Sunday, January 27, 2013

Game Recap: Cornell 66, Columbia 63

Box Score

Box Score (PDF)

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Cornell used a 15-1 first half run to take control of the game and held on late against a relentless Lion squad to earn a hard-fought 66-63 win over Columbia in a sold-out Levien Gymnasium on Saturday evening. The win imrpved Cornell to 9-10 (1-1 Ivy), while the Lions slipped to 9-7 (1-1 Ivy).

The victory, Cornell's fourth straight on the road, came in large part due to the play of its bench. The Big Red held a domininat 45-19 edge in scoring from their reserves, including a career-best 19 points from sophomore Galal Cancer. Cancer added five rebounds, three assists and outstanding defense on Columbia leading scorer Brian Barbour, who scored 15 points bu shot just 5-of-17 from the field. Overall, Cornell limited the Lions to 36 percent shooting overall and 31 percent from 3-point range. It attempted 12 more free throws, held a 37-34 rebounding edge and turned the ball over just 11 times.

In other words, all the things a team typically needs to do to win on the road.

Along with Cancer, who made 11-iof-12 free throws, including two with four seconds to play, senior Josh Figini also came up big off the bench. Figini scored 12 points, had four rebounds, a blocked shot and a steal in 29 minutes. He was pressed into extended action, 29 minutes, in part due to Eitan Chemerinski coming down sick. The senior was able to play just four minutes, a short stint at the beginning of both halves.

Just missing a double-double and affecting the game throughout was sophomore Shonn Miller, who had nine points, 11 rebounds and a key second half blocked shot with two minutes remaining that would have potentially tied the game. Domionick Scelfo chipped in seven points.

For Columbia, Barbour led the way with 15, while Alex Rosenberg had 13 points and five rebounds and Maodo Lo scored 11. The Lions were credited with 16 assists and just eight turnovers in the loss.

Trailing by 15 points with under 10 minutes to play, the Lions were able to cut the lead to one with eight seconds left, and Barbour had a last-second shot to tie. Cornell switched out the final possession, and Miller and Johnathan Gray stood tall, forcing an errant shot that bounced harmlessly offline. Four free throws by Cancer in the final 2:06 helped the visitors hold on.

Columbia jumped out to a 4-0 lead as the Big Red missed its first six shots of the game before Cancer got Cornell on the board with a 15-footer at the shot clock buzzer five minutes in. Seeing one go turned the game around for the Big Red, who made five of their next six shots as part of a 15-1 run over the next 4:53. Cornell's spurt extended with a Figini 3-pointer to push the advantage to 11 (18-7). The home team answered with seven straight to make it 18-14 heading into the under-eight minute timeout.

Slowly, Cornell started pulling away, scoring 13 of the last 18 points of the first half to go into the break leading 31-19. The Lions shot just 28 percent from the floor and Cornell held a 23-17 edge on the backboards. Though the Big Red shot just 33 percent itself, it turned the ball over just twice in the first 20 minutes.

In the second half, the Big Red led by double figures for the first 11 minutes, though there were some fireworks. Columbia's John Daniels got a free run down the lane and threw down a thunderous dunk while being fouled. On Cornell's ensuing possession, Miller grabbed a missed shot and stuffed it down while surrounded by a pair of Lions. Daniels' dunk lit the loud, capacity crowd on fire. Until Miller momentarily quieted them back down with his answer.

The Lions made their run, but Cornell seemingly had an answer each time, particularly from Cancer, who was able to get where he wanted on the floor at will. He nailed a couple of midrange jumpers to stem Columbia runs, while sophomore Devin Cherry also had a pair of key second half baskets to hold the Lions at bay.

The Big Red will stay on the road to face Princeton on Friday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. at Jadwin Gymnasium.

