Saturday, February 8, 2014

Game Recaps: Penn 90 Cornell 83

Recaps below...

Box Score I Box Score (PDF) I Game Highlights

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Penn's Miles Cartwright banked in a 3-pointer as the first half horn went off following a Big Red inbounding turnover in its backcourt to send the Quakers into halftime with a 50-32 lead on Friday evening at the Palestra. It was a symbolic ending to the first 20 minutes.

Nearly the opposite transpired in the second half. Cornell made shots, dominated the glass and forced the Quakers into a number of turnovers, but Penn's lead was too much to overcome as the home team held on for a 90-83 victory. Penn improved to 5-13 (2-2 Ivy), while the Big Red fell to 1-18 (0-5 Ivy).

The future looked bright, as three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior did much of damage in the final 20 minutes. Sophomore Nolan Cressler scored 22 points and grabbed five rebounds, junior Devin Cherry had 15 points and eight rebounds and freshmen David Onuorah (11 points, nine rebounds) and Darryl Smith (15 points) each set career scoring bests in the loss. Rookie Robert Hatter also had nine points, three rebounds and three assists.

Cornell shot 51 percent from the floor and got back within five with possession in the final seven minutes, but couldn't chip away any further. The Big Red held a 36-29 edge on the glass and a 16-5 edge on the offensive boards. No matter the numbers, the visitors couldn't overcome one Penn statistic – its 61 percent shooting from the floor.

Tony Hicks scored 27 points and added seven assists, Miles Cartwright added 19 points and five assists and Fran Dougherty notched 17 points and 10 rebounds for the double-double. Darien Nelson-Henry chipped in eight points and six boards as the Quakers evened their Ivy record.

Cornell spent the entire second half clawing away with pressure and speed, as well as a strong 22-12 edge on the glass (12-2 on the offensive end). The Big Red finally got back to single digits when Cressler hit a straightaway 3-pointer with 12 minutes to play, forcing a Quaker timeout. The visitors got within five points on four occasions, including with six minutes to play. After a Penn missed free throw, the Big Red committed a turnover in the backcourt and the Quakers' Steve Rennard made a steal and layup to push it their lead to seven. That would be as close as Cornell would get again until Robert Hatter's putback with two seconds remaining.

The Quakers spent much of the first half shooting in the 80 percent range as it built an 18-point lead at the break by banking in a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Penn went into the locker room up 50-32, though its shooting percentage dipped to 65 percent at the break. Miles Cartwright scored 15 points and Tony Hicks had 13 at the break and the backcourt combo combined to shoot 12-of-18 from the field. Penn did their damage despite hitting on just 1-of-6 from beyond the arc, that one being the banked in shot at the horn.

Cornell heads to Princeton tomorrow to face the Tigers at 6 p.m. at Jadwin Gymnasium. Both teams will be looking for their first Ivy win of the season after Columbia dropped the Tigers 63-62 earlier this evening. You can watch the game live on the Ivy League Digital Network.

FOUR YEARS AGO, Cornell won its third consecutive Ivy League championship and played Kentucky in the Sweet 16 at the Carrier Dome. Two years ago, Penn was at Jadwin Gym on the final day of the regular season, playing Princeton with a share of the Ivy title on the line.

Those were nice historical memories as the schools gathered last night at the Palestra. They entered the game a combined 5-30. Penn is better than it has played. Cornell probably is not.

The Big Red had only one of those five wins, and it was against Division III Oberlin. This finally was a game Penn was not only supposed to win, but win easily.

It was easy for a while. It got somewhat interesting later. It was a 90-83 Penn win.

Penn's Tony Hicks and Miles Jackson-Cartwright combined for 46 points, 12 assists and only three turnovers. At halftime, when Penn led, 50-32, it was 28 points, seven assists and zero turnovers.

It was not a great shock that Penn (5-13, 2-2 Ivy) was able to shoot 20-for-31 (64.5 percent) in the first half. It was a man bites dog stat when the Quakers had had only three turnovers at the break.

"I liked the last 11 minutes of the first half," Penn coach Jerome Allen said.

The teams, the coach pointed out, were trading baskets. Then, it was Penn, 24-8, to close out the half.

Penn freshman guard Matt Howard had played only 83 minutes and scored 21 points on the season. He was a revelation in the first half with seven points, a steal, a block and two rebounds. He can help, and did before he got his fourth foul with 13 minutes left in the game.

"It was good to see him get rewarded for his hard work," Allen said.

