Saturday, November 9, 2013

GAME RECAPS: Syracuse 82, Cornell 60

Highlights from Time Warner Cable/YNN (click here)
SYRACUSE — When Trevor Cooney arrived at Syracuse, he was billed as a shooter. That he is. Finding open space all around the court and catching his teammates’ eyes, Cooney made seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points, both career highs, to lead No. 8 Syracuse past pesky Cornell 82-60 on Friday night in the season opener for both teams. Taking over in the Orange backcourt for Brandon Triche, the starter the previous four seasons, Cooney proved the catalyst as the Orange rallied from a 14-point deficit in the first half to beat the Big Red for the 34th straight time. Cooney hit three 3s in a span of just over 4 minutes late in the opening half as Syracuse closed to 38-32 at the break, then scored eight points to key a game-changing 18-5 surge early in the second. He also nabbed two of his team-high four steals during the spurt, finishing the second with a court-long dash and two-handed dunk to put the Orange up 60-48 with 11:38 to go as they steadily assumed control. “I got the first couple to go in and the game kind of flowed from there,” said Cooney, a redshirt sophomore. “My teammates found me in great spots. I was getting my feet set and just knocked down shots. When you hit three or four in a row, that’s when you know the game is coming to you.” Syracuse made its first game as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference one to remember. It was the first game against Cornell in three years, but the Big Red, 5-68 all-time against teams ranked in the Top 25, was up for the challenge, building that big lead in the first half behind sharpshooting Nolan Cressler. Cornell matched Syracuse in the first half as both teams shot 13 of 29 from the field, but the Big Red hit 7 of 17 3-pointers and outrebounded the much taller Orange 19-16. “We did a lot of things that we planned to do in the first half,” said Cornell coach Bill Courtney, in his fourth year. “But Cooney getting hot in the first half really hurt us.” C.J. Fair finished with 19 points for Syracuse while the Orange’s heralded freshman point guard Tyler Ennis was 0 for 6 from the field but had a team-high eight rebounds and seven assists with two turnovers. Syracuse’s four freshmen finished 6 of 19 from the field as all saw extended play in the second half. The Orange outrebounded Cornell 22-7 and limited the Big Red to 9-of-25 shooting (36 percent) in the second half.  “In the second half we made some adjustments defensively, took away their high-post pass, got to the shooters better,” Orange coach Jim Boeheim said. “When you don’t move on defense, it doesn’t matter what kind of defense you play.” Sophomore forward Jerami Grant, expected to be a key contributor this season for the Orange, warmed up with the team before the game but did not play. He watched in street clothes from the bench. Boeheim would not say why he was kept out of the game but that he would play in the next game, Tuesday night at home against Fordham. Cressler finished with a career-high 23 points for Cornell but managed just three points in the second half after going 7 for 11 and scoring 20 in the first. “We were just trying to treat it as a normal game,” Cressler said. “No one’s unbeatable. Everybody sleeps on the Ivy League. Year in and year out, we compete with the best teams in the country. Whenever we’re playing our type of basketball, we can play with anybody and beat anybody.”
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The Cornell men's basketball team gave #8/7 Syracuse all it could handle for a half, but couldn't weather a second half run in dropping an 82-60 decision to the Orange on Friday evening at the Carrier Dome. The game was the season opener for both teams. Sophomore Nolan Cressler got his sophomore season off to a great start, scoring a career-high 23 points and adding five rebounds and three assists for the Big Red, who led by as many as 14 points in the first half to quite the Carrier Dome crowd. Cornell lead 38-32 at the break before the Orange took control in the second half with their suffocating halfcourt defense and an efficient offense. Freshman Robert Hatter and senior Dominick Scelfo each scored nine points for the Big Red, while junior captain Devin Cherry had six assists and four rebounds. Freshman David Onuorah had six points, two rebounds and a blocked shot in his collegiate debut. The Big Red connected on 10 3-pointers against SU's matchup zone, but 10 second half turnovers allowed SU to make the decisive 32-10 run to start the second half. Trevor Cooney had a career-high 27 points, hitting 10-of-12 shots from the floor and 7-of-8 from 3-point range, to lead Syracuse, while preseason ACC Player of the Year C.J. Fair had 19 points. Rakeem Christmas was also in double figures with 12 points for the Orange, who shot 63 percent from the field after halftime and rebounded seven of their 10 misses. For 25 minutes, it looked as though Cornell just might end Syracuse's 34-game win streak in the series and gave Big Red fans plenty to cheer about. Onourah caught an alley-oop for his first college basket after a great feed from Hatter to tie the game at 2-2, then the goggled rookie hit a bomb from the top of the key to give Cornell an early 5-2 lead. The Orange turned it over on the other end and after a Big Red miss, Cressler grabbed the offensive board and was fouled. His two free throws put the visitors up 7-2 with 16:39 left on the clock. Cressler connected on a 3-pointer on a feed from Cherry after the junior captain blocked a shot on the other end to make it 10-4 and a putback by Onourah made it 12-6 a minute later. Three straight Big Red 3-pointers and a tough bucket in the lane by Cressler made it 23-16, forced an SU timeout. A trey by Cressler 90 seconds later triggered a 13-6 run that all of a sudden had the visitors up 14 (36-22) with 4:17 left in the half. Despite a late Syracuse run, Cornell still went into the break leading by six. The second half saw the home team exert its will. The Orange took its first lead since the 19:15 mark of the first half on a Cooney 3-pointer three minutes into the second half, but Hatter answered with a 3-pointer of his own to switch the momentum, and after Fair hit a jumper, Dave LaMore answered for the Big Red down low after a great feed from Cherry to make it 45-44 Big Red with 15:09 left. Then Syracuse took over for good. Cooney hit a 3-pointer and seven of Cornell's next eight possessions ended in turnovers, with six forced by the Orange defense. By the last one, the home team led 64-48 with 10 minutes to play. The run ended the same way it began - with Conney hitting a jumper. Syracuse's lead fluctuated between 16 and 21 points the rest of the way before reserves scored the final seven points to push the lead to 24 by the end of the night. The Big Red will open its home season against Loyola (MD) on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. at Newman Arena. Cornell has won the only other meeting between the schools back in the 2008-09 season, an 82-72 Big Red victory in Chestnut Hill, Mass. in the second game of the NIT Preseason Tip-Off.
Syracuse sophomore Trevor Cooney leads Orange past upset-minded Cornell (updated)
The Trevor Cooney who has been lighting up Syracuse's practices for the past two years finally showed up in a game. Just in the nick of time, too.
Cooney, a redshirt sophomore, scored a career-high 27 points to help Syracuse avoid Cornell's upset bid in the season-opener for both teams on Friday night in front of 24,788 fans at the Carrier Dome.
Trevor Cooney's shot chart was full of makes on Friday against Cornell. He was 7-for-8 from behind the arc and 10-for-12 overall from the field. 
Cooney made seven out of eight shots from 3-point range to help the 8th-ranked Orange rally from a 14-point deficit in the first half and pull away for an 82-60 victory over Cornell. Cooney's two biggest shots came in the last two minutes of the first half. 
His back-to-back 3-pointers trimmed Cornell's lead from 36-24 to 36-30 at halftime.
"I thought we did a good job with finding Trevor,'' Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "He bailed us out when we really needed him. In the first half, when we had nothing, he hit those two threes to get us close at halftime. Those were two monster shots. When he gets going, he's going to make those shots.''
Syracuse played without forward Jerami Grant, who watched the game from the SU bench but wasn't in uniform. A source close to the team said Grant was serving a one-game suspension related to a violation of the NCAA's rules regarding summer league play. Boeheim, declined to elaborate on Grant's absence, but said the 6-8 sophomore would play in the Orange's next game on Tuesday against Fordham.
Cooney, a 6-foot-4 guard, redshirted his first year at Syracuse. Last year, he saw limited action behind starting guards Brandon Triche and Michael Carter-Williams. Cooney would knock down 3-pointers during the Orange's practices, but he struggled in games.
He made just 26.7 percent of his 3-point attempts.
"He's always been a good shooter,'' Boeheim said. "I think when you come off the bench and only play a few minutes, it's hard, very hard to make shots sometimes.''
Friday's game marked the first start of Cooney's career. He also logged a career-high 28 minutes. His 27 points completely eclipsed his previous career-high of 15, which he set last season against Monmouth. He went 10-for-12 from the field for the game, while also coming up with four steals and two assists.
After his career game, Cooney admitted that it was easier to play knowing that he was staying in the game even if he missed one or two shots.
"Knowing you don't have to look over your shoulder is big,'' Cooney said. "Just knowing that your responsibilities are a little bigger and just stepping up to the plate and be ready for it.''
Last year, Cooney made 18 3-pointers for the entire season. He made more than a third of last year's total in the first game of the season.
