Saturday, February 15, 2014

Game Recaps: Cornell 70 Dartmouth 67

Box Score I Box Score (PDF) I Game Highlights

ITHACA, N.Y. -- The Cornell men's basketball team had the clock read zero three times before it was able to celebrate its first Ivy League win of the season, but in the end the Big Red wouldn't be denied. Cornell scratched, clawed and willed itself to a 70-67 victory over Dartmouth on Friday evening at Newman Arena.

Dwight Tarwater had 14 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and two steals to lead four double figure scorers, while Nolan Cressler scored 17 points and had five rebounds. Jake Matthews notched 13 points, Devin Cherry had 12 points, four rebounds and four assists and freshmen Darryl Smith (six points, five rebounds) and David Onuorah (six points, four rebounds, three steals, two blocks) also contributed major minutes as Cornell snapped a 25-game losing streak against Division I opponents and a 12-game Ivy League skid dating back to last year.

Tyler Melville had 14 points, Alex Mitola scored 12 and Connor Boehm had 10 points to lead the Big Green, while John Golden notched eight points, 11 rebounds and four assists as Dartmouth outrebounded Cornell 38-36. The Big Green shot 50 percent from the floor in the second half after connecting on just 30 percent from the field in the first half.

Cornell led by 15 points with 11:55 left in regulation after Matthews hit a pair of free throws to make it 51-36. The Big Red got consecutive defensive stands, including a steal by Dominick Scelfo, but Cornell missed an easy layup that was kicked ahead for an Alex Mitola 3-pointer. That triggered a 16-0 run by the visitors over just 3:36 that featured 11 points from Mitola and ended with a Kevin Crescenzi jumper that gave Dartmouth its first lead since the opening minutes with exactly seven minutes remaining.

The lead would change seven times in the final seven minutes, with Dartmouth taking its final lead of the contest with 2:04 left after Tyler Melville hit the second of his two free throws. Leading by three, it looked as though Cornell might put the game on ice with under 45 second left when Mitola tried to shoot over a screen and Darryl Smith blocked it out of the air and fed it ahead to a streaking Cherry, who was fouled on the layup to make it a five-point game. Cherry wasn't able to convert the charity shot and Dartmouth made a final run. After an initial miss, Connor Boehm was fouled on a putback attempt . His free throw was missed, but it was again rebounded by the Big Green and Melville was fouled. He went to the line and missed the first before making the second, getting the visitors back within two (64-62) with 32 ticks left.

Tarwater connected on a pair of free throws to push it back to four, but Dartmouth answered right back. Eli Harrison hit his only field goal of the game when he got lost on an inbounds and drilled a 3-pointer with 19 seconds left to make it 66-65 Big Red. Cherry was again fouled nad went to the line, where he hit the second, but Melville went uncontested to the hole to tie it up with nine seconds left.

Cherry was fouled on the inbounds and hit the go-ahead free throw on his second attempt to make it 68-67, and as Dartmouth raced downcourt for a game-winning attempt, Tarwater jumped in front of a Melville pass as the clock ran out. The team wasn't able to run on the court, however, as one second was put back on the clock after a Dartmouth foul. The senior calmly hit both shots to make it 70-67. Again, Dartmouth's inbounds pass was knocked out of bounds off a Cornell player and the clock again ran out, but the officials again went to the replay and determined there was 0.7 left. An inbounds into the backcourt left an off-balance fallaway 3-point shooter to push the attempt short and Cornell was able to head to the locker room with its second home win in its last three tries.

The Big Red returns to action tomorrow when it faces three-time defending league champion Harvard at 7 p.m. at Newman Arena. The Crimson escaped an upset bid at Columbia with a last-second tip-in to force overtime, then claimed the double overtime 88-84 win.

ITHACA, N.Y. — Dartmouth utilized a 16-point run to rally from a 15-point deficit in the second half, but Cornell managed to pull out a 70-67 victory in the final seconds at Newman Arena on Friday night. Devin Cherry hit the game-winning free throw with 4.1 seconds on the clock, and the Big Green came up short on a desperation three at the buzzer.

The Big Red victory ended a 25-game losing streak against Division I competition dating back to last year as Cornell improved to 2-19 on the season and 1-6 in the Ivy league. Nolan Cressler led four Big Red players in double figures with 17 points while Dwight Tarwater registered a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Sophomore Alex Mitola led the furious rally with three three-pointers and a pair of free throws for 11 of the 16 points during the run. But it was senior Tyler Melville who led Dartmouth (9-12, 2-5 Ivy) with 14 points in the game, and junior John Golden matched a career-high with 11 rebounds.

Cornell led by 11 at the half, 31-20, and its lead wavered between seven and 11 points for the first six-plus minutes of the second stanza when Jake Matthews drained consecutive three-pointers to boost the Big Red advantage to 15 at 49-34. With 11:55 to go, Matthews added a pair of free throws to maintain that 15-point advantage, 51-36.