Cornell (1-18, 0-5) never stopped trying, scored 51 points in the second half while shooting 51.4 percent. The Big Red got within six a few times as Penn's second-half defense resembled what Cornell played in the first half, five invisible men waving as the man with the ball cruised about unopposed. The Big Red got 16 offensive rebounds and beat Penn in second-chance points, 19-3.

"Hopefully [tonight against Columbia], we can put it together for a longer stretch," Allen said.

Fran Dougherty had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Quakers. But it was definitely the Hicks (27 points) and Jackson-Cartwright (19) Show.

"We were just staying in attack mode, and then the shots started falling in," Jackson-Cartwright said. "Just trying to stay aggressive."

Penn has lost a few games this season it looked as if it had to win. This game, even when Cornell closed, Penn played to win and got a season-high 90 points. But it was against a team that is 1-18, so it is hard to put some greater meaning into it. The Quakers are in a bad spot early in the Ivy season, and everybody knows it.

"We still have a lot of basketball in front of us, that's the good thing," Allen said. "The bad thing is we don't have a lot of basketball ahead of us. We try to stay in the moment."

At this moment, Penn has 10 Ivy games remaining. Harvard is out there, alone in front. Penn is trying to get better.

With two league losses through four Ivy contests, Penn doesn't have much margin for error in its quest for a 26th conference title.

The Quakers will need some help and likely will have to win out to catch league favorite and unbeaten Harvard. If the long shot is going to hit, Penn will need more stretches like the final 11 minutes of the first half in a 90-83 victory over Cornell on Friday night at the Palestra.

Cornell took its only lead of the contest, 21-20, with 10 minutes, 50 seconds left in the opening 20 minutes before Penn ran off 30 of the next 41 points to enter the break in control with a 50-32 lead.

"I liked the last 11 minutes of the first half," Penn coach Jerome Allen said. "The offense was clicking. We were sharing the ball and valuing it, for the most part."

Miles Cartwright-Jackson had 15 of his 19 points during the pivotal first-half stretch. Tony Hicks paced the Quakers (5-13, 2-2 Ivy) with 27 points, and Fran Dougherty added 17 points and 10 rebounds.

The Big Red (1-18, 0-5) came out with some spunk after halftime and slowly whittled the 18-point deficit down. Cornell got as close as five points with 8:55 remaining and cut it to five on three more occasions, but never got closer.

"When they made their run, guys didn't fold," Allen said.

The Quakers came into Friday's game limping after losing at Dartmouth and Harvard last weekend, marking the first time since the 1987-88 season they had been swept on that trip.

It certainly helped playing Cornell, which dropped its 11th straight league contest and 14th consecutive road game. The Big Red's lone win this season came against Division III Oberlin.

With two losses already, Penn faces an uphill battle in search of its first Ivy title since 2007.

"We still have a lot of basketball ahead of us. That's the good thing," Allen said.

Steve Rennard made his first start of the season in place of Jamal Lewis, who was away from the team due to a death in the family. Lewis also will miss Saturday's game against Columbia.

Call it a sign of life.
With its back up against the wall, Penn basketball responded against floundering Cornell by putting on a dazzling first-half offensive display and hanging on late to beat the Big Red (1-18, 0-5 Ivy), 90-83.
It was a drastic reversal of fortune for the Quakers (5-13, 2-2), who had previously been defined by their penchants for turning the ball over on offense and their inopportune fouls at the other end of the floor.
But the Friday night home matchup seemed to spark something in the Red and Blue.
Up 28-26 with 7:56 to go in the first half, Penn caught fire, going on a 22-6 run to close out the half and gain some much-needed breathing room.
Senior guard Miles Jackson-Cartwright scored 11 points during the run, including a backbreaking, buzzer-beating three pointer that he hit in traffic after stealing an errant Big Red inbounds pass with 4.6 seconds to play in the half.
Making life easier for Penn was a newfound ability to protect the basketball while rotating through its offensive sets. The Quakers turned the ball over only three times in the first half.
“We were just staying in attack mode and some shots started to fall down,” Jackson-Cartwright said of his team’s big run. “We got into a good rhythm early, we’re just trying to stay aggressive.”
But the second half told a far different story.
The turnovers and fouls picked up, and so did Cornell guard Nolan Cressler’s shooting percentage.
The sophomore guard caught fire just as Penn started throwing the ball away and hacking unnecessarily, drawing his squad to within five points in the second half after facing a deficit that had swelled to 19 points earlier in the period.
Cressler finished with 22 points, but his herculean effort begin to wear on him as time ran down.
“He got maybe a little winded at the end,” Cornell coach Bill Courtney said. “He missed his last four, five shots — shots that he normally makes … but he did a good job of picking his spots.”
Jackson-Cartwright, though — along with sophomore guard Tony Hicks — kept on humming, and would not let his team suffer the ignominy of being the first Division 1 school to fall to the Big Red all season.
With the lead down to five and 8:48 left to play, Jackson-Cartwright nailed an open three from the left elbow off a feed from Hicks to push the lead back to eight and restore a semblance of order.
Hicks would later tack on five points in 54 seconds as the clock dropped under five minutes to play to push the lead back to double-digits and effectively end any hope of a comeback.
Hicks led all scorers with 27 points and Cartwright added on 19 of his own, as Penn’s top two outside weapons came up big to help stop the Big Red’s run before disaster struck.
“I thought we responded [to Cornell’s rally],” Penn coach Jerome Allen said. “When they made their run, guys didn’t fold … we started to look for one another and we started to attack the basket.”
In a battle between two squads helmed by embattled coaches, Allen’s group was able to rally together and earn a much-needed victory.
But the Quakers won’t dwell on the triumph for too long.
“[Columbia’s] where all our focus is,” Allen said. “We can’t get ahead of ourselves if we start to think about the next task at hand.”