On Friday, Cooney made his first 3-point shot of the game and missed the next. After that, he would make his six in a row. The Carrier Dome crowd gave him a standing ovation when he came out of the game in the second half.
But his teammates had seen this act before.
"In practice, he is lights out,'' Syracuse senior C.J. Fair, who scored 19 points, said. "You don't see him miss two in a row.''
"Threes are nothing to him,'' added SU junior forward Rakeem Christmas.
For most of the first half, though, Cooney wasn't the hottest shooter on the floor. That would have been Cornell's Nolan Cressler.
Cressler, a 6-3 sophomore, scored 20 points in the first half for the Big Red. He went 7-for-11 from the field, including three out of six from beyond the 3-point arc, in the opening 20 minutes. His driving bucket with 4:11 left in the first half gave the Big Red a 36-22 lead.
But Cressler wouldn't score again for 20 minutes. The Syracuse defense adjusted and held the Big Red to 22 second-half points.
"We played better defense in the second half,'' Boeheim said. "That was the key to the game. We created some turnovers. We made some adjustments that made a big difference. It's just activity and being more aggressive on the defensive end.''
Syracuse opened the second half with a 10-2 run to take a 42-40 lead. The Orange took the lead on a Cooney 3-pointer with 16:53 remaining. Another Cooney 3-pointer with 12:54 left in the game gave Syracuse a 55-45 lead.
The Big Red's bid to beat Syracuse for the first time since the 1968-69 season was over.
"Trevor saved us in the first half when we had really very little going,'' Boeheim said. "He got us back in touch and in the second half, our defense was just better.''
Syracuse, N.Y. — Everything went right for Cornell in the first half. Everything went as expected in the second.
The Big Red is expected to finish in the bottom half of the Ivy League, coming off a year where it finished one game from the cellar. The Orange is expected to finish near the top of the country, expectations so large that head coach Jim Boeheim spent a large chunk of his press conference poor-mouthing his team.
For a half, though, Cornell felt like it could play with any team in the country, a common refrain among players who headed to the team bus looking nothing like losers and accepting congratulations, all despite being outscored 50-22 in the second half of an 82-60 loss on Friday at the Carrier Dome.
"None of our guys have had a moment period," head coach Bill Courtney said of Cornell's 38-32 halftime lead. "No (Nolan Cressler) is the only guy on this team who played more than 20 minutes per game last year. Our freshmen, this is their first college experience. It's something they'll remember for life."
The 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Pittsburgh averaged 9.3 points last year and spent the summer playing against opponents from the Panthers, West Virginia and professionals in Europe. He finished on the all-tournament team in the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Pro-Am league and was one of the summer session's leading scorers.
"We've seen it all offseason," senior teammate Dwight Tarwater said. "When he heats up he can get hot quick. That's what we saw with him basically, single-handedly winning that game for us in the first half."
Even with that knowledge, his first half was stunning.
Cressler scored 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting, made 3-of-6 zone busting 3-pointers and tossed in a game-high five rebounds for good measure. His team led 38-32 and the Big Red, who happened to watch Hoosiers on the trip up the road, had visions of its own movie miracle.
Those hopes went away quickly in the second half, and Syracuse's path to its expected domination began with stopping Cressler.
"We had to get out to him," Syracuse guard Trevor Cooney said. "He had, what, 20 in the first half? Three in the second half? When someone's hitting like that, the second half you have to find him no matter where he is.''
Boeheim said the Orange began to move better on defense, closing out on Cressler, and as the Orange's offense began to click, the transition openings dried up.
"They basically scored every possession," Courtney said. "We had to play against a set 2-3 zone, against as good a defensive team as we'll see, hands everywhere, deflecting balls, and we got a little flustered."
Cressler's layup with 3:58 left in the first half gave Cornell a 36-24 lead. He didn't score again until a transition layup with 4:37 remaining and the Big Red trailing 73-57.
As he went, so did Cornell.
That was enough to get the Big Red wondering what lies ahead in the Ivy League. It wasn't nearly enough to beat the Orange.
"To be feeling good like I was in the Carrier Dome first game of the season that was pretty exciting," Cressler said. "The best part was we were up 10 or 12 for a while. That was the best part honestly."
Syracuse, N.Y. — Michael Gbinije would not reveal what Jim Boeheim told his team Friday night as Nolan Cressler was sinking shot after shot in the Carrier Dome. 
Jim Boeheim's postgame news conference: Syracuse vs. Cornell Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim recaps the Orange's win over the Big Red. Cressler, Cornell's 6-foot-4 sophomore guard, scored 20 first-half points against the Orange in a game Syracuse would eventually win 82-60. He sank three of his six attempts from the 3-point line. He attacked the rim and scored over SU's big guys. He was, essentially, a one man Big Red wrecking crew. When Syracuse players huddled during timeouts, SU coach Jim Boeheim supplied his players with some pointed instructions about Cressler. "I'm not sure I'm allowed to say," Gbinije said when asked what Boeheim told SU players. "But he was very furious, I'll tell you that. We knew coming in that he was a great shooter and we treated him like a normal player. And he made us pay." Trevor Cooney, who put on his own shooting clinic Friday night (a career-high 27 points on 10-of-12 shooting) said Cressler moved to different spots on the Dome floor to free himself for shots. His teammates supplied the basketball and Cressler did the rest. Those 20 first-half points caught the Orange men's attention. "He was really good. He got in the lane, he made some tough shots, he made a shot over Baye, he made a shot over Rock (Christmas)," Boeheim said. "He picked up a transition three. He's a good player." By the second half, Cressler's shooting space evaporated. No longer was he getting open looks and prime scoring opportunities. He scored just three points in the second half. He attempted five shots, compared to the 11 he took in the first half. Boeheim attributed his team's win Friday to better movement and a more physical brand of defense in the second half. Cressler knew it was coming. "They did a better job matchiing up with me every time I came down the floor," Cressler said. "I was able to find scoring pockets in the first half against their zone, get their rotations and find open looks. But they definitely did a better job of getting the longer guys out on me and matching up. I mean, I had 20 points in the first half. They were definitely looking for me."
Syracuse, N.Y. — Syracuse survived a first-half scare against Upstate neighbor Cornell, which led by as many as 14 points in the first half. » Box score The Orange went on a 10-2 run to start the second half on its way to an 82-60 victory to start the season 1-0. Key players: Trevor Cooney and Nolan Cressler. The Cornell guard scored 20 first-half points (3-of-6 from the 3-point line) to lead the Big Red to a 38-32 advantage at the half. Cooney scored 14 in the first half on 4-of-5 shooting from 3, and finished with a career-high 27 (7-for-8 from 3). Cressler finished with 23. Key stats: Cornell shot 7-of-16 from 3-point range in the first half, but was 3-of-15 after intermission; Syracuse was 5-of-13 from 3-point range in the first half and 5-for-7 in the second Talking points: Lost in all the 3-point shooting drama was C.J. Fair's quietly effective 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting. ... Attendance was 24,788. ... Rakeem Christmas scored 12 points; Mike Gbinije had five assists and no turnovers.
Syracuse shrugged off a sleepy first half (one that also featured a lot of 3-pointers for Cornell) to secure a 82-60 victory in its season opener on Friday. And as for the four factors, it’s about what you would expect. Syracuse was more efficient than Cornell in all four of them (especially in offensive rebounding percentage). For the night, Syracuse managed 1.19 points per possession, a number that doesn’t full encapsulate how exceptional the Orange was after the break. Syracuse scored 50 points on 34 possessions in the second half, an average of 1.47 points for every trip down the court. That was more than enough to make up for a slow (but not bad) start at the offensive end. Now, for a factor-by-factor look at Friday’s victory;
(.5 x 3FG + FGM) / FGA
Syracuse: .625 (10 3FGM, 30 FGM, 56 FGA) Cornell: .500 (10 3FGM, 22 FGM, 54 FGA) The Orange shot 53.6 percent from the floor, so this was going to look good, regardless. But the 50 percent work from beyond the 3-point line (10 of 20) ate into what little margin for error Cornell enjoyed coming in. For its part, early 3-point shooting ensured the Big Red had a decent showing in this category. But it didn’t come close to matching Syracuse.
Syracuse: 20.3 percent (14 turnovers/69 possessions) Cornell: 24.6 percent (17 turnovers/69 possessions) This wasn’t the reason the outcome turned out the way it was. The Orange scored 17 points off Big Red giveaways, while Cornell managed 14 points off Syracuse turnovers. The turnover totals were probably sloppier than either team would have liked, but this was not an influential part of this game.
Offensive rebounds / (Offensive rebounds + Opponent’s defensive rebounds)