Sophomore reserve guard Galal Cancer scored a career-high 19 points as the Cornell men’s basketball team extended its road win streak to four games Saturday by holding off Columbia, 66-63, at sold-out Levien Gym.
A decisive 15-1 first-half run propelled the Big Red (9-10, 1-1 Ivy League) by returning the favor against the Lions (9-7, 1-1), who a week earlier beat the Red, 67-58, at Newman Arena.
Cornell’s bench keyed the victory, led by Cancer, who chipped in five rebounds and three assists.
Overall, Cornell limited the Lions to 36 percent shooting and held a 37-34 rebounding edge.
Cancer, who played 30 minutes, made 11 of 12 free throws, including two in the final four seconds. Senior Josh Figini came up big off the bench, scoring 12 points and pulling down four rebounds in 29 minutes.
Sophomore Shonn Miller had nine points, 11 rebounds, and reserve guard Dominick Scelfo chipped in seven points.
Cornell led by 15 points with less than 10 minutes to play, but the Lions were able to cut the lead to one with eight seconds left and had a last-second shot to tie that bounced offline.

After a disappointing loss to Columbia (9-7, 1-1 Ivy League) last weekend, the Cornell men’s basketball team (9-10, 1-1) got back on track on Saturday by beating the bulldogs 66-63 in N.Y.C.

The Red entered the half up by 12 due to a 15-1 run and held off a late Columbia rally to hang on for the win. According to junior forward Errick Peck, the team recognized the importance of winning the game and maintaining its Ivy League championship hopes.

“[This game] was huge,” Peck said. ”[It] was a huge confidence boost from a team perspective to lose to a team in a pretty embarrassing fashion, then [to] go out and beat them in their own house. I think we showed a lot of toughness as a unit last night.”

A big factor in the victory was the Red’s ability to draw fouls and capitalize on its opportunities. After getting to the line just five times against the same team last weekend, the Red was 25-29 from the charity stripe on Saturday. 

“In the first game, we only got to the line 5 times, which was a little bit uncharacteristic of us,” said senior guard Miles Asafo-Adjei. 

The Red went into Saturday’s game with head coach Bill Courtney emphasizing that it needed to attack the paint in order to generate offense.

“Coach mentioned that [fact] before the game and all week, so [that] was something on our mind,” Asafo-Adjei said. “In the first half, we weren’t making shots … But we were being aggressive and getting to the basket and getting fouled, which definitely helped us get a big lead going into halftime.”The Red has benefited from its depth all season, as head coach Bill Courtney regularly plays nine players in his rotation. This proved important once more against Columbia when the Red’s bench outscored the Lion’s bench 45-19. In fact, the squad’s two leading scorers, sophomore guard Galal Cancer and senior forward Josh Figini, both came off the bench.Cancer scored a career-high 19 points and added five rebounds, three assists and a steal. He was a big reason why the Red shot so many free throws, going 11-12 from the stripe himself. Canncer’s teammates said they were not surprised at his performance and expect to see more of the same in the future.“[Cancer] played extremely well,” Peck said. “We see it every day in practice so hopefully you guys will see it more and more as the Ivy League season progresses. He’s capable of doing this every game.”Figini also gave the Red a boost off the bench, playing a season-high 29 minutes. He scored 12 points, including two big three-pointers late in the game, and added four rebounds, a block and a steal.“Josh has been playing great as of late,” Asafo-Adjei said. “He’s been shooting the ball really well. Last night, he shot it well, had a couple big three’s late in the game and has been doing other things well too; he’s been playing great defense for us and rebounding well on top of his scoring.”Last week, Columbia center Mark Cisco and point guard Brian Barbour led the way for the Lions with 18 and 16 points, respectively, but they were much quieter this time around, as the Red put extra emphasis on stopping their two best players. Cisco scored just six points and only grabbed two rebounds.“We did a much better job of just being more aggressive and attacking their defense and Cisco in particular,” Peck said. “Getting him in foul trouble early turned out to work in our favor.”Last weekend, Cisco’s 18 points came mostly off easy layups in the paint after Columbia’s quick guards penetrated the lane.“For Cisco, we just didn’t want him to get any easy shots off dump-off [passes]. Part of that was staying in front of Barbour and not letting him get in the lane and dropping off passes, but all the credit to our posts for making all his shots difficult and making him work all night long,” Asafo-Adjei said.Barbour still scored 15 points, but on an inefficient 5-17 from the floor.“Limiting those 2 guys was a big focus for us,” Asafo-Adjei said. “Barbour is obviously a tremendous player for them; he can get to the basket and is also a very good shooter. Our main goal was just to try and stay in front of him and make every shot a contested shot and we did a great job of that all night. I think we played great team defense [on him], it wasn’t just one guy, it was a lot of guys who guarded him.”Columbia put together a run near the end of the second half, but it was too little too late for the Lions. Barbour converted an and-one layup to close the lead to just one with eight seconds left, but Cancer hit two of his 11 free throws on the night to seal the game. Barbour got off a tough look to tie the game at the buzzer, but it did not fall, giving the Red its first conference victory of the season.