Penn was able to hold on for a 90-83 victory in what was an absolute must-win game against the lowly Cornell Big Red. It was an outstanding offensive performance and it put a stop to a two-game losing streak in the process, but the Quakers will need to put together a more complete performance to compete with the tougher Ivies. To examine further, here’s the Good, the Bad & the Ugly:
The Good: Penn’s Starting Guards
The Quakers put together one of their best offensive performances of the season, scoring 90 points on 61.1 percent shooting, and it is largely thanks to their guard play. Senior captain Miles Jackson-Cartwright, who has shown heart, determination and leadership all year, had a spectacular 15 point and four assist first half, at points seemingly willing his team to victory by himself.
Meanwhile, his partner-in-crime, sophomore Tony Hicks, put the game away in the second half, finishing with 27 on 9-for-13 shooting.
The Bad: Penn’s Defensive Rebounding
It’s been a theme all year: the Quakers simply have not been able to hold their own on the defensive boards. Whether the problem lies in Penn’s personnel or the team’s effort has been unclear, but the statistics largely speak for themselves.
Against a Cornell squad that simply should not be able to keep up with Penn physically, the Quakers were outdone 16-5 in offensive rebounding, which contributed significantly to Cornell’s big run in the second half. It certainly didn’t help that center Darien Nelson-Henry was limited to only 11 minutes, which has been another unfortunate theme of the season for the Quakers.
The Ugly: Cornell’s Season
I almost hate to say it, because my parents always told me never to kick a man when he’s down, but it’s too obvious to ignore. At 1-18 overall and without a win in Ivy play, Cornell’s season has been the epitome of ugly.
With that said, they showed a lot of heart playing against a Penn squad that clearly had the Big Red outmatched, battling back from a big deficit to make it very interesting in the second half almost purely through hustle.
What’s scary for the Quakers is that it was not always obvious that they were the superior team and that it wouldn’t take much to imagine them in Cornell’s shoes in a few years if they aren’t careful.