Syracuse: 36.7 percent (11 offensive rebounds, 19 Cornell defensive rebounds) Cornell: 20.6 percent (7 offensive rebounds, 27 Syracuse defensive rebounds) Syracuse didn’t entirely take advantage of its extended possessions (holding a 14-13 edge in second-chance points), but that didn’t matter. The Big Red’s limited offensive rebounding percentage, though, most certainly did. Cornell simply didn’t have the chance at second shots, and that was especially true in the second half. The Orange yielded just three offensive rebounds, snagging 15 Cornell misses after the break.
FT attempted / FG attempted
Syracuse: .321 (18 free throws attempted/56 field goals attempted) Cornell: .148 (8 free throws attempted/54 field goals attempted) The Big Red barely got to the line at all, but it wasn’t as if Syracuse had a regular free throw parade, either. Syracuse’s 12-6 advantage at the line didn’t hurt any, but it wasn’t the biggest issue on the night.
Give the game ball to ... Trevor Cooney is an easy choice. Cooney finished with 27 points, was 7-for-8 from long range, single-handily kept Syracuse in a game they were trailing until midway through the second half and even threw down a two-handed jam with 11:30 to go in the game that sent the Carrier Dome into a frenzy. Asked if this was the kind of game he has been waiting to have in a Syracuse uniform, Cooney smiled and reassured that the thought crossed his mind a time or two. "Yeah, without a doubt," Cooney said. "To come out there and make shots like that and get the win, it feels really good." "I thought we did a good job of finding Trevor," Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. "He bailed us out. We really needed him in the first half when we had nothing going in the first half. When he hit those two three's to get us close at halftime, those were two monster shots. Obviously, when he gets going, he is going to make those shots." Might want to hold off on that "Cooney is a bust" talk, folks. The Sunny Side After mostly struggling through the exhibition season, Michael Gbinije played much better against Cornell. Good on him to save it for when it counted. Gbinije provided a nice complement to Cooney's electric performance with a nice all-around performance with six points, five assists and three steals. He made some nice entry passes, played solid defense and had a terrific drive to the basket with 13:34 to go that gave Syracuse some needed momentum. Baye Keita's follow-up jam with 13:28 to go deserves its own special mention. The game was still close at that point, but when Baye flew up and rattled the rim, it was the knockout blow Syracuse was looking for and surged Syracuse forward to the win. "I thought that was big," Trevor Cooney said. "That got everyone going. That got the crowd going. It was a really nice play by him. Hustle plays like that get everyone going." The Dark Side Syracuse got a "Le Moyne-like" message in this game, except this one counted. Perhaps they were lulled into some false overconfidence by playing in six exhibitions prior to starting the season. The Orange was outplayed in the first half and was trailing 38-32 at halftime to a Cornell team that won just 13 games a year ago and lost four starters from that team. The Big Red out-rebounded Syracuse, made seven 3-pointers and out-hustled the Orange in the first half and for a good part of the second. Syracuse has to hope this will put a good scare into them and prepare them not to take anyone lightly going forward. "They came ready to play," Trevor Cooney said. "We came out flat offensively and defensively. We dug ourselves a pretty good hole. Coach (Boeheim) at halftime challenged us defensively and offensively. We were able to come out and get stops early, get good buckets and get the lead back." C.J. Fair finished with 19 points, but it was a fight to get there. Fair committed seven turnovers as the Big Red swarmed him whenever possible on defense and made him earn it. If Cornell can do that, it will be interesting to see how better teams will defend Fair going forward. While Cooney was terrific on offense, the top of the Syracuse zone with Cooney and Ennis showed there are going to be some growing pains. Cornell challenged them throughout the game until the Orange was finally able to take command in the last 12 minutes. When asked what they can do to improve in the zone, Cooney offered this: "Just movement. I know (Ennis) is still learning the zone. I'm still learning it, too. It will come in time. Games like this will help. Especially getting out on the shooters, you have to get out to them and contest threes and not let them get easy threes." Syracuse fans certainly are going to retroactively appreciate what they had in Brandon Triche and Michael Carter-Williams there until Ennis and Cooney get in synch. This, That, and the Other Thing Jerami Grant had to sit out against Cornell due to a violation of NCAA rules regarding summer league play. The Post-Standard's Mike Waters has the story. Syracuse now owns a 88-31 advantage all-time on the Big Red. They have defeated Cornell 34 straight times. This game represented the start of the 113th season of Syracuse basketball. Syracuse alum and ESPN personality Mike Tirico, the voice of "Monday Night Football," was at the game. Tirico sat in Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross' seats behind the SU basket.
It’s one of college basketball’s grandest stages. It’s the home of former, current, and future great professional basketball players. And it’s the home of the nation’s 7th ranked basketball squad. The Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY was the stage that the Cornell Big Red would open up their season on, as they took on a dynamic Syracuse basketball team that is poised for a big year in the ACC after a Final Four defeat in the 2013 NCAA tournament. The atmosphere couldn’t have been better. From a fan perspective, being packed into my seat from my upper level seat overlooking the left baseline got me extremely excited that basketball season was back. And the passion of the fans couldn’t help but send chills up one’s spine (which might have also been caused by the sleet that was coming down outside of the dome just before the game!). The Syracuse faithful flooded into the Dome wearing orange from head to toe, and the overly confident fan base wrote off their opening night opponent even before the singing of the national anthem. “I’m feeling a 40 point victory tonight” said one fan to his fellow season ticket holders. “These guys should just get back on the bus” said another confident fan. But the Big Red seemed poised from the moment they stepped onto the court for their shoot-around and warm-up. It’s the beginning of the new season, and anything can happen. Just ask Nolan Cressler. The 6’4 sophomore from Pittsburgh PA who led the charge by scoring 20 of Cornell’s 38 first half points. At one point the Ithaca side of the regional rivalry held a 14 point lead, quickly quieting the nearly 25,000 fans who came to watch how the Orange would open their season. It even quieted the fans who declared the game to be over before tip-off.. Cornell was clicking on all cylinders; they grabbed a majority of the defensive rebounds, forced Syracuse to rush their shots, and were effective from the field when they consistently moved the ball on the offensive attack. Dominick Scelfo was also shooting quite well, finishing with 9 points with a 3-7 clip from 3-point range. Syracuse began to charge back with about 3 minutes to go, when 6’4 sharp shooter Trevor Cooney electrified the crowd with a deadly stroke from beyond the ark. He would end up with a career high 27 points while shooting an unbelievable 7 for 8 from 3-point range. As Syracuse’s Coach Jim Boeheim stated after the game, “I thought we did a good job of finding Trevor (Cooney). He bailed us out when we really needed him in the first half, when we really had nothing. He hit those two threes to get us close at halftime. Those were two monster shots and when he gets going, he is going to make those shots.” Cornell led 38-32 at the half, but their lead quickly disappeared, and when they fell behind, they fell behind for good. Syracuse became more aggressive on defense, took advantage of their size differential and began to create more open looks for themselves, resulting in more open lanes and open shots. Despite the 82-60 final, Cornell could leave the Carrier Dome with a lot to be proud of.  Coach Boeheim, a legendary figure in the college basketball world with the sixth most victories as a coach in NCAA history (921), was not only impressed with his own squad: “I thought Cornell did a tremendous job in the first half—not only ball movement, but defensively they played us very hard….I give Cornell a lot of credit – I thought they played really well.” Being able to rise above the noise and hype of an opening night game against one of the best teams in the nation is something that Cornell should build upon moving forward into the crux of the season. From my perspective in section 311, I saw a Big Red team with a lot of energy, talent, and potential to impress some people this year. I can say that without a doubt, I had no shame in seemingly being the only person wearing Red in an ocean of Orange on this cold Friday night in Syracuse.
SU Opens Season With 82-60 Triumph
