Saturday, February 22, 2014

Game Recaps: Yale 82 Cornell 65

See video highlights from WBNG (click here).

The Yale men’s basketball team came one trip to New York City short of sweeping its fourth consecutive weekend of Ivy League action. Instead, the Bulldogs had to settle for a split in Ivy play. The Bulldogs were able to dismantle Cornell Friday night, but Columbia snapped Yale’s seven-game win streak yesterday.
Stout interior defense, a remarkable propensity to get to and convert at the free throw line and command of the rebounding battle had fueled Yale’s streak, its longest since 2001-’02.
That streak reached its zenith when Yale (14–10, 8–2 Ivy) overcame Cornell (2–22, 1–9) in a fairly straightforward matchup that saw Yale build an early lead before padding on at the end to win 82–65 in Ithaca, N.Y.
The story of the night was Yale’s point guard situation. Point guard Javier Duren ’15 was unable to see any action Friday night due to a high ankle sprain suffered during last weekend’s win against Princeton.
Starting in place of Duren was guard Isaiah Salafia ’14, who did his part in orchestrating the Yale attack, primarily by moving the ball well and finding the open Bulldog. Salafia, however, did not take a single shot — that’s where guard Jack Montague ’16 stepped in.
Montague, who had been averaging just 2.1 points per game in very limited minutes due to the strong play of Duren, erupted in the first half, coming off the bench to hit four of his five three-point attempts.
“They left us with a lot of open 3’s,” Montague said. “I felt hot and just tried to take what they were giving us.”
Montague’s 12 points before the break were matched by forward Justin Sears ’15, who entered play having earned his league-leading fifth Ivy League Player of the Week award the weekend before.
In addition to the output of the inside-outside duo of Montague and Sears, the Bulldogs dominated in just about every facet of the game in the first half. Behind 60.7 percent shooting from the field, the Bulldogs entered the half with a comfortable 45–31 lead.
Cornell, which has struggled this year, fought back to cut the lead to seven points with 13:45 to play in the game, but the Big Red would get no closer. Yale would outscore Cornell 29–19 the rest of the way to secure the win.
Montague finished the night with a career-high 18 points in the absence of Duren, while Sears led all Yale scorers with 19. Forward Brandon Sherrod ’15 also had key contributions, coming off the bench to compile 13 points and seven rebounds.
Besides withstanding the second-half charge of Cornell, the Bulldogs also managed to survive despite the play of Big Red guard Devin Cherry, who was firing on all cylinders on his way to a game-high 29 points.
Seeking to extend its winning steak to eight, Yale traveled to Francis S. Levien Gymnasium Sunday afternoon to face off against Columbia with a chance to sweep the season series against the Lions. When all was said and done, however, Yale had toppled from the top of the Ivy League at the paws of the Lions.
Columbia (17–10, 6–4 Ivy) entered the afternoon seeking to make amends for a 10-point loss to the Bulldogs on Jan. 31 that sparked a 1–4 stretch for the Lions, knocking Columbia from the top of the Ivy ladder. On Sunday though, the roles were reversed and the Lions leaned on an unexpected source to capture the 62–46 victory.
Guard Steve Frankoski, who entered the game having scored 10 total points over six games due to a wrist surgery, had a spectacular first half. The sharpshooter scored 14 of Columbia’s first 21 points to build a nine-point advantage over Yale just 11 minutes into the game.
“That was a big lift for them. He’s got such a quick release,” said head coach James Jones. “He’s somebody that was in the scouting report, but you’re not worried about him going for [14 points] in the first half.”
Yale withstood the assault to an extent, as the trio of Sears, Montague, and guard Armani Cotton ’15 combined for 19 of Yale’s 23 first-half points. Entering the break, the Bulldogs trailed by just seven despite Columbia shooting over 50 percent from the field.
The second half saw the lead teeter around 10 points for a good chunk of the period until a modest 6–0 Yale run capped off by a layup from forward Matt Townsend ’15 brought the Bulldogs within six. But just as in Yale’s only other Ivy loss, which came against Brown on Jan. 25, hot perimeter shooting and a substantial first half lead was too much for the Elis to overcome.
Frankoski was silent for much of the second half, scoring only three points. But boy were those three points huge. After both Frankoski and Columbia’s leading scorer, forward Alex Rosenberg, each missed multiple times on potential daggers from long range, Frankoski finally found his range once more with 6:48 to go to put Columbia ahead by 13, a lead that would prove insurmountable.
“It felt great. Coach [Kyle Smith] gives me that confidence to go out and shoot the ball. He calls me a home-run hitter,” Frankoski said. “If I’m open, I shoot it. And we were waiting for a nice three to knock down in the second half and we finally got one that kind of put us over the top.”
Frankoski would finish with 17, supported by 18 from Rosenberg and 16 from guard Maodo Lo.
Such a stat line from a pair of guards and a forward is not unfamiliar to Yale. When the Bulldogs are at their best, it is Duren, Cotton and Sears stirring the drink. On Sunday, however, Sears and Cotton combined for 28 points and 16 rebounds, but there was no consistent third option.
“Not having Brandon [Sherrod] or somebody else to score — Armani and Justin scored enough — somebody else had to step up and we didn’t get a good stretch out of anybody today,” Jones said.
Sherrod registered a goose egg in the points column, and Yale’s bench as a whole only mustered eight points.
Cotton and Sears each struggled as well, whatever their point totals may say. They were a combined 8–21 from the field and Sears could only hit on 50 percent of his free throws, leaving seven points off the scoreboard. With Duren unavailable again, the Lions concentrated their defense inside and forced other Bulldogs to score, and their strategy worked to perfection.
“We didn’t move the ball real well. They packed it in,” Jones said. “Our inability to make free throws affected a number of different areas for us. Our energy level went down because of it and that really hurt us.”
As Jones mentioned, the Bulldogs shot poorly from the charity stripe as a team, making just 40.9 percent compared to 77.3 percent for the Lions. The home-weekend sweep for Columbia is the first in five years for the hosts.
As for the implications of the Yale defeat, the Bulldogs are now alone in second place — one game behind Harvard. Yale still controls its own destiny, however, as the Elis will welcome the Crimson to John J. Lee Amphitheater on March 7.
Before Harvard comes to town, though, Yale will tip off next Week at Princeton (15–8, 3–6) at 7:00 p.m. Friday night.

