Monday, January 21, 2013

Game Recap: Cornell 58, Columbia 67

Recaps and highlights from the Ivy opener...

(Additional Video Highlights from Time Warner Cable/YNN, click here)

Senior forward Josh Figini rolled off a screen to the top of the key, finding the ball in his hands in a familiar spot on the court. With just enough space to get a shot off, he nailed a three-pointer, his second of the game from the top of the arc. His shot cut Columbia’s lead to one with just under 14 minutes left in the game, but it was not enough momentum to propel the Red to a victory. The Lions went on a 13-2 run after that basket, and though the Red fought back throughout the final minutes, the squad dropped its first conference home game of the season, 67-58.
The Lions took advantage of the Red’s offensive drought in the second half, as Columbia’s senior guard Brian Barbour was consistently able to weave his way into the lane.
“We lost a bit of our defensive intensity there and they were able to capitalize,” said senior forward Eitan Chemerinski. “Brian [Barbour] made a couple tough shots and they got some confidence from that.”
When Barbour was not scoring in the paint, he was able to dish the ball out to Columbia big man Mark Cisco or their perimeter shooters.
“We weren’t communicating, weren’t talking to each other and we were a little bit slow on the defensive end,” said senior guard Johnathan Gray. “Maybe fatigue set in, which hasn’t really been a problem for us.”
Columbia had a solid rotation of guards between Barbour, Steve Grankoski and Grant Mullins who pestered the Red’s normally sound defense the entire game. Barbour had 16 points on 5 of 12 shooting, while Mullins and Frankoski combined for 23 points, including five three pointers.
“Their guards were quick, we just have to keep our toughness and make sure we keep the guards out of the lane and keep them from having easy dribble penetration,” Chemerinski said.
“Our individual defense has to be a lot better,” Gray said. “It sounds easy but it will be tough. They have a lot of quick guards and we have to contain them and try to be disciplined. They did a good job spacing us out and making us work the whole shot clock.
Cisco — who gave the Red trouble in its loss to Columbia last season — had another solid game with 18 points and nine rebounds, but most of his scoring again came off dribble penetration by the guards.
“He had a big game but the way he was scoring we’re not too worried about,” Gray said. “He had a lot of drop off opportunities where he just laid the ball in.”
Offensively, the Red was able to stay with the Lions in the first half, going into the locker room down by three. The Red shot the ball well, with Gray and freshman guard Nolan Cressler getting hot from beyond the arc. Cressler had 11 points in the first half with three triples and a tip in under the basket on a missed three-pointer by junior guard Dominick Scelfo. However, Cressler was held scoreless for the final 27 minutes of the game.
Gray was able to pick up where he left off, scoring ten points on the day. He scored seven of the Red’s eight points to end the first half, keeping the squad within striking distance.
In the second half, though, the Red was unable to get as many good looks. Sophomore forward Shonn Miller led the Red’s scoring with 13 points, ten of which came in the final 20 minutes. The two squads traded baskets for most of the half until the Lions made their mini run from which the Red could never recover.
The loss at home is a tough blow to the Red, who had been on a two-game winning streak coming out of winter break. The squad will have to recover quickly for Saturday, when it travels to the Lions’ home turf in New York City for its second Ivy contest. According to Gray, the Red will be studying film tomorrow, working to fix the defensive lapses that occurred this weekend.
“Going on the road is no easy task,” he said. “We feel like we can expect the same thing out of them but they will see some adjustments from us, we just have to go out there and fix the little things.”