 Box Score | Box Score (.pdf) | Coach Boeheim Quotes | Student-Athlete Quotes | Photo Gallery SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Syracuse outscored Cornell 32-10 over the first 10 minutes of the second half and the No. 8/7 Orange opened the 2013-14 campaign with an 82-60 victory over Cornell in front of 24,788 fans in the Carrier Dome on Friday, Nov. 8. Redshirt sophomore Trevor Cooney led all players with a career-high 27 points. He was a blistering 7-of-8 from behind the arc. He added a game-best four steals. The Big Red was led by Nolan Cressler, who had 20 of his squad-best 23 points in the first half. In the season opener for both teams, SU ended the first half on a 10-2 run and used that momentum to come out firing in the second half. The Orange shot 63-percent (17-27) from the field and 71.4-percent (5-7) from long distance in the second half to up its total to 53.6-percent (30-56) overall and 50-percent (10-20) from three for the game. Syracuse's defense limited Cornell to 36-percent (9-25) from the floor and just 18.8-percent (3-16) from deep in the closing half. The Orange out-rebounded Cornell 38-26 and also enjoyed a 21-4 advantage in fast break points. Senior C.J. Fair and junior Rakeem Christmas joined Cooney in double-figures with 19 and 12 points, respectively. In his collegiate debut, freshman Tyler Ennis finished with game-highs of eight rebounds and seven assists. Trailing 38-32 at the break, the Orange opened the second half on a 10-2 run, including a three from Cooney that put the Orange up at 42-40 with 16:53 to go. Syracuse and Cornell traded leads on the next three scores until another three pointer by Cooney – his sixth of the night – put SU back in front for good at 47-45 and sparked an 11-0 run to put the Orange in control at 55-45 with 13:03 remaining in the game. Over the next seven minutes, Syracuse used a 16-2 run to construct a 71-50 advantage aided by five points from Christmas and four apiece from Fair and Cooney. With a 75-58 lead, freshman Tyler Roberson sandwiched a jumper between a two-pointer and bank-three by freshman B.J. Johnson to give SU its largest lead of the contest at 82-58 with 1:41 left. After Fair began the game with a layup to open the scoring, Cornell responded with 10 of the next 12 points for a 10-4 advantage. Syracuse regained the lead at 16-15 following a three from Cooney and layup by Johnson midway through the first half. Dominick Scelfo answered back with a three to put Cornell back on top, 18-16. At that point, Nolan Cressler scored the next 13 points for the visitors as the Big Red extended its lead to 31-19 with 5:38 left in the half. A layup by Cressler just over a minute later gave Cornell its largest lead of the half at 36-22. Behind back-to-back trifectas from Cooney, Syracuse ended the half on a 10-2 run, capped by a Fair slam, to pull within 38-32 at the intermission. The Big Red was led by Cressler, who scored 20 of his career-high 23 points in the first half. SU will host Fordham on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
The Big Red led the Orange for practically the entire first half, and SU needed a career-best effort from an unlikely source to get the win.
Here is my report card from Friday night’s clash of longtime Central New York rivals:
Head of the Class: Trevor Cooney
This one’s a no-brainer. In the words of Jim Boeheim, Cooney “bailed us out” with a career-high 27 points on 10-12 from the floor (7-8 from three) to go along with 4 steals, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in 28 minutes of play. The Orange sleepwalked through most of the first half, and it was a pair of Cooney threes in the final two minutes that helped the Orange close to within 6 after being down by as many as 14.
In the second half Cooney went bananas, hitting three triples and a breakaway dunk in a five minute span to turn the tide and send SU to an eventual runaway win. He looked as confident as I have ever seen him, and the leaning, fading shots that always came up short last year seem to be a thing of the past - at least for now.
After the game, Boeheim complimented Cooney on his defense, saying that it’s what really keeps him in the game. Cooney added that it helps his confidence to know that he will get solid minutes this year and won’t have to look over his shoulder every time he makes a mistake. That’s something that James Southerland said early last year, and I think it rings true for every player who has started his career as a backup and had to earn his way into the lineup.
Passing Grades
Rakeem Christmas: After a lackluster exhibition output versus Holy Family, Christmas bounced back with a solid effort versus Ryerson last week, and continued to build on that Friday night. He scored 12 points on a very efficient 4-5 from the field (and 4-5 from the line) in 27 minutes, and did it in a variety of ways. He posted up and drew a foul, he worked a high-low with Baye Keita for a dunk, and even showed some versatility with a left-handed drive (which drew another foul) and a short jumper. Rakeem could stand to improve upon his 4 rebound output, but if he can perform like this on a consistent basis who knows what sort of force he could become.
C.J. Fair: Fair scored perhaps the most pedestrian 19 points I have seen in a while. He shot better than 50% (6-11), was nearly perfect from the line (6-7), and added 3 boards and 3 assists, but did it all in the shadow of Cooney’s big night. Fair did commit 7 turnovers – a couple of them coming by way of offensive fouls - to which Boeheim commented that Fair was “trying to do too much” and needed to be more patient and let the game come to him.
Stay After School
SU’s Press Defense: For the second game in a row, the Orange full-court press looked vulnerable to small, quick guards. On several occasions Cornell’s ballhandlers would zoom up the middle of the court, easily racing past any SU trap before it could arrive. It was only through the efforts of the Orange back line that Cornell didn’t convert more shots off of the broken press – Keita and the forwards did a great gob covering for their guard teammates and keeping the Big Red from running away with the game.
One of the downsides of Christmas playing power forward is that when he is paired with Keita or DaJuan Coleman he has to play at the top - or point - of the press. That’s the position we often saw Southerland occupy last year, and where Jerami Grant will spend time this year. I’m willing to chalk up these lapses to Grant’s exclusion from the lineup, but it will be worth keeping an eye out to see if this inconsistent defense becomes a trend over the next few games.
SU's Perimeter Defense: As in years past, smaller, quicker teams that can shoot have the potential to give SU fits. The first half Friday night was no exception. Three Cornell players had three triples each, and guard Nolan Cressler lit up the Orange perimeter for a team-high 23 points. Cooney said after the game that the defensive rotation was tighter in the second half, I assume after a not-so-gentle reminder from Boeheim at halftime. They were able to extend out and bother the Cornell guards more in the second half, and that led to more missed shots and more opportunities for SU to get out in transition.
Final Grade: B
I won’t lie, the first half was really rough. But led by Cooney, SU turned it on in the second and eventually coasted to a comfortable win. The announced 24,788 in attendance were rocking when Cooney went on his hot streak midway through the second half, and the Dome was as loud as I can remember for an early-season game.
SYRACUSE -- The eighth ranked SU men's basketball team was down 38-32 at the half to Cornell, but came out storming in the second half, winning 82-60. The first half was dominated by Cornell's Nolan Cressler, who went 3-6 from three point range, tallying 20 points in the first half alone. The Big Red went 7-16 as a team from three point range in the first half as well, leading the Orange by 14 points at one point. "[Cressler] was the main guy that we were focussing on," admitted Trevor Cooney. "When someone's hitting like that, he had 20 points in the first half, in the second you just gotta find him wherever he is." Two of Cooney's four first half threes came in the closing moments of the half, cutting the lead to six. SU finished the half on a 10-2 run. The Big Red led the Orange 38-32 at the half. "Trevor really saved us in the first half, when we had very little going, with a couple monster threes," said head coach Jim Boeheim. The Orange would start the second half with another 10-2 run, with a Trevor Cooney three pointer giving the Orange a 42-40 lead and forcing a Cornell timeout. Trevor Cooney wasn't finished, hitting three more threes, and then made a steal that turned into a fast-break dunk, upping his career-high point total to 27 points. "Without him making those threes I don't think we'd escape with this win like we did," C.J. Fair said of his teammate. The Orange dominated the rest of the second half, going on to win 82-60. Fair finished with 19 points, three assists and three rebounds. SU center Rakeem Christmas also played well, scoring 12 points and grabbing four rebounds. In the losing effort, Cornell's Cressler finished with 23 points, five rebounds and three assists. The Orange, now 1-0, hosts Fordham on Tuesday, November 12th at 7:30 p.m. One of the biggest stories of the game was the absence of SU sophomore Jerami Grant, serving a one game suspension due to a summer league infraction.
Cornell came out with a clear-cut strategy against Syracuse’s 2-3 zone: Take plenty of shots from the perimeter. For the first 20 minutes of basketball on Friday night, that plan worked. Nolan Cressler seemingly couldn’t miss, from anywhere on the court. “He got hot,” SU guard Tyler Ennis said. “But I thought we did a better job closing in on him in the second half and taking away his looks.” Cressler connected on 7-of-11 from the field, including a trio of 3-pointers in the first half, as Cornell built a six-point lead going into halftime. As a team, the Big Red shot 7-of-16 from downtown in the first half, but the Orange made the necessary adjustments after the break to rotate harder toward Cornell’s shooters and limit them to 3-of-16 in the second half. The No. 8 Orange (1-0) proceeded to come back from the deficit and cruise to an 82-60 victory at the Carrier Dome. “They shoot like that, they’re going to win a lot of games in the Ivy League,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “They made a lot of shots. We’re pretty good defensively, and they made seven 3s in the first half against us. Not many teams do that.” Two and a half minutes in, Cornell proved it could shoot. Syracuse’s defense swarmed the ball handler inside the paint, but point guard Robert Hatter was wide open. Devin Cherry kicked it out, and Hatter swished the 3. Three minutes later, Cressler hit a 3 to extend Cornell’s early lead to six. SU fought back, as a Michael Gbinije free throw cut the lead to 12-11. After that, though, the barrage was on. The Big Red’s next three made shots were all from 3-point range, and suddenly the underdog had pulled ahead by as much as 14 points. Cressler netted 20 by himself. “All of a sudden the guy pulls up, he banks a 3. All of a sudden, another guy who never shoots makes a 3,” Boeheim said. “Those things happen. You have to be able to overcome it.” In the second half, the tables turned. After shooting 43.8 percent from deep in the first half, Cornell connected on 18.8 percent of its attempts. The Orange, on the other hand, connected on 5-of-7 3-pointers in the second half. As SU guard Trevor Cooney powered Syracuse’s comeback with constant 3s, the Orange gave Cressler more attention defensively. Cressler got off five attempts in the second half, and made just one of them. “A lot of blame was on the forwards for not coming up. He was torching us,” SU forward C.J. Fair said. “But second half, I think we had a little pep in our step.”