After a couple of missed opportunities at both ends of the floor, Mitola rained in his first three-pointer of the night. Sophomore Kevin Crescenzi hit his second triple of the game shortly thereafter to bring the difference back to single digits. When Mitola ripped the net for three more on the next possession, Cornell head coach Bill Courtney called a timeout to settle his squad.

On the inbounds pass, however, Crescenzi stole the ball and passed out to Mitola, who dropped in another trey, and suddenly Dartmouth trailed by just three, 51-48. The Big Red grabbed an offensive rebound on their next trip, but Cressler was whistled for a technical foul after the whistle blew, leading to two free throws by Mitola. Crescenzi capped the run by giving the Big Green the lead with a short jumper in the paint, making it 52-51 with seven minutes to go.

The two teams traded free throws before Golden spun a beautiful reverse layup off the glass and through the hoop for a 56-53 Big Green lead. Cornell reclaimed the lead with buckets from David Onuorah and Cressler, only to have Dartmouth answer back with a layup by sophomore Connor Boehm, who finished the game with 10 points.

Tarwater tied the game by hitting 1-of-2 at the line, and Melville matched those numbers to put the Green back up by one, 59-58. But Cherry drove for a layup, Tarwater hit a baseline jumper from 15 feet and Cherry scored a layup on a break after Darryl Smith blocked Mitola’s three-point attempt, putting Cornell up five, 64-59, with just 43 seconds to go.

Still Dartmouth would not give up. Boehm scored on a putback and was fouled. Although he missed the free throw, Melville got the rebound and was fouled as well. He sank the second of his two shots to close the gap to two with 32.6 seconds left, only to have Tarwater convert two free throws at the other end. Freshman three-point specialist Eli Harrison came off the bench to make it a one-point game with his triple near the top of the key, and with 16.3 seconds to go, Cherry hit 1-of-2 free throws, leaving the door open for the Big Green.

Melville went through that door, driving for the game-tying layup with 9.3 seconds left. With both teams out of timeouts, Cherry scampered back up the court to get to the rim, but was fouled on the way. He dramatically missed the first one, only to make the second to give the Big Red a 68-67 lead with 4.1 seconds left. Tarwater stole the ball near midcourt and was fouled as well with one second to play, sending him to the line where he hit both foul shots. Dartmouth got a desperation three-point attempt off from about 32 feet, but it was well off the mark as the buzzer sounded.

The Big Green struggled to get offense going in the first half, shooting just 7-of-23 (.304) from the floor while tallying just 20 points. Cornell, meanwhile, was 11-of-25 (.440) with four three-pointers to help it build the 11-point bulge at the break.

The second half was a different story as Dartmouth found its stroke, hitting 50 percent (17-of-34) overall and 5-of-13 (.385) from long range. And while the Green took better advantage of second-chance opportunities with 20 points to the Big Red’s seven, Cornell turned 12 Dartmouth turnovers into 19 points on the night, compared to just 11 points off 10 Big Red miscues.

Dartmouth finished the game with a slight shooting (42.1 percent to 40.7 percent) and rebounding edge (38-36), but Cornell’s edge at the line (20-of-29 compared to 13-of-21) proved to be the difference maker.

Dartmouth will get a chance to rebound from the close loss on Saturday night when it plays at Columbia (14-10, 3-4 Ivy), which lost in double-overtime to Harvard, 88-84. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. The Big Red get to host those Crimson (19-4, 6-1 Ivy) tomorrow night at 7 p.m. as well.
Notes: Dartmouth has lost 11 straight games in Ithaca, with the last victory coming in 2003 ... Golden also had 11 rebounds as a freshman against Elon on Dec. 17, 2011 ... the three-point loss marked the first Big Green game decided by fewer than seven this season ... the last time Dartmouth rallied from a 10-point deficit to win a game came against Army on Dec. 11, 2010.

The men’s basketball team dropped both of its games on its road trip this weekend, falling 70-67 to Cornell University in a heartbreaker and 69-59 to Columbia University. The Big Green has now lost four games straight, bringing its record to 9-13 overall, 2-6 versus the Ancient Eight.

The contest against the Big Red started out close, with neither team gaining more than a three-point edge for the opening 10 minutes. Cornell began to gain some momentum when sophomore Nolan Cressler drilled a three and Dwight Tarwater powered to the cup for two, sparking a furious 18-6 run for the home team.

The Big Green tried to answer before the break, as Brandon McDonnell ’16 sunk a pair of free throws and Kevin Crescenzi ’16 drained a long ball after losing his man with a hesitation dribble. Cornell reciprocated, though, extending the lead to 31-20 going into the locker room.

The team committed to turning the game around after halftime, guard John Golden ’15 said.

“Honestly, we didn’t play well in the first half,” he said. “Coach got into us a little bit and told us we could play a lot better than we did.”