ITHACA — Justin Sears scored 19 points and Jack Montague added a career-high 18 on 5 of 7 3-point shooting as Yale dispatched Cornell 82-65 on Friday night, stretching their win streak to seven games.

The win, even with leading scorer Javier Duren out with an ankle injury, keeps the Bulldogs (14-9, 8-1 Ivy League) in a tie for the Ivy lead with Harvard, an 83-63 winner over Penn.

The seven-game streak is Yale’s longest since 2001-02. Yale shot 53 percent and Montague hit all five of the team’s 12 3-point tries. Yale scored 25 points from the foul line on 34 attempts, thanks to 26 Cornell fouls.

Devin Cherry led Big Red (2-21, 1-8) with a career-high 29 points, including three 3-pointers. Cornell launched 30 3-point shots, making 10, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Yale’s 35-26 rebounding edge. Yale's bench also outscored Cornell’s 37-10.

Box Score I Box Score (PDF)

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Junior Devin Cherry scored a career-high 29 points, but Yale's strength on the boards and first half shooting was too much to overcome as the Bulldogs claimed an 82-65 victory on Friday evening at Newman Arena. Yale improved to 14-9 (8-1 Ivy), while Cornell fell to 2-21 (1-8 Ivy).

Cherry scored 17 in the second half to try and keep the Big Red in the game, but the Bulldogs controlled the glass (35-26) and turned the ball over just nine times to keep pace with fellow league leader Harvard, an 83-63 winner at Penn. Yale shot 61 percent from the floor in the first half and 53 percent for the game. Cherry hit 11-of-17 shots from the floor and added three rebounds, two assists and two steals in the loss. Nolan Cressler scored 11 points, while seniors Dwight Tarwater and Jake Matthews each contributed eight points.

Ivy League Player of the Year candidate Justin Sears scored 19 points and had five rebounds, while Jack Montague notched 18 points, including 5-of-7 from beyond the 3-point arc. He accounted for all five of Yale's treys on the night, including four in the first half. Brandon Sherrod had 13 points and seven boards, joining with Montague to outscore the Big Red reserves 31-10 by themselves.

Cornell hung around nearly the entire first half before 14-4 run allowed the visitors to extend a lead out to 15 with 4:38 left in the half, with Montague spearheading the run with three of his 3-pointers. The home team went into the break trailing by 14 (45-31) despite 12 points from Cherry.

Cherry's second half explosion allowed the home team to crawl back to within seven points and knock the deficit to single digits seven different times, but couldn't make a final run. The Bulldogs stretched the lead out to as many as 20 points in the final six minutes to close out the win.

The Big Red will return to action tomorrow when it plays host to Brown at 8 p.m. at Newman Arena in a game that will be televised on NBC Sports Network.