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim summed up Trevor Cooney’s performance matter-of-factly when he took to the podium Friday night and discussed the Orange’s 82-60 victory over Cornell. “He bailed us out,” Boeheim said. “Obviously, when he gets going he is going to make those shots.” The red-shirt sophomore was en-fuego from behind the arc, going seven-for-eight for 27 points. “I got the first couple to go in and the game kind of flowed from there,” Cooney said. “My teammates just found me in great spots.” Not to be overshadowed by his three-point performance, Cooney chipped in a team-high four steals on the evening, too. “I just went out and played tonight,” Cooney said. “I know what I have to do offensively and defensively. I just play hard and wanted to win tonight.” Despite being the team’s second leading scorer with 19 points, C.J. Fair seemed a tad bit off, often forcing and rushing things when he didn’t have to. Boeheim stated that the senior was doing too much at times and that it will come if he is patient. In the first half, Syracuse found itself down early behind Cornell’s hot shooting. Nolan Cressler’s barrage of three-pointers gave the Big Red a comfy cushion. The Orange, however, would go into halftime on a 10-2 run. “I give Cornell a lot of credit,” Boeheim said. “they played really, really well.” Per the norm, Boeheim and co. made the necessary adjustments heading into the locker room and his team responded, holding Cornell to just 36 percent shooting on nine-of-25 shooting. The defense clamped down as well, out-rebounding the Big Red 38 to 26. The bigs -- DaJuan Coleman, Rakeem Christmas and Baye Moussa Keita -- were more involved in the second half, combining for 15 rebounds on the offensive and defensive glass. Tyler Ennis had a rough game going zero-for-six from the floor for one total point, but made up for it by grabbing eight boards. Michael Gbinije gave the Orange a boost off the bench, notching six points and dished out five assists in the process. One player inconspicuously missing on the court was Jerami Grant. The sophomore did not suit up and was seen in street clothes when the Orange ran onto the court for pre-game warmups. Boeheim was brief when it came to addressing the matter, stating that he would play the next game. “In the second half, I think we made couple adjustments defensively,” Boeheim said. “We took away the high post pass, got to the shooters better and thought our movement was a little better. We just had to get more physical defensively. That was really the difference in the game” The Orange will return to the Carrier Dome Tuesday, November 12, to take on Fordham. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. 
The adrenaline of opening night showed for both Syracuse and Cornell at the Carrier Dome on Friday night. The Big Red harnessed theirs early while the Orange seemed to have a little too much, leading to the underdog visitors leading by as many as 14 points in the first half. SU, however, eventually reined in their emotions while Cornell lost their mojo, leading to the Orange storming back for an 82-60 victory. The second half statistics told the story of the comeback, as Syracuse shot 63 percent from the field compared to Cornell’s 36 percent mark. The Orange also owned the backboards in the session, outrebounding the visitors by a 22-7 margin.
Cooney had the hot hand on Friday
Trevor Cooney seemed to replace all questions about his game by setting future expectations impossibly high. The redshirt sophomore blistered the Carrier Dome nets, burying 7-of-8 three-pointers en route to a career-high 27 points. Cooney’s hot shooting went a long way toward offsetting the Big Red’s hot start, as the guests knocked down seven first half triples in taking their healthy lead. C.J. Fair opened up the game with a quick bucket for SU, but the Orange offense went into the cooler right after, enabling Cornell to take a 7-2 lead with less than three-and-a-half minutes off the clock. Fair continued to be the primary scorer early for Syracuse, netting a couple more baskets to help narrow the margin to 12-11. The Orange shortly after took the lead back at 16-15, but Cornell’s Nolan Cressler grabbed command of the game. Cressler rang up 20 points in the first half, including 15 in just over a five-minutes to power a 21-7 Big Red run. The burst put Cornell out in front, 36-22, with just over four minutes left in the opening half. Trevor Cooney hit back-to-back threes to cap a stretch of eight straight SU points, getting the Carrier Dome crowd back into the game. After a pair of Big Red free throws slowed the SU momentum, Fair brought the crowd right back into it with a strong drive and dunk. Freshman Tyler Roberson brought an even louder roar from the crowd when he blocked a Cornell dunk attempt just before the half, keeping the score 38-32 in favor of the Big Red at the break. Just over three minutes into the second half, Cooney buried another trey to cap a 10-2 Syracuse run, give the Orange a 42-40 lead, and force a Cornell timeout. The visitors got a three to regain the lead, then swapped buckets with SU before the Orange took off on another run. Syracuse hung eight straight points on the scoreboard, capped by a thunderous putback dunk by Baye Moussa Keita that forced another Big Red timeout. Shortly after play resumed, Cooney splashed his seventh three of the game to extend the run to 11 consecutive points and the Orange lead to 55-45. A three-pointer stopped the stretch, but SU simply started another one, scoring nine straight points for a 64-48 lead just past the midpoint of the second half. Cornell seemed to flatline and Syracuse took advantage. A Big Red jumper stopped the landslide, but only momentarily, as the Orange scored the next seven points to make it a 71-50 game with just over six minutes left. At that point, SU had scored 49 of the game’s last 63 points. Syracuse cruised home from there as Jim Boeheim emptied his bench with just over a minute to go. Trevor Cooney added four steals to his game-high 27-point outburst. C.J. Fair scored 11 of his 19 points in the first half, but committed seven turnovers in the game, including a pair on charging fouls. Rakeem Christmas was the third SU player in double figure scoring, tallying a dozen points. While he had a rough night shooting in his debut for the Orange, Tyler Ennis recorded game highs of eight rebounds and seven assists. Nolan Cressler paced Cornell with 23 points. Robert Hatter and Dominick Scelfo each added nine for the Big Red. The three combined to make nine threes in the game. Noticeably absent for Syracuse was Jerami Grant, who was suspended for the game due to violating NCAA rules regarding summer league play. The Orange return to action on Tuesday when they welcome Fordham to the Dome. The Rams (1-0) waltzed out to a 20-point halftime lead as they blew out future SU opponent St. Francis (NY) on Friday night, 87-67. Fordham had four players reach double figures in scoring, paced by Jon Severe’s 28-point effort and Bryan Smith’s 18 points. The two combined for 11 three-pointers in the game, led by Severe’s seven long-range shots. The game will get underway at 7:30pm Eastern and can be watched online at
A quick take on Syracuse’s 82-60 win over Cornell on Friday evening to open the season:
WHAT HAPPENED: With Jerami Grant on the bench in (very fly) street clothes, the Orange spent the first half determinedly failing to look the part of a top-10 team while Cornell obligingly drained open and not-so-open 3s. Cornell led by as much as 14 before Trevor Cooney sparked a 10-2 run to close the gap to 6 at halftime. Another 10-2 run out of the gate in the 2nd half put the Orange ahead, a lead that quickly ballooned as SU’s talent and athleticism took over.
Syracuse started off the season with a win
ANALYSIS: Cornell made things interesting early, using good ball movement to generate open 3s. The Orange looked out-of-sync at both ends with Cooney and CJ Fair keeping Syracuse in it. The Orange’s frontcourt returners were practically invisible for most of the first half.
Then Rakeem Christmas drank some coffee at halftime, Cooney went nova, and a close game became a blowout very, very quickly.
HERO: That’s who Orange fans expected to see last year. With his team down double digits, Trevor Cooney calmly went about murdering any hope Cornell had of an upset. The redshirt sophomore went 7-8 from long range, scoring a career-high 27 in the process. Most impressive about his performance was the way his 3s came: not only on spot-ups, but curling off screens and off the dribble, too. On the other end, he played disruptive D at the top of the zone, picking up 4 steals. Cornell’s Nolan Cressler was unconscious in the first half to the tune of 20 points on 7-11 shooting, but the Orange locked him down in the second.
ZERO: The NCAA. Grant reportedly was stuck on the bench for a violation of the NCAA’s policy regarding summer league play, which is a real policy the NCAA has, apparently.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse will play Fordham on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. TV: ESPN3.

