Saturday, February 23, 2013

Game Recap: Cornell 71, Penn 79

(Photo Daily Pennsylvanian)

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Box Score

Box Score (PDF)

ITHACA, N.Y. – Penn shot 55 percent from the floor overall and connected on 10-of-19 3-pointers to earn a 79-71 victory over Cornell on Friday evening at Newman Arena. The Big Red fell to 13-13 (5-4 Ivy), while Penn improved to 7-18 (4-4 Ivy).

Tony Hicks was the main culprit with the hot hand, hitting 11-of-18 shots and 5-of-6 from beyond the arc for a career-high 29 points. Miles Cartwright also had a big game with 15 points, nine assists, six rebounds and two steals. The duo combined for 8-of-13 shooting from 3-point range. Penn held a 33-26 advantage on the backboards and outscored the home team 24-14 in the paint.

Freshman Nolan Cressler scored a career-high 22 points and both Dominick Scelfo and Shonn Miller chipped in with 15 points apiece. Miller added four rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Cornell shot just 38 percent in the second half and made just 3-of-12 from 3-point range (25 percent).

Penn jumped out to a 12-point lead (25-13) less than nine minutes into the first half on the strength of Hicks, who scored Penn's first eight points and 15 of their first 17.

The next 10 minutes belonged to Cornell.

The Big Red flew right past the visitors as Cornell harassed Penn into six straight misses while the home team caught fire. Cressler hit consecutive 3-pointers, then Scelfo followed suit, with his first giving Cornell a tie (28-28) and the second the team's first lead since the opening minutes (31-30). That lead grew to six twice, the last time at 43-37, but Penn scored inside the final 30 seconds and went into the break trailing by just four (43-39).

Any momentum Cornell had at the break dissipated quickly in the second half. Miller hit a jumper to push it back to a six-point game on the first possession, but Henry Brooks hit consecutive jumpers to spur a 13-2 run. Hicks scored nine unanswered and Penn was back in the lead. A Scelfo answer from 3-point range got it back within two (52-50) with 14:28 and Cornell had three possessions to tie or take the lead over the next two minutes, but each came up empty.

Greg Louis hit the first of two free throws on Penn's ensuing possession and Patrick Lucas-Perry, the shortest player on the floor at 5-11, came swooping in for an offensive rebound. His 3-point attempt was also rebounded by the Quakers, and Miles Cartwright hit a dagger trey, shooting a sign to the student section on his way back down the court. Cornell would never get back within five points the rest of the way as the patented Big Red run never came.

Cornell returns to action tomorrow at 7 p.m. when it plays host to Princeton at 7 p.m. at Newman Arena. 

ITHACA — Freshman Tony Hicks exploded for 29 points in 28 minutes to power Penn to a 79-71 victory against Cornell on Friday night in Ivy League men’s basketball inside Newman Arena.

Hicks, who entered the game averaging 7.6 points per game, scored scored 15 of his team’s first 17 points on 6 of 7 shooting, including three 3-pointers.

“The entire team did a pretty good job of sharing the basketball,” Penn coach Jerome Allen said. “Guys did a good job of finding him and guys were screening for him. He was running the floor and he made some plays on his own, but for the most part, I think it takes five guys on every possession in order for a possession to go the right way.”

Junior Miles Cartwright captained the Quaker attack, finishing with 15 points, nine assists and six rebounds as he crossed the 1,000-career point plateau for the Quakers (7-18, 4-4 Ivy League).

“They made shots,” Cornell coach Bill Courtney said. “Give them all the credit in the world, they made shots and we didn’t guard like we were supposed to. We started both halves very offensively and that’s what came back to haunt us.”

Cornell allowed Penn to shoot 54.9 percent and 10 of 19 from 3-point range.

The Big Red (13-13, 5-4) looked uncomfortable in the half-court as the Quakers exploited some early turnovers and converted them into opportunities in transition. Cornell made five of its first 15 shots.

“Give them credit for some of their half-court defensive adjustments that they made,” Courtney said. “They did a great job of loading on the help on Shonn (Miller) and Errick (Peck). They didn’t have the kind of games they’ve been having or the kind of game they had (against Penn) last time.”

The Red responded with a huge run, outscoring the Quakers 15-2 to erase Penn’s 12-point lead. The Quakers, who started off making 6 of 7 from the field, made one of their next 17 attempts.

Nolan Cressler provided a spark for the Red as the freshman guard scored 15 points, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range. Shonn Miller totaled eight points, three rebounds, two blocks and two steals for the Red. Galal Cancer chipped in four assists as the Red led 43-39 at halftime.

