at Loyola (Md.) on Dec. 28. Bucknell is one of the best offensive teams in the country, shooting 46 percent from the floor with an impressive 1.30 assist:turnover ratio while hitting on 36 percent from 3-point range. It has been equally impressive on the defensive end, limiting foes to 37 percent shooting overall and outrebounding opponents by 5.0 per game while allowing less than 59 points per night. Senior Mike Muscala is averaging 19.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game while shooting 54 percent from the floor to lead four double figure scorers. Bryson Johnson (11.4 ppg., 31 3-pointers), Cameron Ayers (11.3 ppg., 4.3 rpg.) and Joe Willman (11.1 ppg., 5.9 rpg.) are also in double figures on the year. After a 2011-12 Patriot League regular season title and an NIT appearance a season ago during a 25-win campaign, the Bison are looking to return to the NCAA tournament this year under fifth-year head coach Dave Paulsen. Among its wins this season, the Bison have knocked off Purdue, Niagara and Loyola (MD) on the road and George Mason, Kent State and La Salle at home.

THE CORNELL-BUCKNELL SERIES: Bucknell holds a razor-thin 24-23 lead in the all-time series after Bison's 63-60 victory last season in Lewisburg, Pa. The two teams had their first meeting in the 1899-1900 season when the Bison won 29-10. The Big Red snapped a five-game losing streak to Bucknell in the series with a 75-64 triumph at home during the 2008-09 season before capturing a thrilling 104-98 overtime victory in 2009-10 in the last meeting in Lewisburg, Pa. Bucknell has won the last two meetings.

CORNELL VS. THE PATRIOT LEAGUE: Cornell is 138-115 all-time against current members of the Patriot League, including 23-24 vs. Bucknell. The Big Red has also played American (0-1), Army (20-13), Colgate (71-53), Holy Cross (2-3), Lafayette (7-11), Lehigh (13-9) and Navy (2-1).

• Cornell is 100-63 (.613) in the last six seasons.
• The Big Red is 51-19 (.729) in its last 70 Ivy League contests over the last six years.
• Cornell is 58-15 (.795) over its last 72 home games, including 53-14 (.791) in the last six years.
• In non-conference games, the Big Red is 48-44 (.522) over the last six seasons vs. scholarship programs.

Dating back to the 2004-05 season (nine years), Cornell's 76-36 record is the best among Ivy League teams in conference action. Penn is second at 75-37, followed by Princeton and Yale, each tied at 62-50. Rounding out the field is Harvard (50-52), Columbia (43-69), Brown (42-70) and Dartmouth (28-84). Going back to the 2006-07 campaign, the Big Red is a full 10 games better than anyone else in the league with its 60-24 mark. Penn is second (50-34), followed by Yale and Harvard (48-36), Princeton (46-38), Columbia (36-48), Brown (31-53) and Dartmouth (17-67).

• In its last two games, Cornell has led for 79:25 of a possible 80 minutes played (99.3 percent of minutes played). It hasn't trailed in leading wire-to-wire on the road.
• Cornell's bench has outscored the opposing bench in 13 of the team's 14 games this year. It has more than doubled up the opponent in bench scoring in 10 of those games.
• For the year, the Big Red bench has outscored its opponents 443-194 so far this year (an average of 31.6-13.9), 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 23 minutes per game. Shonn Miller is playing 29.3 minutes every night, and second on the team is senior Miles Asafo-Adjei at 22.1 mpg.
• In its last five wins, Cornell has averaged 80.2 ppg., while shooting 49 percent from the floor (147-of-298) and has outrebounded teams by 3.2 per game (35.8-32.6).
• The Big Red has held a rebounding edge over its opponent in seven of the last 10 games and has allowed just 29 offensive rebounds in the last five games (5.8 per game).
• Cornell has turned the ball over 19 times or more four times this season, but also has four 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 14 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.

Shonn Miller has three or more steals in six games this year and has blocked two or more shots in six contests.
• Miller is averaging 9.5 rebounds per game in his last six outings with at least one block in each of those games.
• In Cornell's five wins this season, senior Errick Peck has averaged 12.6 points and 6.2 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the floor. In its eight losses, Peck is averaging 5.4 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 38 percent from the field.
• Peck is averaging 16.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 blocks in his last two games.
• Freshman Nolan Cressler has made 21 3-pointers in 14 games this season. He has hit multiple 3-pointers in seven contests (21-of-41, .512) and has been shut out in seven others (0-for-15, .000).
• 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 .643, ahead of all-time leader John McCord (.583).
• In his last nine games, Chemerinski is averaging 11.0 points on .776 shooting (38-of-49). He has averaged 23.8 minutes per game in those contests.
• Senior Johnathan Gray is averaging 19.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in his last two 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 made 9-of-20 (.450) in his last two games, both Big Red wins.
• In his last two contests, senior Miles Asafo-Adjei has 11 assists and just one turnover.

The Big Red will close out non-conference play with a visit to American on Sunday, Jan. 6 at 2 p.m., followed by a home game against Division III Suny-Old Westbury on Saturday, Jan. 12 at 2 p.m. at Newman Arena.

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