Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Ithaca Journal Previews Westbury at Cornell

ITHACA — The Cornell men’s basketball team will have its final tuneup before jumping into Ivy League play when it hosts Division III SUNY Old Westbury. Game time Saturday at Newman Arena is 2 p.m.
The game will also serve as Kids’ Day at Newman Arena; all kids will be admitted free, while adult tickets will be $5. Activities will include a bounce house, face-painting, games and prizes, and there will be a meet-and-greet with the team after the game.
Cornell (7-9) will be looking to close out its nonconference slate with its eighth win, the most since the 2009-10 team won a record 16 out of the league en route to the Ivy League title and a berth in the NCAA Sweet 16. The Big Red has reached eight nonconference wins just four times since 1968.
The high-scoring Panthers (10-2, 5-0 Skyline Conference) are riding a six-game win streak, and won a pair of conference games earlier this week — against Mount Saint Vincent (82-79) on Monday and Purchase College (87-75) on Wednesday. Its losses this season came in the opener against Salisbury (Md.) University and in early December at New York University, ranked 21st in Division III.
The Big Red has won three of its last four, including last Sunday’s 68-60 victory at American University in Washington, D.C. All three of those wins came on the road, lifting CU’s road record to 3-5.
Defense keyed the win over the Eagles, as American shot 34 percent from the floor and 24 percent from 3-point range. Johnathan Gray led the Big Red with 19 points and five rebounds, while team scoring leader Shonn Miller added 15 points and seven boards.
Sophomore Miller, last year’s Ivy League Rookie of the Year, is the Red’s lone double-figure scorer at 10.5 ppg.; the 6-foot-7 forward also tops Cornell at 7.4 rebounds and 1.8 steals a game. Five other players are scoring between 7.0 and 8.8 points per game in CU coach Bill Courtney’s 10-man rotation, including a trio of seniors — 6-3 Gray (8.8 ppg.), 6-6 Errick Peck (7.7 ppg.) and 6-8 Eitan Chemerinski (7.4 ppg.).
The Panthers are shooting 48 percent from the field overall and 40 percent from beyond the 3-point arc while averaging 83.6 points per game. Six-foot senior guard Kerel Mitchell (21.5 ppg.) and 6-6 junior swing man Tyrik Tucker (19.3 ppg., 8.2 rpg.) pace the team in scoring, followed by 6-1 senior guard Rashawn McCarthy (15.9 ppg.) and 6-3 sophomore forward Josh Hill (14.7 ppg.).
SUNY Old Westbury is led by 12th-year coach Bernard Tomlin, who has a 178-132 record at the western Long Island school and a 304-269 overall record in 21-plus seasons. Tomlin coached eight seasons at Stony Brook and one apiece at Adelphi and William Paterson.
NOTES: Cornell has played a non-Division I team in all but one of the last 20 seasons, and has gone 19-0 against lower-division opponents. Its average margin of victory in such games is more than 30 points. ... Big Red junior guard Dominick Scelfo is averaging 12.3 points over his last three games, raising his scoring to 4.6 ppg. ... In Cornell’s seven wins, it has scored 76.0 points per game on 47 percent shooting. In its nine losses, the numbers are 54.8 points on 35 percent shooting. ... Cornell’s Ivy League schedule begins next Saturday when the Columbia Lions (8-6) visit Newman Arena for a 3 p.m. tip-off. The game will be shown on the NBC Sports Network.


Anonymous said...

I really hope they are going into Ivy season still aiming to continue improving and taking care of their defects.

I listened to Courtney's 1160 interview and groaned several times. Whenever I hear "we were within single digits of Bucknell or ASU or anybody with such and such minutes to go" I groan. Because -- newsflash! -- so was Dartmouth. It doesn't mean you're a good team or doing well. You're not. I sincerely, sincerely hope he doesn't believe the bull he expects us to swallow.

We are right now at around 5th or 6th and have a legitimate chance of finishing even worse than that, with Brown, a balanced but short-handed team, capable of upsetting people when they're fresh and rested at home, and with Dartmouth showing inexplicable moments of brilliance despite the up and down nature of youth.

Cornell really needs to stop rationalizing and qualifying their (horrible) performance so far and get a real grip on things. I know they'll give him four years, but if he comes 7th or 8th this year, it will be pretty indefensible (it's already indefensible IMHO) and I really hope Andy Noel takes action.

BigRed1965 said...

Remember Steve Donahue's 3rd season, I believe it was? 5-22. He went on to give us the greatest era in Cornell hoops history. Give Coach Courtney a break, Anonymous! It is much too soon to conclude in the negative as to his potential as coach.

Anonymous said...

I can't take anyone who uses the Donahue argument seriously. Donahue did not have players like Miller or Peck or this level of roster talent in general. No reasonable human being would make that argument.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Donahue had some solid talent when he arrived. His first roster included Ray Mercedes and Ka'ron Barnes (both All Ivy guys). He also was in a league where there were only two quality programs (Penn and Princeton). Today, the Ivy has 3 quality programs (aside from Cornell) when you factor in Harvard.

It is not like Donahue arrived and he had 1 or 2 bad seasons. He essentially had 6 seasons of bad to average. Only in his 7th season, the Wittman/Dale rookie year of '06-'07 could you really smell a league title.

But the first SIX (6) seasons were just low to mid division finishes with nothing accomplished outside of the league.

So, let's give Donahue a pass for his first 4 seasons. It takes 4 years to build a program. But then his 5th and 6th were also non-events in the grand scheme.

Anonymous said...

Oh please CBB.

You used to keep insisting that people could see how recruiting talent is improving by looking at how many more Division 1 offers a player has. You used to brag about how folks like Miller, Peck, and Scelfo had offers from places Butler and St. Louis and a whole list of places, while the list of offers for even the class of 2010 was short (or in Foote's case, nonesxistent). You used to repeat the "Div I offers" metric over and over to boast about how Cornell's talent was improving.

Now, in your desperation to defend the present coach, you want us to believe that the talent had actually be stocked for over a decade! Mmm-hmm, that's right, the talent hardly varied at all, it was the same now as it was then. Oh of course, silly us.