Saturday, February 9, 2013

Game Recap: Cornell 65, Harvard 67

Box Score

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ITHACA, N.Y. -- Cornell outscored Harvard 13-0 in the final four minutes, got an open 3-point look in the final seconds and did everything it could to try and complete a comeback of the ages. The defending conference champion, which has been in the same position every weekend of Ivy play, shrugged it off and held on for a 67-65 victory over Cornell on Friday evening at Newman Arena to remain unbeaten in Ivy League play. The Big Red slipped to 10-12 (2-3 Ivy), while the Crimson moved to 13-6 (5-0 Ivy).

Senior Errick Peck had 17 points, nine rebounds and three assists in a monster game off the bench, helping spearhead a charge that saw Cornell rally for a 21-point second half deficit to close within two in the final 30 seconds. Peck got a chance for the win with three seconds left, chased down his own offensive rebound and appeared to trip as he wentg out of bounds as time expired. One official seemed to signal a foul, but it was overruled as after the buzzer and the Crimson picked up its fourth conference win by three points or less so far this season.

While the Crimson have played the role of cardiac kids this season, their latest sweat came thanks to a dominant final four minutes and change from the Big Red. Trailing by 15 after Christian Webster's fifth 3-pointer of the night made it 67-52 with 4:21 left, Cornell outscored Harvard 13-0 the rest of the way.

The run started innocently enough, as Peck drew a foul and hit both free throws. After the final media timeout, Galal Cancer calmly stepped to the line and made two more. Shonn Miller stepped in front of a pass and threw down a highlight-reel dunk and then blocked a shot on the other end that resulted in a run-out layup for Johnathan Gray. All of a sudden, Cornell trailed just 67-60 with 2:34 remaining. Miller stole the ball again and Cancer found Gray for a 3-pointer to make it 67-63. The Big Red got a defensive stop and after a missed trey by Miller, Peck battled and won a loose ball for the offensive rebound and hit a short jumper in the lane to make it 67-65.

Harvard was able to work the clock and drew a tough foul on Miles Asafo-Adjei, but freshman guard Siyani Chambers missed the front end of the 1-and-1. Peck rebounded the ball and led the offensive charge. Chambers poked the ball away in the frontcourt just enough to throw off Peck's balance and his jumper from the top of the key went wide. He crased the board and picked up his own rebound, but couldn't draw a whistle as time ran out.

Miller, who was so dominant defensively in the final four minutes, finished with 13 points, three bocks and two steals, while Gray had 12 points and two steals. Cornell shot 49 percent form the floor and held a 27-24 rebounding edge. The Big Red's bench held a commanding 33-11 scoring edge.

Harvard's balance was on display as Chambers ran the show, finishing the night with 18 points, 11 assists and five rebounds for an offense that shot 55 percent from the floor. Christian Webster finished with 17 points and six rebounds, including 5-of-11 from 3-point range. Wesley Saunders had 14 points and four rebounds and Steve Mondou-Missi netted 11 points and blocked two shots. Harvard efficiently shot 55 percent from the floor and 44 percent from 3-point range.

The Crimson seemed destined to cruise to the win, entering halftime with a 16-point lead (38-22) and generally looking like it might run Cornell out of the building. But it never did. Even in going up 21 points early in the second half, the Big Red never let the game get out of hand. But it was hard to guess Cornell's final flourish was coming, except that the building's energy took off.

The student section, full on a snowy night, kept the intensity high and nearly blew the roof off when Miller threw down his coast-to-coast dunk with three minutes left the same as his alley-oop slam early on a feed from Dominick Scelfo in the opening minutes of the contest. Scelfo ended with a career-high five assists.

Freshman Nolan Cressler scored eight points and had four rebounds, just missing out on being the fourth Big Red scorer in double figures.

Cornell returns to action on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 12 p.m. when it meets Dartmouth at Newman Arena. The game was originally scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m., but was postponed due to the snow storm.

 ITHACA — Siyani Chambers scored 18 points with a career-high 11 assists, the freshman’s second straight double-double, and Harvard held on to defeat Cornell 67-65 Friday night to remain unbeaten in the Ivy League.
The Crimson (13-6, 5-0) twice led by 21 points early in the second half, but Cornell (10-12, 2-3) rallied by shooting 62.5 percent (15 of 24) in the final 20 minutes.
Harvard led 67-52 with 4:21 left after a pair of 3-pointers by Christian Webster, but a 13-0 run pulled Cornell to within 67-65 with 42 seconds left.
A missed free throw by Chambers gave Cornell the ball with 11 seconds to play, but Errick Peck was unable to hit a potential game-winner.
Webster made 5 of 11 3-pointers and finished with 17 points for the Crimson, and Wesley Saunders added 14 points.
Peck had 17 points Cornell. Shonn Miller added 13 points and Johnathan Gray 12.