There’s a reason defense wins championships.
12:04 into the first half against Cornell, Penn was shooting over 75 percent from the floor — that’s about as lights out as you can get.
But at that point, they held just a two point lead, 28-26.
For the rest of the half, the Quakers would continue to shoot well, but nonetheless cooled down on the offensive side of the ball.
At halftime, they were up 18.
In the second half, the Red and Blue continued to shoot well above 50 percent.
And Cornell closed the gap to five multiple times.
“Between that — silly turnovers — and missed free throws crushed us,” Cornell coach Bill Courtney said as the Big Red’s inability to finish off the comeback.
Welcome to Penn basketball — a team that, even when it’s scoring at will, lives and dies on the defensive end of the floor. A team that has given up 70 points in all but two of its games thus far. A team that allows 11.1 offensive rebounds per game — 26th worst in Division I.
“We have to be a little more determined to keep guys off the glass,” coach Jerome Allen said.
Friday night was no different. Penn gave up 83 points to a team that hasn’t hit the 80-point mark in regulation and conceded 16 offensive rebounds. The Red and Blue may have shot 56.5 percent in the second half … but were outscored. You simply can’t rely on your offense to shoot above 60 percent for the game to win.
And it’s not as if Penn lacks the defensive talent to be dangerous. In the last 10:50 of the first half, Cornell scored 11 points. But for the other 29 minutes, baskets were about as common as A’s at Harvard.
“Should have played with a red, white and blue ball,” Courtney said. “It was like an ABA game.”
This comes down to consistency. Penn’s offense has it. The defense hasn’t heard of the word. So what’s the problem?
“Sometimes fatigue is a factor,” coach Jerome Allen said
Fitness? I don’t think so. As Allen point out, the teams traded buckets for the first 11 minutes. How about the defense itself?
Coach Jerome Allen has tinkered around with his starting lineup plenty this season. Maybe he should start switching around his zoned-out zone defense. Too often, just a little pace can shred the Quakers common 2-3 zone. It’s no surprise that Penn stops came whenever Cornell slowed the ball down.
It’s a shame. There are multiple games this season Penn should have won easily given its offensive production — the loss to George Mason in which Penn shot 63 percent comes to mind. And Miles Jackson-Cartwright and Tony Hicks have carried the team from the field more often than they should have to. Simply, Penn can compete with most anyone in the Ivy League offensively.
But, quite literally, that’s only half the story. Anyone watching the Super Bowl last Sunday learned this: a potent offense doesn’t mean anything if you get torched on defense.
The Quakers pulled out the ‘W’ against 1-18 Cornell. But if they don’t shore up their defense, they’ll be seeing red for the rest of the season.

PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team made it interesting on Friday night at The Palestra, but the Quakers had enough left in the tank down the stretch as they knocked off Cornell, 90-83.

With the win, Penn improved to 2-2 in Ivy play, 5-13 overall. Cornell entered the night as the only NCAA Division I program in the country without a win over a Division I opponent -- its win came over Division 3 Oberlin College -- and that stayed true as the Big Red fell to 1-18 overall, 0-5 in Ivy play.

Penn led Friday’s game by 18 points at halftime, and it was a 19-point game early in the second half. However, Cornell was able to get within single digits of the Quakers with 12 minutes still to play and was down by just five with more than eight minutes to play.

Penn did not let the Red get any closer than that, and used a 9-2 run over a 2:28 span that pushed the Quakers’ lead back up to 12, at 80-68, with four minutes to go. After that, it was up to the Red and Blue to hit their foul shots and they did, especially sophomore Tony Hicks who was 7-of-8 at the stripe in the final few minutes including 6-of-6 in the final 28 seconds.

The two teams were pretty much even with eight minutes still left in the first half, Penn’s lead a pedestrian 28-26, before the Quakers scored 11 straight to jump out by 13. Miles Jackson-Cartwright led the charge, starting it with a jumper and capping it with two more buckets on his way to 15 first-half points.

Cornell finally answered with a basket by Nolan Cressler, but then freshman Matt Howard (7 points) took charge with a personal five-point run that extended Penn’s lead to 44-28 with four minutes left before halftime. The lead was still 15 when Cornell threw a sloppy inbounds pass at the end of the period, which Jackson-Cartwright collected and hit a running three-pointer at the buzzer.

Hicks ended the game with 27 points, two shy of the total he put up against the Big Red last year in Ithaca. The sophomore guard was 9-of-13 from the field and also had seven assists. Senior Fran Dougherty had another strong game offensively, going 7-of-9 from the field and scored 17 points, and he also had 10 rebounds for a double-double. His classmate, Jackson-Cartwright, had a hot start and finished the night with 19 points.

For Cornell, Cressler had 22 points, while Devin Cherry and Darryl Smith had 15 each. David Onuorah scored 11 points and pulled down nine boards for the Big Red.

Penn is back in action here at The Palestra on Saturday night, hosting Columbia at 7 p.m. The Lions defeated Princeton on Friday night and is 3-2 in league play coming into Philadelphia.


Anonymous said...

Some comments on the Penn game: The four small guard concept is a cute gimmick, but it does wear thin and we have no defense to their inside game; we have absolutely no post game a all, except for Tomic( great post moves and footwork)who played little an dis undersized; Onoruh is a real physical speicem, but has no offensive game other than dunks and put backs; Cresller is a really talented offensive player--best we've had since Wittman? Devin Cherry brings lots of explosiveness and get really get to the rim. But is sometimes out o fcontrol; and just a mediocre outside shooter. Above all what's lacking is any post game at all.

Old Grad said...

Maybe the coach is intimidated by the people who look down on him (the post players). He seems to like to keep tham on the bench.