Hicks scored all 15 of his points in the first five minutes of the first half for the Quakers. Cartwright added seven points, five assists, four rebounds, and two steals in the first half for Penn.

Silent for the final 15 minutes of the first half, Hicks again sparked the Quakers as he scored nine straight points, including a 3-pointer where he attempted to shush the Cornell fans.

The Quakers opened the second half with a 14-4 run to take a 52-47 lead. Penn continued to pressure the Red, extending its lead to 12 points in the second half as the Red became stagnant on offense.

Cressler finished with 22 points and junior Dominick Scelfo and Miller added 15 points for Cornell, which must rebound quickly as second-place Princeton comes to Newman Arena for a Saturday night game. Cancer chipped in seven assists.“We mainly just allowed them to be a 3-point shooting team,” Cressler said. “We gave them looks. They were feeling good about themselves and continued knocking down shots. We weren’t getting out on our rotations good enough. It was more just their confidence that we allowed them to build up.”

ITHACA, N.Y. — Starting and finishing have not been synonymous for the Quakers this season.
But the Red and Blue were able to jump to a lead early in the second half at Newman Arena that would set the tone for the rest of the game, clinching the game at Cornell, 79-71.
“We’ve been trying to play like that all year,” junior captain Miles Cartwright said. “We were really sharing the ball really well. We felt like we had a good week of practice and without Fran and Steve, we really have to share the ball. When the ball’s moving the way it was tonight, we’re going to have success.”
The win, uncharacteristic for the Quakers this season, was led by an 29-point performance under freshman guard Tony Hicks, who got 15 points early in the first half.
“The coaching staff always tell me, including teammates, for me to be aggressive, but shots were falling,” Hicks said. “I got into a groove early and then the basket just gets wide open after you make a couple shots.”
Additionally, the Quakers saw well-rounded play from Cartwright, who notched 15 points, nine assists and six rebounds as well as the team’s only two steals.
After allowing the Big Red to reach 43 points in the first half, which was largely due to points given up in transition, the Quakers were able to keep Cornell to just 28 in second frame.
“We gave up almost 20 points in transition defense and I thought that was really the difference, whether connected to our nine turnovers or our lack of focus in not having the right attention to detail to get back in transition,” coach Jerome Allen said. “In the second half, we tried to be a little more conscious of that.”
Much of this shift from late in the first half was due to more complete performances by those on the floor.
“Communication was probably the best it was all year, we were really talking,” Cartwright said. “Even when we were switching defenses, going from man to zone, I though our communication was really at a high level, so if we can keep it like that, I think we can defend anybody.”
This was not a case of deja vu for Penn, which lost by two points to the Big Red at the last second earlier this month at the Palestra.
But the win didn’t come without its challenges for the Red and Blue. The Big Red consistently answered Penn’s runs, taking a four-point lead at the end of the first half after Penn had jumped ahead 12 points early on.
But as the second frame got rolling, Hicks was back, racking up another 14 points as Cartwright continued feeding and distributing the ball. Penn was also able to keep the scoring to a minimum for Cornell senior forward Errick Peck, who scored only three points the whole game.
Though Cornell sophomore forward Shonn Miller and freshman guard Nolan Cressler challenged Penn throughout the game, notching 15 and 22 points respectively, the Quakers were able to maintain their lead throughout the second frame, as the clock ticked down and roars erupted from the Penn bench.
Despite the Quakers’ successful night shooting from the field, Allen attributes the win to the team’s defensive effort.
“If we can hold teams to low field-goal percentage shooting, whether we make shots or miss shots tomorrow night, we’ll still have a chance to win,” Allen said.
“This is a team that likes to get up and down. Columbia is like the same team,” Hicks said. “They’ve got shooters, so just talking to each other and locating the shooters, I feel like if we can carry that over to tomorrow, we should get another ‘W’.”
The Quakers will be back on the court Saturday night at 7 p.m. as they take on Columbia in New York.

Box Score (PDF)

ITHACA, N.Y. - The University of Pennsylvania men's basketball team rode a career-high 29 points from Tony Hicks and a second half emphasis on finding and closing out on Cornell's shooters to come away with a 79-71 victory on Friday night at Newman Arena.

The early portion of the contest was all about Hicks, as the freshman scored at will on a flummoxed Cornell defense. After Devin Cherry gave the Big Red a 3-0 lead, Hicks answered with a triple and then scored at the rim after Miles Cartwright jumped a passing lane and initiated a run-out. Cornell (13-13, 5-4 Ivy) answered back with five straight to take an 8-5 lead, but another Hicks trey knotted the game at 8-8 less than three minutes in.