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Columbia senior Mark Cisco and Brian Barbour combined for 34 points and the Lions' offensive execution in the second half propelled the visitors to a 67-58 victory over Cornell on Saturday afternoon at Newman Arena. The Lions improved to 9-6 (1-0), while the Big Red slipped to 8-10 (0-1 Ivy) in the Ivy League opener for both teams. Shonn Miller led the Big Red with 13 points to go along with four rebounds, three steals, a blocked shot and an assist, while Nolan Cressler had 11 points and four rebounds off the bench. Johnathan Gray rounded out Cornell's double figure scorers with 10 points. Senior post players Josh Figini (eight points) and Eitan Chemerinski (seven points, six rebounds) fell just shy of double figures. The Big Red outrebounded Columbia 31-25 despite the loss. Barbour ran the show for the Lions, scoring 16 points, while Cisco scored 18 to go along with nine rebounds, most on dump-off passes in the lane from Barbour or freshmen Grant Mullins or Isaac Cohen. Mullins added 10 points, four rebounds and four assists, while Cohen notched four rebounds and seven assists. The Lions made 11-of-18 shots after halftime (61 percent) to finish at .535 for the game. Columbia assisted on 16 baskets while turning the ball over just 10 times, right in line with their season average. The game featured 13 lead changes and seven ties, but Columbia finally took control of the game with a 13-0 run over 4:30 that featured three dump-off passes to Cisco, two for layups and another for a 10-foot jumper from the corner. Barbour immediately went down and scored after a Shonn Miller basket had put the home team up 43-42 with 12:37 left to help the Lions regain the lead. Cohen then found Cisco for a layup and Mullins hit Steve Frankoski for an open 3-pointer. After a Big Red timeout, Cohen again for Cisco for a layup and Mullins scored inside, followed by the freshman finding Cisco open for another jumper. The closest Cornell would get in the final seven minutes was eight points. The first half was played with great pace on both ends, with Columbia taking a 34-31 edge into the locker room.Cressler scored all 11 of his points in the first half, including knocking down 3-of-5 3-pointers. Gray added seven points for the Big Red, who came out strong early, taking a 9-4 edge into the first media timeout. The Lions quickly settled in, evening the score with a 5-0 spurt and it went back and forth much of the first half. Mullins put Columbia up five (34-29) with under a minute to play in the half, but Gray worked himself into the lane for a basket to cut it to three, and the Big Red got a great defensive stand in the final 20 seconds to go into the break down just three points. The two teams will meet each other again next weekend when the Big Red makes the return trip on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. at Levien Gymnasium.
ITHACA, N.Y. - The Columbia men's basketball team kicked off Ivy League play with a 67-58 victory at Cornell in front of a national televised audience on Saturday afternoon. The Lions (9-6, 1-0) played a strong second half, and used a 13-0 run to propel them to victory.
Columbia had a number of players have big games, led by senior Mark Cisco, who poured in 18 points and nine boards. Senior Brian Barbour seemed to come up with big buckets whenever the team needed it, and finished with 16 points. First-year Isaac Cohen came off the bench and provided a huge lift, dishing out a career-high seven assists and adding four rebounds.
The Big Red (8-10, 0-1) took a 9-4 lead after a triple by Cornell's Nolan Cressler from the left corner with 15:52 on the clock. Sophomore Steve Frankoski started and finished an 8-0 spurt with a pair of treys to give Columbia its first lead of the day, 12-9, with 14:21 remaining in the half.
After trading baskets over the next several minutes, Cohen pulled down a defensive rebound and found Frankoski for a pull-up jumper in transition to give the Lions a 19-17 lead. After another Big Red charge, Barbour took over, scoring five-straight to put Columbia on top, 25-23, at the 6:52 mark.
Senior John Daniels also played a pivotal role in the Lions first half success. The Sioux City, Iowa product, found Mark Cisco under the basket for an easy two. On the next possession, Daniels threw down a two-handed slam to put the Lions ahead by two with 3:23 before the break, and Columbia remained in front at the half, 34-31.
Cornell netted the first four points of the second half to take a one-point lead just over two minutes in, and the teams continued to match each other shot-for-shot over the next several moments. Shonn Miller drilled a short jumper to give the Big Red a 43-42 lead with 12:37 remaining, but that would be the last time Cornell held a lead in the contest.
With the shot clock winding down, Cohen fed Cisco for a reverse layup, then pulled down a defensive rebound which led to another Frankoski three-pointer to kick-start the offensive outburst. A 12-footer from the left corner by Cisco put Columbia on top, 55-43, to give the Lions its largest lead of the ballgame with 7:38 on the clock.
Columbia maintained its poise under the Big Red's pressure defense and maintained its comfortable cushion the rest of the way to walk away with the win.
