A pair of former Ivy League players-- Dalen Cuff and Eric Taylor-- will provide analysis of this Saturday's games.
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Game #18: Columbia at Cornell
Tip off: Saturday, Jan. 19, at 3 p.m.
Site: Newman Arena (4,473), Ithaca, N.Y.
2012-13 Records: Columbia (8-6, 0-0 Ivy); Cornell (8-9, 0-0 Ivy)
Series Record: Columbia leads 121-97
Last Meeting: Cornell won 65-60, Jan. 28, 2012 in Ithaca, N.Y.
Radio: HITS 103.3 FM (Barry Leonard, Eric Taylor)
TV: NBC Sports Network (Randy Moss, Dalen Cuff)
Live Stats: available at www.CornellBigRed.com
Live Video: available at www.CornellBigRed.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 (30-43, .411; 13-15 Ivy, .464) ... Courtney became the fifth Robert E. Gallagher '44 Coach of Men's Basketball at Cornell on April 23, 2010.
STORY LINES: The Cornell men's basketball team will open up the Ivy League's 14-game tournament when it battles Columbia on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 3 p.m. at Newman Arena. The contest will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network with Randy Moss and Dalen Cuff on the call. The Big Red and the Lions will open Ivy play for the fifth time in the last six years — Cornell is 3-1 in the four prior contests.
Cornell brings an 8-9 record and wins in four of its last five games into conference play after a 103-84 victory over Division III Old Westbury on Jan. 12. The Big Red's eight non-conference wins were the most since the 2009-10 team won a record 16 outside of Ivy League play and is a mark that has been reached just four times since 1968.
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 - 54.8 points on 35 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 4.8 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 (10.2 ppg.), rebounding (7.4 rpg.), steals (1.8 spg.) and blocks (1.6 bpg.). Seniors Johnathan Gray (9.7 ppg.), Errick Peck (8.3 ppg.) and Eitan Chemerinski (7.5 ppg.) aren't far behind. Also among the balanced scoring group is freshmanNolan Cressler (7.8 ppg.) and sophomore Devin Cherry (7.4 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 (5.6 ppg., 2.6 rpg., 2.5 apg.). Junior guard Dominick Scelfo is averaging 11.0 points over his last four games to raise his scoring to 4.8 ppg.
A WIN OVER COLUMBIA WOULD:
• even the Big Red's record at 9-9.
• make Cornell 3-1 in 2013.
• give Cornell a 5-1 record in its last six games.
• cut Columbia's lead in the all-time series to 121-98.
• be the 1,205th in program history (1,204-1,317 in 114 seasons).
Columbia enters Ivy League play with an 8-6 record, including a win at Villanova. The Lions will be coming off an 11-day break since its last contest, a 78-69 loss at Holy Cross on Jan. 8. 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 9.1 ppg. Cousy Award candidate Brian Barbour leads the team in scoring (13.4 ppg.), assists (5.1 apg.) and steals (1.8 spg.), while freshman Grant Mullins has been impressive in averaging 11.5 ppg. and 3.2 rpg. while shooting 51 percent from the floor overall, 48 percent from 3-point range and 96 percent from the free-throw line. Third-year head coach Kyle Smith has posted a 38-34 record since taking over the Lions' program.
THE CORNELL-COLUMBIA SERIES:
Columbia leads the all-time series between the programs 121-97, though Cornell has won 15 of the last 20 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 opens its 58th official Ivy League season (the league was formally started prior to the 1956-57 season) with a 20-35 record in previous conference openers. Cornell is 15-18 against Columbia in league openers and 15-15 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 45-62 in conference openers (25-28 in the EIBL).
• Cornell is 102-64 (.614) 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 59-16 (.787) over its last 75 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 76-36 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 five contests, Cornell has posted 84 assists with just 63 turnovers.
• The Big Red is averaging 9.5 steals in its last six games, including a season-high 12 against both Old Westbury and Bucknell.
• Cornell's bench has outscored the opposing bench in 16 of the team's 17 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 534-238 so far this year (an average of 31.4-14.0), 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 23.0 minutes per game. Shonn Miller is playing 29.1 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 16 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 two games, Cornell has connected on 21-of-37 shots from 3-point range (.568).
• Cornell snapped a 14-game losing streak in televised games when it knocked off Binghamton on Dec. 30. The Big Red will now attempt to win two in a row since knocking off Temple and Wisconsin in the first two rounds of the 2010 NCAA tournament with a win over Columbia.
• Sophomore Shonn Miller has three or more steals in six games this year and has blocked two or more shots in eight others.
• Miller enters the Columbia game with 295 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 seven wins this season, senior Errick Peck has averaged 11.6 points and 6.0 rebounds while shooting 48 percent from the floor. In its nine losses, Peck is averaging 5.4 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 38 percent from the field.
• Freshman Nolan Cressler has made 26 3-pointers in 17 games this season. He has hit multiple 3-pointers in nine contests (26-of-47, .553) and has been shut out in eight others (0-for-18, .000).
• In his last two games, spanning 40 total minutes, Cressler has hit 10-of-13 shots, including 5-of-6 3-pointers, for 26 points, eight rebounds, three 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 .625, ahead of all-time leader John McCord (.583).
• Senior Johnathan Gray is averaging 17.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in his last five 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 19-of-40 (.475) in his last five games (Cornell 4-1).
• In his last four contests, senior Miles Asafo-Adjei has 21 assists and five turnovers. He has taken just four shots in his 100 minutes of court time.
• In his last four games, sophomore Galal Cancer has 17 assists and six turnovers.
• Cancer needs two steals to hit 50 for his career and has averaged 1.8 per game in his last five games.
• Junior Dominick Scelfo is averaging 11.0 points, 1.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.5 steals in his last four games. He has hit a 3-pointer in eight consecutive contests.
Cornell will head to Columbia for the rematch next Saturday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m. at Levien Gymnasium.