Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cornell Athletics ESPN Charleston Classic Game Notes

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Game #4: South Carolina vs. Cornell
Tip off: Thursday, Nov. 20, at 7:30 p.m.
Site: TD Arena (5,100), Charleston, S.C.
2014-15 Records: South Carolina (1-1, 0-0 SEC); Cornell (2-1, 0-0 Ivy)
Series Record: South Carolina leads 1-0
Last Meeting: #2 South Carolina won 83-60, Dec. 26, 1970 in New York, N.Y.
Radio: 98.7 FM The Buzzer (Barry Leonard)
TV: ESPN3 (Bob Picozzi, Dino Gaudio)

Cornell head coach Bill Courtney is in his fifth season at Cornell (39-79, .331; 19-37 Ivy, .339) ... Courtney became the fifth Robert E. Gallagher '44 Coach of Men's Basketball at Cornell on April 23, 2010.

Already having matched its season win total from 2013-14 in a span of five days to start the new campaign, a confident Cornell men's basketball team meets South Carolina on Thursday, Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. at TD Arena in Charleston, S.C. The two programs meet in one of four first round contests in the 2014 Gildan Charleston Classic — Akron, Charlotte, Drexel, Miami (FL), Penn State and USC join them in the field. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3 with Bob Picozzi and Dino Gaudio providing the call, while Barry Leonard can be heard in the Ithaca area on 98.7 FM The Buzzer, as well as the Ivy League Digital Network.

Cornell has already matched its win total against Division I teams from a season ago when it went 2-26 overall, and it did so in five days. The Big Red has the looks of a team on the rebound, playing suffocating defense (.371 field goal percentage defense, .328 3-point percentage defense, 62.7 ppg. allowed, 5.3 blocked shots per game) in all three contests. In its most recent outing, the Big Red rallied from deficits of 17 points in the first half and 13 in the second to knock off Central New York rival Colgate. Cornell limited the Raiders to 21 second half points in completing the comeback.

The biggest difference from last year is the return of first-team All-Ivy selection Shonn Miller, who missed the 2013-14 season with a shoulder injury. The 6-7 forward returned with a bang, recording 21 points and 13 rebounds in the upset of George Mason and collecting 20 points, nine rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals at Loyola (MD). His season averages of 16.0 ppg., 9.3 rpg., 2.0 bpg. and 1.3 spg. make him an early contender for Ivy League honors.

Other big differences in Cornell's quick turnaround include the return of senior Galal Cancer (11.3 ppg., 3.3 rpg.) after a year away from basketball, the move of senior Devin Cherry to point guard (12.3 ppg., 6.0 rpg., 5.3 apg., 1.0 spg.) and the maturation of sophomores Robert Hatter (14.0 ppg., 4.0 rpg., 1.0 spg.) and David Onuorah (3.0 ppg., 6.3 rpg., 1.7 bpg.). A number of other players have added key minutes as reserves over the first three contests.

• South Carolina is 1-1 on the young season after falling to Baylor 69-65 at home on Tuesday. It opened the season with a 25-point victory over North Florida (81-56).
• The Gamecocks have been led in the scoring column by guard Tyrone Johnson, who is averaging 16.5 ppg. and is coming off a career-high 21 points against Baylor. Sindarius Thornwell is also in double figures at 11.0 ppg., while four others are sitting between 7.5 and 9.0 ppg.
• South Carolina is limited opponents to 39 percent shooting overall and is outrebounding foes by nine per game, but is also just 9-of-32 (28 percent) from 3-point range so far this year.
• Eleven letter winner and four starters return from last season's 14-20 squad that finished 5-13 in SEC play, including a win over Kentucky.
• Third year coach Frank Martin sports a 29-39 record in two seasons in Columbia, S.C., and 146-93 in eight years overall.

• The two programs have met only once, with South Carolina topping the Big Red 83-60 on Dec. 26, 1970 in the first game of the ECAC Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

• Cornell is 3-9 all-time against current members of the Southeastern Conference, including 0-1 against South Carolina.
• The Big Red has also faced Alabama (1-1), Arkansas (1-0), Georgia (0-1), Kentucky (1-1), Louisiana State (0-3) and Vanderbilt (0-2).
• Cornell has never squared off with Auburn, Florida, Mississippi, Mississippi State or Tennessee.
• The Big Red went 1-1 against SEC teams during the 2009-10 campaign, topping Alabama 71-67 in the season opener in Tuscaloosa before dropping a 62-45 contest to No. 1 Kentucky in the NCAA Regional semifinals in Syracuse.
• The win over Alabama was Cornell's first win over an SEC school in 37 years, previously having defeated Arkansas 78-77 in the first round of the 1972 Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark.

• advance the Big Red into the winner's bracket semifinals of the Gildan Charleston Classic to meet the winner of Thursday's contest between Charlotte and Penn State.
• improve Cornell's record to 3-1 on the season, surpassing last season's win total and tripling its win total against Division I teams.
• make the Big Red 3-1 to open a season for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign.
• give Cornell a pair of wins over SEC teams in the last five seasons after a span of 37 years without one.
• be the 1,214th in program history (1,213-1,353 in 116 seasons, .473).

