Saturday, February 16, 2013

Game Recap: Cornell 68, Yale 61

Coming off an epic sweep a week ago one figured the Yale men’s basketball team would have a spring in their step on Friday night.

Instead, the opposite was true.

Yale fell behind by nine points in the opening minutes and then blew the game at the free-throw line, falling to Cornell 68-61 in an Ivy League contest at the Lee Amphitheater Friday night. The loss leaves the Bulldogs (9-15, 3-4 Ivy) a full three games behind league-leading Harvard at the halfway mark of the 14-game tournament.

“We got off to a slow start,” Yale coach James Jones said. “Coming off last weekend (when Yale swept a road trip at Penn and Princeton) I expected a much greater charge and more energy out of our team and we didn’t deliver that.
“They got us on our heels at the start of the game. Then, it’s hard to go 12 for 26 from the free throw line and actually win a basketball game. We just did a poor job at the free throw line and some guys who don’t normally miss didn’t step up there tonight.”

Yale was led by freshman Justin Sears, a warrior in the paint. He scored 13 points, including five straight late in the game to tie the score at 59 with 3:04 to play. Sam Martin scored all 10 of his points in the first half helping the Bulldogs erase an early 10-point deficit.

But Yale led for a grand total of 3 minutes, 36 seconds in the game and was never able to sustain a run with stops on the defensive end.

“Our defense wasn’t great tonight,” Jones said. “We didn’t give ourselves a chance.”

Cornell, which took over third place in the league, was led by Shonn Miller and Jonathan Gray, who both finished with a game-high 18 points. The Big Red (12-12, 4-3) also got a dozen points from Errick Peck and buried six 3-pointers in the second half.

“I definitely expected us to come out with a little more fight than we did,” Martin said. “It’s obviously disappointing but we have to get ready for another game in 24 hours. I think everybody knows that we beat the first-place team last week and now we lose to a team that’s definitely not as good as they are.
“I know we could have played better, so it’s very disappointing.”

Yale clearly blew any chance in the taut affair at the free throw line. The Bulldogs entered the contest leading the league from the stripe, hitting over 77 percent of their shots. But, as Jones said, shooting is contagious, and the entire team caught the malady.

“It’s been contagious on a positive side for us and now it’s contagious on a negative end,” said Jones, whose team went 5 for 15 from the line in the second half.

The Bulldogs, who trailed 30-27 at the break, took a short-lived lead, 44-43, on a 3-pointer by reigning Ivy League Player of the Week Javier Duren (7 points, 7 assists), but Cornell quickly responded with an 11-2 run.

Yale battled back, tying the game at 59 when Sears hit the second of a two-shot foul. But Nolan Cressler buried a 3-pointer on Cornell’s next possession and Gray followed with another one and the Big Red never trailed again.

“There were a couple of times that we just had our hands down and that’s a no-no,” Jones said. “Princeton does the same thing and we guarded them great, but now we come out like we never seen it before and we had practiced that ad nauseam. Some of that was maybe guys were tired.”

Yale hosts Columbia Saturday night at 7.

Box Score

Box Score (PDF)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Sophomore Shonn Miller dominated inside and senior Johnathan Gray hit from the outside as Cornell won its third Ivy League road game in four starts with a 68-61 victory at Yale on Friday evening at John J. Lee Amphitheater. The Big Red evened its record at 12-12 overall (4-3 Ivy), while Yale fell to 9-15 (3-4 Ivy).

Miller had 18 points, nine rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals and Gray, who had a career-high 29 points in last year's meeting in Ithaca, scored 18 and hit a pair of huge 3-pointers in the final minutes to send Cornell to the win. Gray added four rebounds, two assists, a blocked shot and a steal. Senior Errick Peck had 12 points and Galal Cancer netted six points, five assists and three rebounds. As a team, the Big Red shot 45 percent  from the floor and forced 16 Yale turnovers.

The Bulldogs' got 13 points from Justin Sears, while Sam Martin had 10, all in the first half. They had a 34-31 edge on the glass, but it was a 12-of-26 effort at the free throw line that sealed their fate. Yale shot 62 percent from the floor after halftime, but connected on just 5-of-15 from the charity stripe.

Cornell matched its most wins in three seasons under head coach Bill Courtney and improved to 3-1 on the road in conference play this year after going 4-10 in league action the last two seasons. They did so by answering the home team's every run, never letting the Bulldogs get out front of the pack.

