Sunday, December 22, 2013

News and Notes: Sunday Edition

Get all the information you need about Cornell's game at Stony Brook, Sunday, December 22, 2013 with The Cornell Basketball Blog's Game Preview Center.  Below, news and notes for Sunday...

ITHACA — The Cornell men’s basketball will attempt to hit the reset button on its 2013-14 season on Sunday evening, in its penultimate game of the calendar year.
After two weeks off for exams, Coach Bill Courtney’s Big Red (0-10), a loser of 16 straight games dating to last season, is heading to Long Island to take on defending America East Conference regular-season champion Stony Brook (8-4). Game time is 6 p.m. in Pritchard Gymnasium (HITS 103.3 FM).
The Big Red women’s team is also in action this weekend after its exam break, as Coach Dayna Smith’s squad (5-4) travels to Moon Township, Pa., to take on Robert Morris (3-6) today in a 1:30 p.m. tipoff.
Sunday’s game is the first of four non-conference games remaining on the Cornell men’s schedule before Ivy League play starts Jan. 18, 2014, at Columbia. Cornell travels to Saint Peter’s on Dec. 28 and St. Bonaventure on Jan. 4 before wrapping up the non-league slate on Jan. 11 at home against Division III Oberlin College.
It’s been more than 10 months since Cornell’s last victory, a 69-66 league defeat of Brown on Feb. 16. The 16-game slide is tied for the longest in program history, matching the run endured by the 1972-73 squad, coached by Tony Coma, which wound up 4-22 overall, 1-13 in the league.
The Red has shown glimpses of promise this season, leading host Syracuse by as many as 14 points in the first half of the opener before losing by 22, then leading by 19 points with 12 minutes to play against Binghamton before the visiting Bearcats stormed back to win by 10. The defense has allowed nearly 86 points per game and 50.5 percent shooting by its opponents, including 43 percent from 3-point range, while Cornell is shooting 42.2 percent and scoring 68.0 points per outing.
Sophomore guard Nolan Cressler is leading the Red in scoring at 17.1 points per game, while also averaging 4.9 rebounds. Freshman guard Robert Hatter is also scoring in double figures (12.7 ppg.), and forward Dwight Tarwater, the lone senior in the starting lineup, is the leading rebounder (8.1 ppg., 6.8 rpg.).
Stony Brook, winner of three of the past four America East regular-season titles, is led by 6-8 sophomore center Jameel Warney (15.7 ppg., 9.7 rpg.) and a trio of guards averaging double figures, including 6-foot senior Anthony Jackson (15.8 ppg.).
The Seawolves are coming off Thursday night’s 76-69 defeat of Loyola (Md.), in which Warney led the way with a 20-point, 11-rebound effort.
Cornell leads the all-time series with Stony Brook, 4-3, although the Seawolves have won the past two meetings, including last year’s game in Ithaca (76-53).
  • The Daily Herald mentions Cornell recruit, Riley Glassmann (Fremd HS) Palatine, IL, 6-5, G and writes, "The [Fremd] Vikings are massive with 6-foot-6 Ben Carlson, 6-6 Matt Ochoa, 6-3 Xavier Williams and 6-5 Riley Glassmann, who is headed to Cornell next year. Only one team has scored more than 40 points against the Vikings this year, and their opponents are averaging 34 points in Fremd's last 5 games."  Per the Daily Herald, Glassman led all scorers on Friday night with 18 points in a win keeping his Fremd team unbeaten.
  • Harvard grad, Mike James issues a power ranking of the Ivy League teams for the Rush The Court blog and writes of Cornell:
8) Cornell (0-10) – A fantasy basketball owner might struggle to understand what’s ailing the Big Red. Cornell has two extremely high usage guards in freshman Robert Hatter (47th highest usage rate nationally) and sophomore Nolan Cressler (90th highest usage rate nationally) who are each hovering just below average offensive efficiency. The Big Red also has some big men who use limited possessions, but with strong efficiency. While the struggles of guard Devin Cherry have slowed the production a bit, at just over a point per possession, Cornell still ranks outside the bottom 100 teams nationally. The defense, on the other hand, has been a universal disaster. Teams are shooting 43 percent from three, 55 percent from two and turning the ball over to Bill Courtney’s high-pressure defense on just 13 percent of their possessions. The result is a defense that ranks dead last nationally, another dubious distinction for the nation’s last winless team.
Ivy Rookie of the Year
Robert Hatter, G, Cornell – Has had his ups and downs as most freshmen do, but when he’s on, he can score and distribute the basketball like few freshmen can.
...And then there is Cornell, a team that is historically bad to the point that the 0-10 Tiny Red are owners of the worst defense in all of the 351-team Division I universe, conceding 1.198 points per possession, a far cry from the D-I average of 1.035 ppp.
Without further ado…