• No. 2 South Carolina rolled to a 83-60 win over Cornell on Dec. 26, 1970 in the first round of the 1970 ECAC Holiday Festival tournament.
• Kenneth Wiens led the Big Red with 15 points, while Thomas Sparks chipped in with 14.
• Jim Roche and Tom Riker combined for 54 of the Gamecocks' 83 points.
• Legendary head coach Frank McGuire's team went 23-6 that season and finished second in the ACC.
• The Gamecocks would go on to win the tournament and later advance to the NCAA tournament, where they dropped a 79-64 decision to Cornell's Ivy League rival Penn before losing to Fordham in the East Regional third-place game (100-90).

• The Big Red is limiting opponents to 37 percent shooting over its first three games. In all, Cornell recorded a .495 field goal percentage defense mark in 2013-14 and allowed opponents to shoot 50 percent or better 15 times in 28 games.
• Cornell allowed only one offensive rebound against Colgate two days after being victimized for 19 offensive rebounds in a five-point loss to Loyola (MD). It was the fewest number of offensive rebounds given up by a Big Red team since it held Princeton without one in a 72-56 win over the Tigers on Feb. 7, 1987.
• The rally from a 17-point deficit was the largest overcome by a Big Red team this century. It is the largest overcome by a Bill Courtney-coached team, besting the 14-point first half deficit it rallied from in a 85-84 win over Yale on Feb. 10, 2012.
• Senior Shonn Miller blocked a pair of shots against George Mason to surpass the 100 career block milestone. He became the fifth player in Cornell history to reach that plateau and now has 103 to his name.
• Twenty seven of Miller's 28 rebounds so far this season have come on the defensive glass.
• With 21 points and 13 rebounds against the Patriots, Miller recorded his eighth career double-double.
• Miller is the first Cornell player with consecutive 20-point games since Nolan Cressler scored 29 points at Yale and 22 at Penn last season. The last Big Red player with three straight 20-point efforts was Ryan Wittman in the 2009-10 regular season finale against Yale, followed by NCAA tournament wins over Temple and Wisconsin.
• Senior Devin Cherry nearly secured a triple-double with nine points, 10 rebounds and seven assists against George Mason. No Cornell player has ever registered a triple-double in the program's history over a total of 2,565 games.
• Cherry has 16 of the team's 24 assists on the season (67 percent).
• In his second collegiate appearance since March 2, 2013, senior Galal Cancer matched a career high with 19 points against Loyola (MD).
• Sophomore Robert Hatter scored 21 points against George Mason, good enough for his third career 20-point outing.
• Cornell's relentless pressure and speed have helped the Big Red outscore its opponents 114-88 in the second half of games so far.
• With the win over George Mason, Cornell snapped a 17-game road losing streak and a seven-game skid overall.

• For the second game in a row, the Cornell men's basketball made a comeback after digging itself a hole. This time, the Big Red was able to bring home the win, and in doing so made another early statement about where the season could go.
• Cornell rallied from a 17-point first half deficit that was still 13 points with 11 minutes to play and stormed back to earn a 58-52 victory over Central New York rival Colgate at Newman Arena on Nov. 18.
• The win matched last season's win total after just three contests.
• Senior Devin Cherry scored 21 points, dished five assists, grabbed four rebounds and had three steals in a dominant performance as the Big Red's ability to defend and get to the free-throw line allowed the home team to complete a spirited rally in front of an energized Newman Arena.
• Senior Shonn Miller added seven points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks and both senior Galal Cancer and sophomore JoJo Fallas had eight points.
• Cornell allowed just 21 second half points and had a 12-4 advantage in points off turnovers, key in a low scoring battle.
• Damon Sherman-Newsome had 19 points to lead three double figure scorers for Colgate.
• Austin Tillotson added 11 and Luke Roh scored 10.
• The Raiders struggled from the free-throw line (1-of-7) and were held to one offensive rebound as the Big Red dominated the defensive glass against a normally sharp-shooting Colgate squad.

• Cornell is in the midst of playing eight games in 16 days, covering four states (New York, Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina).
• The Big Red opened the season with three games in five days, including trips to George Mason (W, 68-60) and Loyola (MD) (L, 71-76), before heading to Charleston, S.C., for three games in four days.
• All told, Cornell will travel 2476 miles roundtrip to play its eight games.
• Though impressive, it doesn't touch what the Big Red did two years ago in November of 2012 when it played six games in 11 days, covering four states (New York, Wisconsin, Arizona and Nevada) and all four continental U.S. time zones (Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific).
• All told, Cornell traveled 4,400 miles to play those six games, finishing 2-4.

• Overall, Cornell is 44-96 in tournament play during the regular season.
• The program last won an in-season tournament when it dropped Davidson and St. John's to capture the 2009-10 MSG Holiday Classic.
• The Big Red has also won tournament championships at the 1978-79 and 1967-68 Kodak Classic (both in Rochester, N.Y.) and the 1990-91 USAir-Cornell Classic.
• Cornell was a perfect 4-0 at the Legends Classic in 2009-10, but due to the tournament format, was not considered to be the tournament champion. Florida (4-0) also finished the tournament unbeaten.
• The Big Red won the 2012 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational lower bracket with wins over  Presbyterian and Longwood.

• Following the trip to Charleston, the Big Red will play two of its next three contests at home starting with a matchup against Canisius on Wednesday, Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. in Newman Arena.

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