The Big Red scored the first six points of the contest, leapt out to a 19-9 advantage 11 minutes in and never trailed over the first 20 minutes. Martin kept Yale in the game with 10 points in the first half, including three 3-pointers in the span of less than four minutes, and a pair of free throws by Jeremiah Kreisberg tied the contest at 22-22.

Gray, who would hit big shots over and over, answered right away after the free throws. His straight line drive into the paint ended with a Ned Tomic layup. The reserve forward was playing in place of Miller after the picked up his second foul. Galal Cancer answered with a spin move past a defender, then collected himself and softly laid it in the basket to make it a four-point game. Gray scored a basket and Peck nailed a pair of free throws and all of a sudden it was a six-point game. Austin Morgan nailed a trey to cut the lead in half and Cornell couldn't get off a good shot as the half expired with the visitors leading 30-27.

Yale scored five quick points to take its first lead of the game just 75 seconds into the second half, the first of six lead changes after the break. A thunderous Miller dunk off a pretty feed from Peck forced the third of four ties in the second half four minutes in. The Bulldogs led for much of a three-minute stretch,  but never by more than xx points. Gray, who made all four of his treys in the second half, hit a pair to help Cornell regain a lead, another one from a good six feet behind the and the last from the corner that doubled the team's lead from three to six with less than a minute and a half to play.

After a Morgan 3-point miss, Cornell's Cancer made 3-of-4 from the free throw line in the final 42 seconds to collect the win. Yale, meanwhile, missed its two attempts late that would have helped them get back in the game.

The Big Red gets right back into action tomorrow when it visits Brown for a 6 p.m. showdown at the Pizzitola Sports Center. Cornell has won 12 straight in the series and 15 of the last 16 meetings between the teams overall. 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – After last weekend's sweep of the Penn-Princeton road trip, Yale head coach James Jones thought his team would come out with a little pep in its step Friday against Cornell. Instead, it was the Big Red that got off to a quick start. That and poor foul shouting doomed the Bulldogs in a 68-61 loss before 1,173 at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.
"I expected us to start the game with a greater charge and more energy," said Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball at Yale. "They had us on our heels, and it should have been the other way around."
Cornell (12-12, 4-3 Ivy) led 11-2 just 6 minutes, 30 seconds in. To its credit, Yale fought back, but it seemed the Bulldogs were always playing from behind. Yale's largest lead was three early in the second half, but it only lasted two minutes.
To make matters worse, the Bulldogs were just 12-of-26 (46.2 percent) from the free throw line. Yale entered the game second in the Ivy League in free throw percentage (.728).
Freshman Justin Sears paced the Bulldogs with 13 points. Sam Martin added 10 points, and Austin Morgan had nine.
Shonn Miller, the reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Year, had 18 points, nine rebounds and three blocks to pace Cornell. Johnathan Gray also scored 18.
The poor free throw shooting really hurt Yale (9-15, 3-4 Ivy) down the stretch. The Bulldogs missed four straight free throws in the final 1:49.
The score was tied at 59 with 3:03 remaining, but Nolan Cressler's three-pointer gave the Big Red the lead for good. Gray hit another three-pointer on Cornell's next possession to increase the lead to six.
Brandon Sherrod answered with a dunk off a nice feed from Javier Duren, and Yale forced a quick turnover, but Morgan missed a three-pointer.
Galal Cancer made three free throws in the final 42 seconds to seal the victory for Cornell.
Martin kept the Bulldogs in the game in the first half. He was 3-of-4 from three-point range as all 10 of his points came in the opening 20 minutes as Yale rallied to trail by just three, 30-27, at the intermission.
"I was feeling good shooting the ball," said Martin, who has made eight of his last 11 three-point attempts.
After shooting just 33.3 percent from the field in the first half, the Bulldogs were 13-of-21 (61.9 percent) the rest of the way.
Yale will be right back in action on Saturday, hosting Columbia at 7 p.m. The Lions dropped a 58-55 decision at Brown on Friday.
"We just have to try and forget about [this game] and get ready to play Columbia," Martin said.
NOTES: The Bulldogs got another strong performance from their bench, which outscored Cornell's reserves 32-20… Duren finished with a career-high seven assists… Sears was 6-of-9 from the field… Yale outrebounded the Big Red 34-31. Armani Cotton led the way with six rebounds.

1 comment:

marktwain said...

please letdown at brown!team is starting to gel. lets sweep the weekend and stay in contention