The Lions shot 53.5 percent from the field and were 6-of-13 (46.2 percent) from downtown. Frankoski scored in double-figures for the sixth consecutive game.
The Lions return to Levien Gymnasium to take on the Big Red on Saturday, January 26. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by clicking here or by calling (888) LIONS-11.
ITHACA, N.Y. — The Lions got conference play off to a strong start this afternoon, picking up a 67-58 road win over Cornell.
Columbia (9-6, 1-0 Ivy) started out sluggishly, as the Cornell (8-10, 0-1 Ivy) press proved to be effective in the game's first minutes. The Big Red held a five-point lead with 15:52 to play in the first half.
“We just had a couple miscommunications, and to be a great team we can't have the and we gotta adjust a little more,” senior point guard Brian Barbour said of the Lions' slow start. “I'm sure we'll work on it this week knowing it's coming again right back at us.”
Columbia clawed its way back, buoyed by the three-point shooting of sophomore guard Steve Frankoski and the hustle of senior forward John Daniels. A Frankoski three gave Columbia its first lead, and Daniels provided a spark defensively and on the glass.
“John brings a huge presence on the boards,” senior center Mark Cisco said of Daniels. “He's a high energy player, gets everyone excited, and it's really vital to the team.”
As a unit, the Lions had trouble on the boards in the first half, getting outrebounded, 16-11. But despite allowing six second-chance points in the first half, the Light Blue held a 34-31 halftime lead.
The first ten minutes of the second half were tightly contested. Cornell closed the gap, and briefly recaptured the lead. Neither team was able to secure a convincing lead until a Frankoski three gave Columbia a six-point advantage with 9:47 to play in the game.
Back-to-back field goals by Cisco and freshman guard Grant Mullins gave Columbia a 53-43 advantage with just under 8:30 remaining, and Cisco added another bucket to put the visitors up by 12 and cap off a 13-0 run.
A second-chance score by forward Shonn Miller halted Columbia's run, and a Miller three on the next possession cut the Columbia lead to eight.
After a couple back-and-forth possessions, a pair of Barber free throws put the Columbia lead back at 12 with just over three minutes remaining.
Cornell was unable to gets back on its feet, as Columbia closed out the win to improve to 9-6 on the season and start off conference play with a win.
It’s always good to win on the road in the Ivy League. The Lions took advantage of good offensive spacing and made some key hustle plays in the second half to pull away for a 67-58 victory in Ithaca.
Props to Mark Cisco, who improved his play in the second half, to help Columbia pull away. Cisco matched his career high of 18 points (set in NYC against Cornell last year). Major props also to Brian Barbour, who scored deftly around the hoop against bigger players, and Isaac Cohen, who handled the ball very well, dishing seven assists, mainly to Cisco underneath. Grant Mullins, another frosh, also played under control and hit some big shots.
It should be another tight game next weekend in NYC. Hope the Lions’ faithful and students show up in droves to provide the home court advantage. Some notes from yesterday:
  • It was great to see NBC Sports’ efforts in producing the game nationwide. There were some minor blips (Randy Moss called Skylar Scrivano Cory Osetkowski, for one) but it was a pretty solid broadcast. Dalen Cuff ’06 did his best to be objective and gave good tidbits from both teams’ practices and shootarounds.
  • While Osetkowski is still limited by his left elbow, John Daniels did yeoman’s work to pick up the slack on the front line. Daniels started for Alex Rosenberg, who is still dealing with minor injuries issues himself, and was strong around the basket. His highlight of the day came on a free-wheeling moving to the basket from the three-point line for a two-handed jam in the first half.
  • Steve Frankoski continues to shoot well off the bench. Similar to “The Microwave” Vinnie Johnson and Jimmer Fredette, Frankoski shoots with purpose when he appears on the court. He also has added some mid-range aspects to his game, necessary to keep defenders honest.
  • Alex Rosenberg was quieted offensively, as he was called for a pair of 50-50 charges early. It’s good to see him being aggressive and taking the ball to the hoop. A simple jump stop or different way of drawing contact will turn those into three-point plays down the line.
  • NBC Sports’ Donny Marshall said Columbia was his pick to win the Ivy League during halftime of the broadcast. A former UConn standout, Marshall was complimentary toward Cisco and Barbour after the game.
  • Barbour did what he did often last year, take the ball to the basket and score on unconventional layups. He made a few long-range shots early, then closed the game out with some nice moves against larger defenders like Shonn Miller to keep the Big Red at bay down the stretch.
Next week’s game will be just as hard fought. Kyle Smith likens these games to “football weeks” where a team prepares endlessly and endlessly for an opponent. Cornell will be extra hungry after a subpar second half in front of its home crowd. Columbia should have a strong home crowd behind it next Saturday night at Levien. Should be a fun one!