SYRACUSE — It may have just been the season opener for the eighth-ranked Syracuse University men’s basketball team Friday night, but coach Jim Boeheim was already in his feisty midseason form afterward. Trevor Cooney finished with career highs of 27 points and seven 3-point field goals, C.J. Fair added 19 points and the Orange beat Cornell, 82-60, after trailing at halftime in front of 24,788 at the Carrier Dome. Following the victory, Boeheim unloaded about what he feels are lofty preseason expectations placed upon SU (1-0). “I think the height of foolishness is to think that we’re going to win like, 29 games and lose two?” Boeheim said before he praised last year’s departed starting backcourt — Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche — a duo that led SU to its fifth Final Four and a 30-win season. “When you lose those two guys and you’re playing a freshman guard and a sophomore guard that didn’t play last year? I don’t know what people see. Maybe I don’t know basketball, I guess.” Cooney came on strong late in the first half for a lifeless SU team that trailed for most of the period. He hit two 3-pointers in the final 90 seconds to help SU cut a double digit lead to six at the break. “That’s when you know the game is really coming to you and you’re really feeling it,” said Cooney, who shot 10-of-12 from the field and 7-of-8 from behind the 3-point line. He added four steals. Boeheim said of Cooney: “He bailed us out when we really needed him in the first half, when we had nothing. He hit those two 3s to get us close at halftime and those were two monster shots.” Cooney, a red-shirt sophomore, made his first career start after struggling to get consistent minutes off the bench last season. “Knowing that you don’t have to look over your shoulder is big,” Cooney said. “And just knowing that your responsibilities are a little bigger and all you have to do is step up to the plate.” Fair, the Atlantic Coast Conference’s preseason player of the year, added minimal production outside of his scoring and finished with seven turnovers. “C.J. is trying to do a little too much,” Boeheim said. “He has to play his game which is not what it was tonight. He’s got to find his spots and play the way he plays, not the way somebody else plays. I thought he made some plays that are not characteristic of him.” Junior Rakeem Christmas added 12 points and was the only other SU player in double figures. Heralded freshman guard Tyler Ennis scored just one point in his debut, but did provide eight rebounds and seven assists to just two turnovers. Boeheim said he was pleased with Ennis’s play, before saying that “He’s not Michael Carter-Williams.” “We’re not that team. We’re not last year’s team,” Boeheim said. “Michael Carter-Williams would have gone through here and dunked on these guys, like six times. The game never would have gotten going. He’s just not here.” Boeheim continued: “That’s like people that buy the lottery tickets, that’s what they’re like. They buy a lottery ticket and actually think they’re going to win. I mean, come on. How do you lose those players and think you’re going to be better? That’s just unbelievable. That’s absurd.” Boeheim then offered what he views as a realistic expectation for this year’s Orange. “We’re going to get better and we’re going to come back and try to play better next week and go game by game and see if we can become what everybody is predicting we could become. We’re far from it right now.” nNOTES: Notably absent from Friday’s win was sophomore reserve forward Jerami Grant. Boeheim did not say why Grant was not in uniform, but said that he would be back next game. When asked to elaborate, he simply replied: “Nah.”