The Yale men’s basketball team extended its streak to seven straight wins by demolishing Cornell 82–65 Friday night. This was the Elis’ second victory over the Big Red this season, with the first one coming in a close 61–57 contest Feb. 1.
Forward Justin Sears ’16 continued his impressive sophomore campaign with 19 points, five rebounds and three assists on 7-12 shooting from the field. Reserve guard Jack Montague ’16 lit up Cornell for a career-high 18 points on 5-9 shooting with a game-high 5 three-pointers. Guard Nick Victor ’16 led the team with six assists to go along with nine points and a block.
Cornell guard Noah Cressler exploded for 29 points when his team visited New Haven three weeks ago, but this time it was his backcourt teammate, guard Devin Cherry, who had an offensive burst at Yale’s expense. Cherry kept his team in it for most of the game with his 29 points.
Cherry started early by scoring the game’s first bucket, but it was the Elis who built a six-point lead through the first 10 minutes. Montague hit three shots from beyond the arc and Sears sandwiched a tip-in between two mid-range jumpers as Yale stretched its lead to 45–31 by the break.
The Big Red scored the first two buckets of the second half, and even managed to cut the lead to single digits at 48–41, but after Montague hit his fourth three of the night, the Elis regained control. With his 203rd career win under his belt, head coach head coach James Jones is now just one win away from tying the legendary Joe Vancisin as Yale’s all-time winningest men’s basketball coach.

Box Score

ITHACA, N.Y. – Jack Montague picked an important time to have a career night. Montague, who saw his minutes increase with the absence of injured point guard Javier Duren, made five three-pointers en route to scoring 18 points as Yale cruised to an 82-65 victory over Cornell at Newman Arena.
"Jack was tremendous," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball. "He gave us a huge boost."
Montague finished 5-of-9 from the field, including 5-of-7 from three-point range.
"They left us with a lot of open 3's," said Montague, who scored in double figures for only the second time this season. "I felt hot and just tried to take what they were giving us."
Montague had plenty of support. Isaiah Salafia started in Duren's place and orchestrated a very successful Yale offense. The Bulldogs shot 53.1 percent from the field.  
Justin Sears led Yale with 19 points and Brandon Sherrod added 13 points and seven rebounds.
"Our offense flowed very well, and we shared the ball," Montague said.
The victory was the seventh straight for the Bulldogs, their longest winning streak since the 2001-02 season.
Yale (14-9, 8-1 Ivy) remains tied with Harvard for first place in the Ivy League. The Crimson knocked off Penn 83-63 at the Palestra.
The 8-1 Ivy start is Yale's best since 2001-02.
Yale played a near flawless first half, shooting 60.7 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range in building a 45-31 lead. Montague made four of his 3's in the opening 20 minutes.
The Big Red pulled to within seven early in the second half but never got closer.
Yale's bench outscored Cornell's reserves 37-10.
"I have great confidence in all our players, and tonight our bench was tremendous," Jones said.
Cornell (2-21, 1-8 Ivy) was determined to pack in its defense and keep the Bulldogs out of the paint. Yale, though, found other ways to score. Sears, who can normally be found creating havoc near the basket, simply stepped outside and made a number of open jump shots from the top of the key.
"Justin can score in a variety of ways," Jones said.
Sears finished 7-of-12 from the field and added five rebounds and three assists.
As has been the case throughout the seven-game winning streak, the Bulldogs controlled the boards, outrebounding Cornell 35-26.
Yale also continued to get to the foul line. The Bulldogs were 25-of-34 from the line.
Devin Cherry had a big game for Cornell, scoring a game-high 29 points. Nolan Cressler was the only other Big Red player to reach double figures. He finished with 11 points.
NOTES: Nick Victor had another solid all-around game with nine points, six assists and a block… Armani Cotton also scored nine points and had five rebounds, while Matt Townsend contributed eight points and four rebounds… The Bulldogs will spend the night in Ithaca before making the long drive to New York on Saturday. Yale doesn't play Columbia until Sunday because the game is being televised nationally on the NBC Sports Network. Tipoff is slated for 1:30 p.m.

Final 1 2 T
Yale (14-9, 8-1 Ivy) 45 37 82
Cornell (2-21, 1-8 Ivy) 31 34 65
Ithaca, N.Y. (Newman Arena)
Pts: Justin Sears - 19 Pts: Cherry, Devin - 29
Reb: Brandon Sherrod - 7 Reb: TEAM - 5
Ast: Nick Victor - 6 Ast: Smith, Darryl - 3
Team StatisticsYaleCornell
Field Goal % 53.1% (26-49 ) 42.4% (25-59 )
Rebounds 35 26
Assists 14 12
Turnovers 9 10
Pts off Turnovers 12 12
2nd Chance Pts 11 12
Pts in the Paint 26 26
Fastbreak Pts 4 6
Bench Pts 37 10

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