Harvard led Cornell by 21 in the second half twice. The Crimson went on to beat the Big Red 67-65 to remain perfect and atop the Ivy League standings.
With 4:21 to go, Harvard freshman guard Siyani Chambers hit Christian Webster for a 3-pointer to give the Crimson a 15-point lead, which was the last bucket Harvard scored. Cornell went on a 13-0 run in that time before a 3-point attempt Errick Peck missed in the final seconds as Harvard held on.
In those final four minutes, Harvard was 0-for-3 from the field, which doesn’t include missing the front end of a 1-and-1, and committed a pair of turnovers.
The unraveling of Harvard in Friday night’s win looks like it becoming a habit.
Friday’s finish was similar to the way the Crimson finished the 2012 calendar year. On New Year’s Eve at St. Mary’s, Harvard blew an 18-point led, as the Gaels stormed back with a 16-5 run in the final six-plus minutes to steal the victory. Harvard missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and only made 1-of-2 with 1:30 remaining that kept it a one possession game.
Harvard committed four turnovers, the last one with 33 seconds that gave the Gaels the ball for the final shot … or in this case the final two shots. Mitchell Young corralled the Matthew Dellavedova miss and was fouled with 1.1 seconds and calmly sank both free throws, giving the Gaels a 70-69 win.
Tommy Amaker’s team should have defeated UMass on the road back in November, but a pair of turnovers in the final 45 seconds set up a Jesse Morgan tying three and a Sampson Carter game-winning triple.
Chambers has been great as a freshman point guard this season for Harvard, averaging 13.3 points and 6.1 assists. Yet, he’s still a freshman and it’s shown. The 85 percent free throw shooter has been the one to miss the front end of a 1-and-1 against St. Mary’s and again on Friday night.
Harvard (13-6, 5-0) is the defending Ivy League champions and currently holds the top spot in the conference, but not by much. Princeton trails by half a game. The Tigers cruised to victory Friday against Brown and next week they make the trip to Cambridge to take on the Crimson.
Both teams have a pair of games in between that matchup, but if both can remain perfect heading into next Saturday, it will be interesting to see if Harvard can build from these tight finishes or continue to succumb to the pressure.

The Harvard men’s basketball team withstood a late Cornell run on Friday night, hanging on for a 67-65 win in Ithaca, N.Y.
The Crimson, which led by 21 with 16:55 left and 67-52 with 4:21 to go, failed to score the rest of the way, and the Big Red came within a single shot of handing Harvard its first Ivy League setback of the season.
But Errick Peck’s three-point attempt at the buzzer bricked off the glass, and the Crimson held on for the two-point win.
“We did some wonderful things, and it’s really disappointing to see how we let that lead get away from us and had to battle right there to the end,” Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said.
Friday’s contest marked the Crimson’s fifth straight conference win by 10 points or fewer and the third straight in which Harvard nearly coughed up a sizeable lead.
With the win, the Crimson (13-6, 5-0 Ivy) remains atop the Ancient Eight standings, a half game ahead of Princeton (11-7, 4-0). Every other team has at least three league losses.
But Harvard did all it could in the final 4:21 to cede its position atop the conference standings.
Harvard shot 0 of 3 from the field, 0 of 1 from the free throw line, and turned it over twice down the stretch. Cornell shot four of six during the same stretch, closing out the contest on a 13-0 run.
"When the pressure turned up and the crowd got involved in it we came unglued again," Amaker said.
Following a Christian Webster three-pointer with 4:21 remaining, Peck got the run started for the Big Red with a pair of free throws. Freshman point guard Siyani Chambers missed a step-back jumper on the other end, and sophomore Jonah Travis was whistled for a foul going for the rebound, sending the Big Red back to the line.
Galal Cancer knocked down both free throws, and Amaker opted to take a timeout with 3:34 to play.
Facing intense Big Red pressure, sophomore Wesley Saunders coughed it up near midcourt, and Cornell’s Shonn Miller cashed in a breakaway dunk to pull the Big Red within 10 for the first time since the first half.
The Crimson got the ball to forward Steve Moundou-Missi on the other end, but the sophomore was rejected by Miller. Gray collected the rebound and pushed it up the court where he converted a layup to pull the Big Red within seven, 67-60, with 2:34 remaining.
Miller came up with another steal, this time taking the ball from junior co-captain Laurent Rivard, and Gray knocked down a triple from the left wing to make it a four-point game.
Coming out of a timeout, the Crimson put the ball in the hands of Saunders, but strong Cornell defense forced a miss with the shot clock expiring.
Miller came up the rebound and missed a three-point attempt on the other end, but Peck was there for the offensive rebound. The senior finished a put-back layup to pull the Red within two with 42 seconds remaining.
The Crimson successfully inbounded the ball against the Cornell pressure and Chambers milked the shot clock near midcourt.
With 11 ticks remaining, Cornell’s Miles Asafo-Adjei fouled Chambers, sending the rookie to the line to shoot a one and one. Chambers, who entered the contest shooting over 85 percent from the charity stripe, missed the front end.
Peck pulled down the miss and pushed the ball up the court. With three seconds remaining, Peck launched a triple from the top of the key that would have given the Big Red its first lead of the contest and the win, but the ball caromed off the backboard and the Crimson emerged with the victory.
Excluding its offensive woes down the stretch, the Crimson had success against the Big Red defense, shooting 55.1 percent from the field—its fourth best clip of the season—and 44.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Chambers led Harvard offensively with 18 points and 11 assists. Webster contributed a season-high 17 points, connecting on 5 of 11 three-point attempts. The Crimson’s lone senior knocked down two critical threes with 5:14 and 4:21 remaining, extending Harvard’s lead from 11 to 15.
“Some of the shots he made weren’t necessarily open,” Amaker said. “He made some really tough shots at the end of the shot clock.”
aunders and Moundou-Missi also finished in double-figures, contributing 14 and 11 points, respectively.
The pair played a critical role in the game’s opening minutes, scoring 10 of the Crimson’s first 12 points, as Harvard jumped out to an early 12-3 advantage.
The Big Red pulled within two, 12-10, off a John Figini layup with 12:15 remaining. But Harvard responded with a 19-6 run—fueled by two Webster triples and seven Chambers points—to go up by 15, 31-16.
The Crimson went into the break up 16, 38-22. Harvard’s lead grew to as many as 21 following a Chambers triple with 16:55 to go before the Big Red started to chip away at the lead.
Coming off the bench, Peck posted a team-high 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting. Miller added 13 points, and Gray chipped in with 12.