el said...

barbour is doubt! but cisco is just a big lumbering lummox out on the court. cornell's inability to stop his inside game is a very bad omen. other ivy teams have better big men than cisco. does cu have no one other than chemerinski and figini? i thought the freshmen were blue chip recruits??

mark twain said...

barbour is very doubt! but cisco is just a big slow lummox.if cu big men cannot stop cisco then we are in for a long bad season because other ivy teams have better big men than cisco.i thought the big em recruits in freshmen class were supposed to be blue chip?
and if asafo-adjai(sp??)cannot hit the trey than why is he getting so much playing time?even the nbc color man said its like playin 4 on 5 when he is on the offense!

Anonymous said...

Check the season stat sheet. Fortunately for us, Mark Cisco really is pretty much the Ivy's best true "5." The guys playing the "5" for the other seven league teams are a notch below a healthy Cisco.

The other thing we saw Saturday from the Lions that has not happened often the last four years was 23 minutes from a healthy John Daniels. That made a quiet, but large difference in the game.

Anonymous said...

Some of us saw this result of Courtney's coaching years ago...

Courtney inherited Wroblewski (a starter), Groebe (subbed for ski), Peck (played small but effective minutes), Wire (an important part of the team that saw good minutes his entire career), and Coury (subbed for Foote, played well at Kansas). He basically inherited a complete 1-2-3-4-5 lineup. Against lower division 1 teams like Bryant and both Dartmouth games, this lineup played the bulk of minutes because Donahue did not want to leave the cupboard bare; whenever they played extended minutes, they handled it just fine. All he had to do was supplement this lineup with some capable backups ... Ferry, Johnny, Aro ... just develop a few more people and get a solid 8 to 10 man rotation.

But when they start struggling under Courtney, ignorant buffoons who probably didn't start following Cornell basketball until the 2010 ncaa tournament start calling these guys untalented instead of asking of the offense looked like nonsense because Courtney was drawing up nonsense plans. Denigrating players who had been good enough to be Donahue starters & regular subs, who were unbowed by Kansas or Wisconsin.

Three years later it is obvious there is a coaching issue. Some of us have just been waiting for everyone to catch up. Unfortunately we must wait here as Courtney throws away more years of these players' careers.

Anonymous said...

Most of our Courtney recruits seeing floor time had Ivy level offers (Cressler, Cherry, Cancer, etc.), not high major ones. Shonn had high major interest, not offers, but he was a carryover from Donahue's staff.

Harmon had one "BCS" offer from Utah State. Not sure why he hasn't seen the floor, other than he's more of a project than expected. Bunce was hurt and is "redshirted", and big men with chronic knee problems are worrisome.

Harvard has brought in and continues to bring in terrific players. We've got one kid next year who should contribute. But that's all we've got lined up, with every other team in the league pretty much done with their classes.

It's late in the game to have only one commit. We can hope for better, but kids who hold out this long on Ivy teams are usually doing one of two things: (1) seeing if they get admitted b/c their grades/scores are borderline, or (2) holding out for better offers because they're lukewarm on playing in the Ivy. Let's hope that number one applies and we get a "game changing" addition to our class next year. We know we need the help.

Anonymous said...

CBB...Boston College is currently second to last in the ACC with a conference record of 1 - 3 and an overall record of 9 - 8. If Donahue gets the axe, what are the chances that Andy Noel attempts to woo him back to East Hill?

Anonymous said...

We're halfway through the NBA season and Jeremy Lin is averaging 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists per game. Not bad. Which begs the question: Why is Foote piddling around in Europe? And getting poor minutes to boot?

Anonymous said...

We lose five players to graduation. Four of those seniors are getting significant playing time. At what point do you start shifting minutes to the younger players?

I think every reasonable fan realizes that we have zero chance of playing in a postseason tournament this year, so it might be time to set sights on the future. Loyalty to seniors is important. I get that. But letting Lamore, Harmon, Giddens, etc. rot on the bench won't help the team next year. There has to be a balance.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 2:48: I'd be careful before calling folks "ignorant buffoons" for calling that team lacking in talent: it was a very mediocre (at best) D 1 team. If you think those five were a complete 1-5 lineup that could have played to a significantly better record than it did, that shows how little you know about basketball.

Anonymous said...

I never believed that Ski, Groebe, Peck, Wire, and Coury were untalented (I don't think anyone who actually watched them play under Donahue could possibly believe that), but I didn't doubt the coach back then.(I think maybe calling people buffoons, even when they are wrong, will basically result in their refusing to admit they're wrong and insulting your intelligence in return). I initially just thought that the players were simply having trouble adjusting to Courtney's coaching style.