The only points that came from someone other than Hicks in his red-hot opening sequence was when Jamal Lewis found space in the paint and laid it in for a 10-9 Penn lead. Seven more from Hicks in quick succession gave him 15 points in the first six minutes, already just a single point off his career high.

The Quakers' lead crested at 12 points when Cartwright hit a pair at the charity stripe coming out of a media timeout with 11:43 to play in the half. Cornell came right back at Penn with nine unanswered, six coming from Nolan Cressler on back-to-back 3-pointers that brought a silenced crowd to life. Cameron Gunter came back with a strong move in the post and Greg Louis hit 1-of-2 at the line, but three more Cornell 3-pointers in the space of two minutes gave the Big Red their first lead in more than 11 minutes.

Cressler showed no signs of slowing down as the first half neared a close. The Cornell freshman scored six straight for his team, a run broken only by a Cartwright trey, for a 37-33 edge with three minutes left in the opening stanza. The Big Red lead got as high as six and could have been worse if not for two Louis field goals in the final minute, taking Penn into the locker room down four, 43-39.

Held in check by foul trouble in the first half, Henry Brooks got in on the act with a pair of jumpers to open the second 20 minutes. Thanks to him, the Cornell lead remained only four, 47-43, when Hicks again put the team on his back. Within 90 seconds, that four-point deficit would turn into a 52-47 lead as the Big Red simply could not find a way to slow down the Penn freshman. Given space, he knocked down jumper after jumper. When guarded closely - as he was on the final hoop of the 9-0 run - then he backcut to the rim and scored off the dish from a teammate.

A trey from Dominick Scelfo at the 14:32 mark was Cornell's eighth make from deep on the night, but it would also be the last until less than four minutes remained. Penn's lead was 56-51 when Patrick Lucas-Perry entered the game and provided the kind of instant offense he's become known for this season, scoring eight points in a row for the Quakers, by which time the advantage had grown to 64-55. A Hicks three would make the lead double-digits for the first time since early on in the game, 67-56.

Cornell pulled as close as six, 69-63, with 3:45 to play off a triple from Cherry, but Cartwright was there to answer him from way downtown, again giving Penn a comfortable margin as the clock continued to play against the Big Red. Neither team would score for nearly two minutes, but when Camryn Crocker ducked into the lane and converted a tough finish while being fouled the game was pretty much decided, as the Quakers led 75-63 with just a minute-and-a-half to go. Four free throws in the final 40 seconds from Cartwright and Hicks sealed the gutsy road win.

Hicks' 29 points nearly doubled his previous career high of 16, back on Jan. 12 at Princeton. Cartwright had a complete all-around game with 15 points, nine assists, six boards and a pair of steals. His assist total tied a career high, which was set coincidentally in the earlier meeting this season with Cornell on Feb. 2.

Penn will close out its weekend against Columbia (10-13, 2-7 Ivy) tomorrow night at 7 p.m. from Levien Gym in New York City.

Rookie guard Tony Hicks scored 13 points in his first four minutes and three seconds on the floor at Newman Arena. At that point, he was on pace for 128 points in a game.
Of course, the story doesn’t end with Hicks challenging NCAA records. But it does end with a Cornell loss and Hicks recording a career-high 29 points.
The Chicago native has been just short of exploding for a big game for some time, and the planets finally aligned against the Big Red, as Hicks found his mark — over and over again.
He rained down threes, spun past double teams and sunk short jumpers. And when Cornell had enough and decided to guard him a little closer, Hicks cut backdoor and layed the ball up before the Big Red could react.
Hicks is an unusual talent to storm into the Ivy League. It’s debatable whether any player in the Ancient Eight can match his quickness cutting to the basket. Pair that with shooting 5-for-6 from three-point range, and virtually no team in conference can contain him when he has a good night.
But Penn has been down this road before. After all, Miles Cartwright was not so different in his rookie campaign. The guard raised some eyebrows as a freshman, finishing with 18 points or more in six contests and snaring Ivy League Rookie of the Week on four occasions.
Like Hicks, Cartwright can slice to the basket with agility and looks to complement his quickness with a three-point shooting stroke.
But following a minor sophomore slump, Cartwright finds himself co-captain of a squad far from competing for an Ivy title. In an effort to stop the bleeding, he has taken matter into his own hands, often unsuccessfully, shooting just 39.1 percent from the field this season.
Cartwright may represent a glimpse of Hicks’ future if the latter isn’t careful. Before it’s too late, Hicks should take note of Cartwright’s journey and the obstacles that have impeded it.
For instance, no one is ever a freshman sensation forever.
The Big Red won’t forget Hicks torching them for 29 points, and next season, Cornell will have watched hours of tape and concocted a gameplan to stop him. This will make Hicks’ ability to share the ball and be a playmaker all the more important, and he can look to Cartwright’s play against Cornell for a prime example of how to do it.
Though not always successful this season as a floor leader, Cartwright ran the show against the Big Red, dishing out nine assists to go along with 15 points. The fact that Cartwright tied his career high in assists on a night that Penn scored 79 points is no coincidence.
It’s also no coincidence that in the season Zack Rosen set a Penn single-season record for assists, the Quakers won 21 games.
No offense can thrive without someone to make the right passes at the right time. Someday, neither Rosen nor Cartwright will be there to do it. And someday, everyone will know that Tony Hicks can score the basketball.
But it’s a lot harder to stop a guard from racking up assists than tallying huge point totals because the more attention a team focuses on that player, the more his teammates will be open.
Tony Hicks already has the flash and flair to make himself look good. That said, it will be his ability to make his teammates look good too that will determine whether Penn reclaims the Ivy crown in his time.