After the break, Dartmouth mounted a furious comeback to put itself in a position to win.

The scoring alternated for the first five minutes of the period, as Cornell’s lead shrunk to nine points.  Cornell then pressed its advantage, starting with a steal and a breakaway two-handed jam by freshman Darryl Smith.

After the media timeout, two Cornell free throws brought the lead to 51-36, the largest of the game.

Dartmouth needed a player to step up and it got one in Alex Mitola ’16. Mitola canned three three-pointers in two minutes, the string punctuated only by a long shot from Crescenzi.

Mitola finished off his virtuosic burst with a trip to the foul line, where he made both his attempts to pull the Big Green within one. Crescenzi finished off the job on the next possession with a jumper in the paint to give Dartmouth the lead at 52-51 with seven minutes remaining.

“We came out and played a lot better defense to start the second half,” Golden said. “Getting stops on them allowed us to get some easy buckets, which got us right back into it.”

The two teams continued to battle up until the final minute of regulation, with neither side gaining more than a three-point advantage.

With Dartmouth behind 62-59 at the 1:03 mark, Connor Boehm ’16 swung the ball to Mitola, who squared up for three. As he released the ball, Darryl Smith flew in and swatted it away, setting up a fast break for Cornell. Mitola sprinted after in hot pursuit but arrived too late, as junior Devin Cherry completed the layup and drew the foul.

Dartmouth refused to give up, though, and after back-and-forth foul shooting by both teams, the score favored Cornell 66-62 with 0:26 remaining. Following a timeout, the Big Green got the ball to Eli Harrison ’17, who drained a deep, fade-away three, bringing the bench to its feet and imbuing the team with new life.

After a free throw by Cherry and then a layup by Tyler Melville ’14, the score stood tied at 67 with nine seconds remaining. Cherry got to the free throw line again and make one of two, putting Cornell back on top. With five seconds remaining, Cornell stole the ball off Melville on an inbound pass, effectively ending the game and the comeback.

The game against the Lions unfolded in almost exactly the opposite way, as Dartmouth kept the score close during the first half and then let the margin widen in the second period.

The first half was closely contested, as the game went through 10 lead changes and eight ties. Mitola kept his team in the game with three long balls in the first seven minutes. Columbia fought back as junior Meiko Lyles hit two three-pointers of his own in response, but Dartmouth fended off Columbia until the last minute of the first half, when freshman Jeff Coby sunk a free throw, grabbed the rebound when he missed a second, and put the ball back in for two. The score was 31-30 in favor of the Lions going into the break.

The start of the second half looked promising for the Big Green, as Boehm hit a pair of foul shots and Melville drained a pull-up jumper in their first two offensive possessions. After Melville’s shot, though, the Dartmouth offense stagnated, hitting just one field goal in the next nine minutes.

The team tried to make its way back in the game, pulling within six points with under seven minutes remaining, but the Big Green would never get closer, however, as Columbia’s defense locked down and sophomore Maodo Lo and junior Alex Rosenberg combined to go 12-of-12 from the free-throw line in the remainder of the contest.

Performance at the line seemed to limit the Big Green who made 58.3 percent of its attempts compared to 84.6 percent from Columbia, which leads the Ivy League in free throw shooting.

“We have to be able to capitalize on free throws, that was the crucial thing in the game,” Melville said. “I’m not saying that’s a tell-all statistic, but free throws are certainly a big part of the game.”

The Big Green will go on another road trip next weekend, playing Princeton University on Friday night and the University of Pennsylvania on Saturday night. Dartmouth beat both schools earlier this season.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations to the young men on their win. Good job guy's.

gulfporter said...

let not this minor victory deter the end to the courteney era please!

Old Grad said...

Way to go guys. There sure ain't no quit in you. I hope this is the start of something better for you. You're our team, even if BC's not our coach.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on how getting any division 1 win is now a huge accomplishment for this team, Bill Courtney! The lower you drive standards, the greater the likelihood you'll exceed them! Way to go!!

Anonymous said...

Like it or not, Bill Courtney also deserves credit for the win too. His strategy to trap Mitola on every ball screen took him out of the game until he hit some late 3s outside their offense. His sub patterns were also right on. Give credit where credit is due. The same goes for for the players. No one is looking for happy talk but when players perform well, acknowledge it. The staff and the players work their rear ends off and put in hours and hours. Being negative just for the sake of being negative = no credibility.

Anonymous said...

Bill Courtney does not deserve credit for anything. This is a man who has had 2 wins all season for chrissakes. People who keep acting like those who find this appalling are just being "negative for the sake of being negative" are a symbol of how dangerous Courtney is as a coach: now that we expect to just lose all the time he deserves praise for when we manage the most meager of accomplishments. He supposedly inherited an empty cupboard yet if he ever returns to that empty cupboard's top 200 ranking from his first year, people will act like he deserves a statue.