Columbia staged a gutsy comeback on Saturday night but was unable to come away with a win in its Ivy League home opener, falling to the Big Red 66-63.

For both teams, the game got off to a slow offensive start. When Cornell (9-10, 1-1 Ivy) made its first bucket five minutes into the game, the score was 4-2 Columbia. Columbia (9-7, 1-1 Ivy) hit a free throw to increase its lead to three before Cornell caught fire and reeled off a 13-0 run. Columbia regrouped and cut the deficit to four, but the Big Red closed out the half strongly and was up 31-19 at the break.

“We dug ourselves such a hole that it was going to be tough,” Lions head coach Kyle Smith said. “They were able to dictate the way they wanted to play.”

Cornell’s bench was a significant factor in the first half and continued to come up big for the visitors throughout the game. The Big Red subs ended up outscoring their Columbia counterparts 45-19.

“Our bench has been strong for us all year,” Cornell head coach Bill Courtney said. “We play about 10-11 guys, and there’s really not a lot of separation between our first five and our second five.”

Neither team was able to gain a decisive edge in the early minutes of the second half. Cornell maintained its double-digit lead but was unable to get up by more than 15.
Columbia got a couple of big momentum plays out of freshman guard Maodo Lo and senior forward John Daniels. Lo hit a couple of big threes, and Daniels was a force to be reckoned with on the boards. Daniels also added an and-one dunk that provided a shot of adrenaline to the Levien Gymnasium crowd.

“I was really hoping to kind of jump-start the team,” Daniels said of his dunk,of his dunk which was No. 3 on SportsCenter’s top 10 plays on Sunday. “I know I felt energized after it, and the team did too.”

“But we just need to execute more. You can have all the energy, but if you don’t execute, it’s just really futile,” Daniels added.

Led by senior point guard Brian Barbour, the Light Blue slowly clawed its way back into the game in the game’s final 10 minutes. With 8:09 to play, Barbour cut the Big Red lead to single digits. Fewer than three minutes later, a Barbour three cut the lead to six, and with just over 3:15 to play, the senior got his team within five.

A tremendous three by Lo brought Columbia within two with fewer than three minutes to play, but Cornell held the Lions at bay until an old-fashioned three by Barbour brought Columbia within one with 8.5 seconds left in the game.

The Light Blue got a scare when Barbour hit the floor hard after getting fouled, but he was eventually was able to get back up and hit the free throw.

A pair of free throws gave Cornell a three-point lead in the game’s final seconds, and the Lions were unable to pull off the miracle win as the Big Red closed out a 66-63 victory.

NEW YORK - For Columbia fans, it was a heartbreaker, but it was one tremendous basketball game. Columbia rallied from a 14-point deficit and cut the lead to one with minutes left, but Cornell escaped with a 66-63 win in Levien Gymnasium Saturday night.
Trailing by as many as 15 points with less than 10 minutes to play, Columbia got two free-throws by Mark Cisco to start a Columbia rally. After Cisco hit a jumper with nine minutes remaining, Grant Mullins grabbed a defensive rebound, which resulted in a layup by Brian Barbour with 8:11 to play to cut the lead to nine.
The teams traded baskets for just over a minute, but Cisco hit a layup off a pass from Mullins and Noah Springwater came up with a block and a rebound to set up a Barbour three pointer with 6:29 to play. Barbour's three, assisted by Rosenberg, cut the lead to six. 
With 3:34 left to play, Shonn Miller hit two free-throws to extend the Cornell lead to eight, but Barbour hit a three on the ensuing play to cut the lead to five. The Lions used that momentum during the next sequence. Columbia got a defensive rebound from Maodo Lo, and Cisco found Barbour after an offensive rebound. Barbour collected the ball at the top of the key and hit a triple to cut the lead to two with 2:48 to play, and excite the crowd of 2,583 fans.
As was the story with most of the game, Cornell extended the lead with two free throws, and neither team scored again until the eight second mark, when Barbour scored on a circus shot layup in traffic and got fouled. He took a while to get up, but hit the foul shot and cut the lead to one with eight seconds remaining.
The Lions were ready with tough defense on the in-bounds play, but Alex Rosenberg was called for a foul. Galal Cancer hit both free throws to ice the game for the Big Red.
Columbia still had an opportunity to tie the game with 4.8 seconds remaining, but Barbour's shot hit the left side of the rim.
Neither team shot well, with Cornell shooting 38.8-percent for the game, and Columbia shooting at a 36.1 clip.
The difference in the game came from the free throw line, where Cornell shot 25-29, while Columbia shot 11-17. Columbia made more shots from the floor (22-19) and more three-pointers (8-3) than Cornell.
Barbour led the team with 15 points, three assists, three rebounds and a steal. Lo added 11 points. Rosenberg was a tremendous spark for the Lions with 13 points, five rebounds, two assists and one steal. The highlight of the night was a monster John Daniels dunk in the second half. Daniels, who finished with five points, six rebounds and an assist caught the pass and dunked over a jumping Shonn Miller for an old fashioned three-point play.
G. Cancer led Cornell with 19 points.  Josh Figini had 12 in the win.