Facing Cornell on the road at the Newman Arena in Ithaca, N.Y., the Quakers avenged a close loss from earlier this month behind freshman guard Tony Hicks’ 29-point eruption, getting the 79-71 win. Penn started out hot, jumping to a 25-13 lead, but the Big Red answered with a 30-14 run of their own to close out the first frame. Down 43-39 at the half, the Red and Blue dominated the second half, taking back the lead early on and never surrendering it again.
THE GOOD: Miles Cartwright’s well-rounded performance
The junior captain played like the leader everyone expects him to be, and he really did everything against Cornell. Cartwright racked up 15 points, nine assists, six boards and two steals. He also led the Quakers in playing time, with 34 minutes on the court. The only downside? Try 4-for-11 shooting and three turnovers. But that’s fine, because trying too hard is better than not trying at all.
THE BETTER: Tony Hicks’ season-high 29 points
Oh wait. Rather career-high, since he’s only a freshman. Hicks showed off what he’s capable of, hitting 11-for-18 from the field, which included making five of his six attempts from beyond the arc. The rookie secured Penn’s second best point total of the year — only behind Fran Dougherty’s 31-point show in a 62-53 loss against Fairfield on Nov. 12.
THE BAD: Henry Brooks fouls out … again
12 minutes. That’s exactly how much playing time Brooks got tonight, despite being in the starting lineup. The sophomore forward was subbed out after racking up two fouls in the first five minutes. He came back at the start of the second half, only to get subbed out yet again after two fouls in five minutes. When Allen finally decided to let him back in, Brooks made the most of it by turning the ball over and immediately reaching his fifth infraction of the night. Too bad for him, as his stat line of four points, three rebounds and two assists doesn’t look too bad for the short amount of time he actually spent on the court.
THE UGLY: Penn’s abysmal performance at the end of the first half
After Cartwright made two free throws that put the game 25-13 in favor of the Quakers, it looked like it would be an easy ride for Allen and co. That was before Cornell terrorized Penn for the last ten minutes of the first frame, scoring 30 points in that time period, which included 12 by guard Nolan Cressler. The Red and Blue surrendered five treys and also committed six turnovers during those ten minutes, and for a moment it looked as if it was going to turn into a blowout for the home team. That never materialized, as the Quakers kept it close and then reversed the situation in the second half, but this won’t happen against Princeton or Harvard.


Anonymous said...

Anyone want to volunteer to mess with Harvard's drinking water???

Anonymous said...

Was the very definition of a "trap game" against Penn last night. Were they looking a head to Princeton maybe?? Penn beat them playing a very similar style. Sure missed /Jon Gray and E Peck was a virtual no show.

Anonymous said...

Interesting tweet from Harvard alumnus Brendan Roche that "today we are all Harvard fans. #PuckFrinceton" He does realize that all Ivy fans with the exception of Crimson supporters are hoping for Princeton to catch and pass Harvard, right?

Anonymous said...

Well, there you have it. Ivy champions don't get swept at home. Fourteen points in one half on 16% shooting? Ouch. Not a good way to win your fans over, either. It's too bad...I really thought they had a chance. I know they're not mathematically eliminated yet, but Harvard ain't gonna lose their last four games of the season.