8. Cornell 0-10 (7 points)- Until Cornell manages to become the final Division I basketball team to win game this season, these are the only words the team gets. -Jake Mastbaum
  • The Boston Globe writes, "This can’t be what the folks at Boston College had in mind when they hired Steve Donahue away from Cornell."  And the BC Gavel asks for Christmas, "A successful defensive scheme for men’s basketball coach Steve Donahue"
  • Gold and Black, the Purude fan site on writes of Errick Peck (Cornell '13):
Errick Peck has seen it "everywhere" since his arrival to Purdue this fall.
"Play hard."
It's plastered on the wall above the tunnel entrance to Mackey Arena.
It's splashed across the back of the Boilermakers' practice shorts.
It's in the locker room, in the practice gym.
And, yet, somehow, Peck let the identity of what Coach Matt Painter wants his players to be get away from him over the last couple weeks.
So it may not be much of a surprise, then, that Peck's playing time has decreased over the last couple of weeks, as freshman Basil Smotherman has more consistently played with a sense of urgency and energy and effort than the fifth-year senior.
But coming off a game in which Peck gained confidence - in only 13 minutes against Maryland-Eastern Shore, he had nine points, four rebounds and an assist - and what Painter called a good week of practice, Peck is ready "play hard" again.
"I think I've failed at times to do that," Peck said Friday, two days before the Boilermakers play their final non-conference game. "I put that blame on me. Hopefully, I'll pick it up. I should pick it up.
"Coming in as a fifth-year senior, I should have the maturity to be focused every single practice. I blame myself for, I guess, the lowering of expectations I've had in my play these recent games. But I'll pick it up. I appreciate the compliment from Coach Painter, and hopefully he'll say that about the rest of the year, not just one week."
Peck started the first eight games of the season, showing that energy consistently in practice and bringing it as a spark in games while also focusing on rebounding, trying to play solid defense and hustling. Offense was secondary.
Painter liked the effort so much - even as Smotherman was starting to gain speed - that he started Peck and the freshman together against Siena in Orlando. But in that game, Peck had only one rebound and turned the ball over twice in 18 minutes.
The next game, Smotherman was a started, and Peck began a string of three consecutive games of fewer than 20 minutes.
The decrease in playing time bothered Peck - he called it "frustrating."
For Painter, though, it may have worked. When asked how Peck handled the decision, Painter said, "It's one of those things where there's nothing really to talk about. Somebody has played better than you, someone has brought us more energy. It's the best message to send without words."
Painter wanted Peck to regain the work ethic and fight he'd shown, and he jump-started him to that by showing him an example of a player who was working relentlessly.
And a freshman, no less.
That doesn't seem to sit well with Peck, either, who used his final season of eligibility to play in West Lafayette.
"It's tough because you want to come in and be a mentor but at the same time, you never want anybody to take your position, too," Peck said of Smotherman. "So you kind of want to show them the tricks of the trade more by abusing him with it, rather than giving it to him beforehand."
Peck complimented the youngster, too, mentioning that high-energy and high-flying capability. Peck may not show much of the latter, but he's itching to prove he can still be a guy who can do the former. Again.
"I think the biggest thing for me is to not worry about how much playing time I get and to just be productive when I'm on the floor," said Peck, who admitted he was putting more pressure on himself of late to score because he thought that would keep him on the floor. "I think I've kind of lost sight of that a little bit, too. Doing the little things, however long Coach Painter decides to play me, I'm just going to go out there and play my game from now on instead of focusing on points or different things and just try to be more productive all-around than just in one category.
"I feel like I bring more to the table than just being a rebounder and a hustle guy. But at the same time, you have to fill your role. I kind of lost sight of that, so just picking it up as the weeks go along, and we'll see what happens."
  • Cornell RPI Watch: The RPI (Rating Percentage Index) is a measure of strength of schedule and how a team does against that schedule. It does not consider the margin of victory, but only whether or        not a team won and where the game was played (home/away/neutral court). The formula is 25% team     winning percentage (WP), 50% opponents' average winning percentage (OWP), and 25% opponents' opponents' average winning percentage (OOWP). (See: for a further explanation of the formula.) The RPI may be the most influential factor in NCAA Tournament seeding. Cornell's RPI rank as of December 22, 2013 is No. 344 out of 344 total Division I teams. While neither the Ken Pomeroy or the Sagarin Rankings (USA Today) are used by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, the site ranks Cornell No. 343 in the nation, while the Sagarin Rankings (USA Today) have Cornell at No. 340.  Both sites are predominantly used by fans and the media.

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