Anonymous said...

Did bunce dress for Columbia? It looks like he's suited up in the photo...

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Bunce did not travel with the team. Nor did Jamal Cherry or Robert Mischler. You will most likely not see Bunce this season. He will likely save his eligibility just like Peck did a year ago. Could be a massive benefit hidden in disguise. Big guy gets a year of weight room and academics in order, then we get him for 4 full years.

Anonymous said...

To quote the Godfather III, "Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in." I didn't even start watching the game until 24 minutes in because I forgot they were playing, which reflects how much I cared about the team anymore.

It's hard to get my hopes up, though, after last year when they got us all excited with a W over Princeton only to put up a stinker against Penn the next night. Especially since the wild inconsistency continues... Galal & Figs randomly had good games, while Johnny and Errick, our #2 and #3 leading scorers, had even more awful games than usual. This kind of up and down and not knowing who is going to have a good or bad day on the whole leads to an upset or two but overall a mediocre record.

Anonymous said...

Hey anon 1:30-- here's an idea: just stop watching and posting if you don't care about the team. You won't be missed.

Anonymous said...

Good Lord, that Harvard-Dartmouth game was a heartbreaker. Well, we've learned one thing. Harvard is winning not because, or at least not only because, they admit more low AI players.

Harvard was down by 10 with 95 seconds left, down by 7 with 70 seconds left, and came back to win in overtime.

Amaker has made a deal with the devil, I'm sure of it. Beelzebub himself left the gates of Hades and got involved in the end of that basketball game.

Anonymous said...

Bill Courtney almost lost this game himself. With 6 minutes left in the game and a double digit lead, he has the team running down the court, chucking up horrible shots with 25 seconds left on the shot. Just horrible. Is it a lack of discipline he has instilled on the team or is his basketball acumen just that bad? I'm going with both.

Anonymous said...

Why in the world did Harmon wear running shoes to the game?

Anonymous said...

Can you post the Daniels and Miller dunks?

Anonymous said...

Bill Courtney almost lost this game himself. With 6 minutes left in the game and a double digit lead, he has the team running down the court, chucking up horrible shots with 25 seconds left on the shot. Just horrible. Is it a lack of discipline he has instilled on the team or is his basketball acumen just that bad? I'm going with both.

Anonymous said...

Bill Courtney almost lost this game himself. With 6 minutes left in the game and a double digit lead, he has the team running down the court, chucking up horrible shots with 25 seconds left on the shot. Just horrible. Is it a lack of discipline he has instilled on the team or is his basketball acumen just that bad? I'm going with both.

Anonymous said...

Watching Harvard and Dartmouth game hopes were so high that H would take a L!!! But did u c those two set plays which gave them two clean open looks at threes which fell at around the minute mark!!!! That was good coaching. Need to c some of that on the sidelines of BigRed.

Also if became quite apparent that Harvard is beatable and won't run away with any title this year. Can u imagine playing back to back games like that one. Believe we have better talent than they do, question only is can the right combination of BigRed players c the floor at the same time with a plan and purpose of beating Harr Vvard.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:57, your reading comprehension skills are not the best.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win. Now on to New Jersey...