I think media polls and media members basically reflected some people's (at least my) line of thinking. At first, they voted Cornell 3rd in the media poll, with media people, including Brian Delaney and that guy who covers Div I basketball for Yahoo! (although he didn't vote) saying that Donahue had actually left quite a lot talented people behind. These people weren't all idiots who knew nothing about div I basketball. No one who watched Ski et al play under Donahue, under whom they were completely reliable in both limited and extended minutes, could've forseen the utter hell that was to come.

When the next year went horribly, they then started saying that the problem was that Courtney needed different types of players (more athletic) for his coaching style. So the next year Cornell was voted 6th.

But this year, now that the roster was filled with more athletic people, Cornell was voted up again. It was widely repeated that Courtney now had enough athletic people on his roster to make his plan work. The team was supposed to get better.

But the team somehow got even worse. They went from struggling mid-major to downright cupcake.

At this point, evidence is strongly pointing to the possibility that Courtney might've been the problem all along. Although no one is coming right out and saying it, slowly and surely, I am hearing fewer and fewer people defending his coaching.

mark twain said...

the fact remains that this program is rapidly devolving into the lowest echelon of ivy hoops. it is a coaching issue. this team cannot play the helter skelter style as if they had george mason talent and intensity. we need a quality ivy style program!!not a wannabe of something unrealistic

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:02...I can tell you with complete confidence and knowledge that Shonn Miller was a) NOT a carry over from Donahue and b) had more than one high major offer. Even now, if he so decided to go elsewhere, there is definite interest in him. He chose to come to Cornell.

I can also assure all who post here that if Bill Courtney, for any reason, is not the coach at Cornell, Shonn Miller along with a other players, will not be at Cornell.

Calm Down or just stop watching if it is sooo painful.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Shonn Miller was not a Donahue recruit and the Boston College staff did not even know who he was in high school.

The current guys on the team are very loyal to the current staff.

In three seasons of Bill Courtney, he has lost only 1 kid-- Manny Sahota and that was after Manny battled with an injury for 2 years.

Jerome Allen and Tommy Amaker have lost more kids in 1 year than Bill has lost in 3 years.

If fans want to criticize Bill, they have a right to do so. But facts are facts. Bill's team is an Ivy model of cohesiveness. The kids and the coaches have stuck together through good times and bad.

Anonymous said...

CBB's own words: "Miller was first recruited by Cornell's former coaching staff with the current staff continuing his courtship throughout the summer and fall."

Available at

That posting also says that Shonn had strong interest from high majors, not offers. I'm not being critical, I just want to know, which is it?

Anon 3:28, the earlier post wasn't critical of Bill. His players play hard for him, and I think all of the overzealous criticism of him is misguided.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Yes, Miller received some mailers from the prior staff---- along with about 1,000 other kids in his graduating class. But they did not follow him around at games or camps. The relationship was started by Bill Courtney and Marlon Sears.

Donahue's staff recruited all of the seniors and all of the juniors. None of the sophomores were recruited by Donahue's staff.

They did not know Devin Cherry, they did not know Shonn Miller etc.

They were very familiar with Holt Harmon once they arrived at Boston College-- and liked him a lot.

Brian Polivy said...

a basketball coach is not measured on whether they can "keep a team together" every half decent coach can do that. The problem is he is incompetent in terms of running an offense and we constantly look inept. i

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:53

I can tell you factually that Shonn Miller was not recruited by the previous staff at Cornell. The first Ivy to approach Miller was Columbia followed very closely by Penn. The two individuals who were actively recruiting him at Columbia and Penn were Sears and Martin who left both of those schools to coach elsewhere.

Out of respect for Miller and his family, I will not name the two BCS schools that I know actually offered them because they have not put it out themselves but I will say that one was in the big 10 and the other was in the SEC. He also had other strong interest from two other schools that were ready to offer but he committed to Cornell days before they were prepared to put the offer out there.

The reason it is not common knowledge is because they are a pretty private family and choose to keep those things close to the vest because as I was told his mother's thought are "where he could have gone is irrelevant," so she will not talk about it.

I have had the privilege of seeing Shonn Miller play when he first started playing basketball the summer of 8th grade year and I have enjoyed watching him play at Cornell and am excited to see him the remainder of this season and the next two.

I hope this clears it up for you.