The No. 8 Syracuse Orange (1-0) defeated the Cornell Big Red (0-1), 82-60 on Friday night, but the 22-point final deficit tells only half the story. The Red came to play at the Carrier Dome, jumping out to a surprising 14-point first-half lead, leaving a mostly hostile crowd of 24,788 stunned. Sophomore guard Nolan Cressler caught fire for much of the first half, totaling 20 points in the game’s first 16 minutes. A two-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week last season, Cressler was transcendent on Friday, finding pockets of open space throughout Syracuse’s vaunted 2-3 zone. Cressler, along with freshman guard Robert Hatter, paced Cornell early, as the Red outplayed and outhustled a much larger and more skilled Orange squad in front of a raucous Syracuse student section. As point guard, the inexperienced Hatter demonstrated considerable poise on the court. “My teammates welcome me; they let me be a leader. They trust me and I trust them,” said the freshman from Houston. Hatter finished with nine points and two assists in only 14 minutes of play. As a team, the Big Red shot 43% from behind the arc in the first half, keeping the increasingly frustrated Orange from cutting into a deficit that hovered around ten for much of the period. Each time Syracuse would piece together a run, Cornell seemed to answer with a three ball. As a fan in the Syracuse student section dryly stated, “Cornell has figured out that three points is more than two. They truly are in the Ivy League.” Defensively, the Red was stout as well, preventing preseason ACC Player of the Year CJ Fair from ever getting into a rhythm. “We did a lot of things that we wanted to do in the first half. We wanted them to take outside jump shots, contested jumps shots,” said head coach Bill Courtney, who is entering his fourth season at the helm for the Red. Fair put the first points on the board for either squad with an easy lefty layup. Cornell answered a minute later when Hatter, playing his first minute of non-exhibition collegiate basketball, lobbed a precise pass to a soaring freshman forward David Onuorah for an alley-oop dunk. This sparked a 7-0 run for the Red, who would stretch the lead into double digits as the first half wore on. A combination of relentless zone and man-to-man pressure from senior forward Dwight Tarwater and junior guard Devin Cherry kept Fair, an NBA prospect, under control for much of the game. Fair finished with 19 points, but also had 7 turnovers. Cressler’s 20th point was notched on a goaltending jumper, which stretched Cornell’s lead to its largest margin of the night, 36-22. Behind a pair of Trevor Cooney three pointers, the Orange put together a 10-2 run to close the half, leaving Cornell to take a rather precarious six-point lead into the halftime locker room. In the second half, Cressler could not sustain his hot shooting stroke. The sophomore credited second half adjustments by the Orange with hindering his flow. “They definitely matched up with me a little more,” he said. “Every time I was down there, their zone was shading a bit towards me.” The shots that were falling for Cressler and his teammates in the first half began rimming out in the second. The precision passes that cut through Syracuse’s tight zone in the game’s first 20 minutes were getting engulfed by the long arms of a more active Orange zone in the second half. While Syracuse’s shooting continued heating up behind Cooney after halftime, Cornell’s offense responded with errant passes out of bounds or right into the hands of Syracuse defenders. At one point mid-way through the second half, the Red committed turnovers on seven of eight possessions as its second half deficit grew to 62-48. The accurate second half shooting of Syracuse gave the Orange the opportunity to get back into their zone after each made basket. “There were hands everywhere, they are as good as anyone in the country at creating turnovers,” Courtney said. Cooney continued to light up the scoreboard until both teams put in their substitutes. The Syracuse sophomore finished with 27 points, connecting on seven of eight shots from behind the arc, with each subsequent three sending the crowd into a deeper frenzy. His three ball at 14:56 in the second put the Orange up 47-45, a lead the Red would never reclaim. The Red’s first half effort earned praise from Syracuse’s Hall of Fame coach. “They made some tough shots,” said Jim Boeheim.“If they shoot like that, they’re going to win a lot of games in the Ivy League.” With a long non-conference preseason ahead of his team, Courtney said the effort and efficient ball movement against a Top-10 team bodes well for the future. “That’s why we give them the opportunity to play the best,” Courtney said. “We will continue to strive to get to that high level.”
 Cressler nets 20 in 1st half as Cornell threatens Syracuse
Cornell came out with a clear-cut strategy against Syracuse’s 2-3 zone: Take plenty of shots from the perimeter. For the first 20 minutes of basketball on Friday night, that plan worked. Nolan Cressler seemingly couldn’t miss from anywhere on the court. “He got hot,” SU guard Tyler Ennis said. “But I thought we did a better job closing in on him in the second half and taking away his looks.” Cressler connected on 7-of-11 from the field — including a trio of 3-pointers in the first half — as Cornell built a six-point lead going into halftime. As a team, the Big Red shot 7-of-16 from downtown in the first half, but the Orange made the necessary adjustments after the break to rotate harder toward Cornell’s shooters and limit them to 3-of-16 in the second half. The No. 8 Orange (1-0) proceeded to come back from the deficit and cruise to an 82-60 victory over Cornell (0-1) at the Carrier Dome. “They shoot like that, they’re going to win a lot of games in the Ivy League,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “They made a lot of shots. We’re pretty good defensively, and they made seven 3s in the first half against us. Not many teams do that.” Two and a half minutes in, Cornell proved it could shoot. Syracuse’s defense swarmed the ball handler inside the paint, but point guard Robert Hatter was wide open. Devin Cherry kicked it out, and Hatter swished the 3. Three minutes later, Cressler hit a 3 to extend Cornell’s early lead to six. SU fought back, as a Michael Gbinije free throw cut the lead to 12-11. After that, though, the barrage was on. The Big Red’s next three made shots were all from 3-point range, and suddenly the underdog had pulled ahead by as much as 14 points. Cressler netted 20 by himself. “All of a sudden the guy pulls up, he banks a 3. All of a sudden, another guy who never shoots makes a 3,” Boeheim said. “Those things happen. You have to be able to overcome it.” In the second half, the tables turned. After shooting 43.8 percent from deep in the first half, Cornell connected on 18.8 percent of its attempts. The Orange, on the other hand, connected on 5-of-7 3-pointers in the second half. As SU guard Trevor Cooney powered Syracuse’s comeback with constant 3s, the Orange gave Cressler more attention defensively. Cressler got off five attempts in the second half and made just one of them. “A lot of blame was on the forwards for not coming up. He was torching us,” SU forward C.J. Fair said. “But second half, I think we had a little pep in our step.”