ITHACA, N.Y. – Siyani Chambers posted his second-straight double-double, pouring in 18 points and adding a career-high 11 assists, as the Harvard men's basketball team extended its win streak to four with a 67-65 win at Cornell Friday evening.
Harvard led by as many as 21 points and held off a Big Red push late in the game to hold on for its fifth straight conference win to start the season.
Wesley Saunders added 14 points to extend his streak of scoring in double figures to 19 games, and Christian Webster tallied a season-high 17 points, making five 3-pointers, helping the Crimson improve to 13-6 overall and 5-0 in the Ivy League. Harvard shot 55.1 percent and went 8-of-18 from beyond the arc (.444). Cornell was led by Errick Peck with 17 points and nine rebounds, as the Big Green falls to 10-12 and 2-3 in the Ancient Eight.
The Crimson remains on the road, and will visit Columbia Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. The game was moved from Saturday at 7 p.m. because of the impending snow storm.
Following a layup by Jonah Travis, the Crimson went up 4-0, and then Harvard took a 6-3 advantage when Saunders scored on an and-one. After Chambers sent a pass to Steve Moundou-Missi for a bucket, 8-3, Saunders scored on another and-one, making it 10-3. Moundou-Missi added a reverse layup, 12-3, but Cornell answered with a mini-run, 7-0, to pull within two, 12-10, but Chambers drained a jumper to make it 14-10.
Moundou-Missi made his third straight basket, 16-10, and then Saunders converted on a nice reverse move from under the hoop, 18-10. After Christian Webster nailed a long three-pointer, the Big Red answered with six consecutive points to make it a five-point game, 21-16. Webster drained another triple, 26-16, and then Chambers dribbled to the top of the key and added a trey of his own as the Crimson went up by 13.
Moments later, Chambers lost possession for a moment after driving the lane, but picked up the loose ball and fired for a jumper before the shot clock expired, 31-16. Chambers, who had nine points in the first half, knocked down another jumper, 33-20, and then Webster scored on the break off an assist by Chambers, 38-22.
Saunders had 10 points in the first 20 minutes, helping the Crimson shoot 60.0 percent as a team (15-of-25).
Webster made his third 3-pointer to start the half, and Chambers dribbled into the paint and finished with a layup, 43-22. After Chambers knocked down a triple from the corner, 46-25, Travis scored on a two-handed dunk, 48-29.  With 14:32 to play in the game, Chambers picked up his seventh assist by slipping a pass to Laurent Rivard, who drained a triple, 51-32.
Chambers fought off two defenders to finish with a bucket in the lane, 53-34, and with 8:35 to go, Webster made a quick pass in the lane to Chambers, who scored with a layup, 59-43. After the Big Red went on a 6-0 run to get within 11, Chambers clinched the double-double with a dish to Moundou-Missi, 61-48.
On Harvard's next possession, Webster drilled his fourth trey, this time with the shot clock winding down, 64-50. Webster made another 3-pointer moments later, making it a 67-52 contest. Cornell responded with an 11-0 run to pull within seven, 67-63.
With 42.6 seconds left, the Big Red got within two, 67-65, but the Big Red could not find the equalizer in the final seconds, as the Crimson held on for the win.

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