Anonymous said...

Finally able to watch it on ESPN3 this morning. Not sure what I think ... it wasn't one of the completely embarassing beatdowns we suffered last year, but in the 2nd half there was just this sequence where they must have turned it over five or six times in a row; completely lost composure when Syracuse turned on the heat, and sometimes just looked overwhelmed and threw things away. But it was such an inexperienced squad and most teams, as they mature, learn to stay calm when the opponent gets hot... if this team can do that then there is hope. Given how inexperienced the players were -- even the seniors have hardly played -- this performance was nothing to be ashamed of and they rather exceeded expectations. With more poise under pressure over the season, it will be interesting to see what they accomplish!

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

-FOUR frosh played major roles for Cornell.

-Cuse had 6 exhibition games

-24K fans in the stands, national tv

-Played without Shonn Miller

-Sophs and Jrs relatively inexperienced

I think given the above, you have to be very happy with the result. We know Jim Boheim is angry.

Unknown said...

Yes, we led at the half, and beat the spread...Definitely your classic Ivy League moral victory. I was pleasantly surprised by the freshmen's play (albeit on radio while at work so it was hard to tell what was going on). But it seemed like Hatter, Smith and the Big O have some potential. Why were Onourah's minutes so odd? He got hurt or fouls or what?

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

David O("MY GOD")nuorah had a bloody nose and had to leave the game.