Friday, November 21, 2014

Cornell Athletics Game Notes for Penn State at Charleston Classic

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Game #5: Penn State vs. Cornell
Tip off: Friday, Nov. 21, at 7:00 p.m.
Site: TD Arena (5,100), Charleston, S.C.
2014-15 Records: Penn State (2-1, 0-0 Big Ten); Cornell (2-2, 0-0 Ivy)
Series Record: Series Tied 5-5
Last Meeting: Penn State won 74-67, Dec. 21, 2011 in University Park, Pa.
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 (39-80, .328; 19-37 Ivy, .339) ... Courtney became the fifth Robert E. Gallagher '44 Coach of Men's Basketball at Cornell on April 23, 2010.

ITHACA, N.Y. -- After a disappointing showing in the opener of the 2014 Gildan Charleston Classic on Thursday, the Cornell men's basketball team will attempt to right the ship when it meets Penn State on Friday, Nov. 21 at 9:00 p.m. at TD Arena. Bob Picozzi and Dino Gaudio have the call on ESPN3 and Barry Leonard will be heard in the Ithaca area on 98.7 FM The Buzzer and 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 the season's first five days. The Big Red has the looks of a team on the rebound, playing suffocating defense (.373 field goal percentage defense, .337 3-point percentage defense, 64.3 ppg. allowed, 5.5 blocked shots per game) in all four contests. 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. Despite its loss to South Carolina on Thursday, the Gamecocks still only shot 38 percent from the field.

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 14.3 ppg., 7.8 rpg., 1.8 bpg. and 1.0 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 (11.0 ppg., 3.3 rpg.) after a year away from basketball, the move of senior Devin Cherry to point guard (11.3 ppg., 5.8 rpg., 4.5 apg., 1.3 spg.) and the maturation of sophomores Robert Hatter (11.5 ppg., 3.5 rpg., 1.0 spg.) and David Onuorah (2.8 ppg., 5.8 rpg., 1.8 bpg.). A number of other players have added key minutes as reserves over the first four contests.

• At 2-1 on the young season, Penn State is coming off a heartbreaking 106-97 double overtime loss in the first round of the Charleston Classic to Charlotte last evening.
• The Nittany Lions battled back from a 17-point deficit to tie the game at the buzzer behind D.J. Newbill's 35 points, the most by a Penn State player in 14 years.
• Penn State returns nine letter winners and four starters from last season's 16-18 squad that was 10th in the Big Ten at 6-12.
• Head coach Pat Chambers, who coached his 100th game at Penn State last night, has led the team to wins over Morgan State (61-48) and Fordham (73-54) entering the Charleston Classic.
• Newbill, one of the nation's top guards, is averaging 23.3 ppg. to sit second in the Big 10 to go along with 6.0 rpg.
• Freshman guard Shep Garner (13.3 ppg.) and junior forward Brandon Taylor (11.3 ppg., 8.0 rpg.) are also scoring in double figures, with sophomore guard Geno Thorpe not far behind (9.7 ppg.).
• While building the Penn State program, fourth-year coach Chambers had a great two-year stint at Boston University, including leading the Terriers to the 2011 NCAA Tournament. He has a 82-88 career record, including 40-60 at Penn State.

• The all-time series is tied 5-5with Penn State winning three of the last four meetings.
• The Big Red lost its last contest to the Nittany Lions, 74-67, in Dec. 2011.
• Cornell's last win over the Nittany Lions came during the 1972-73 season, a 74-65 victory at Barton Hall.

• The Big Red holds a 13-35 all-time record against current members of the Big Ten Conference and is 5-5 all-time against Penn State.
• The Big Red has also faced Illinois (1-4), Indiana (0-1), Iowa (0-3), Michigan (0-3), Michigan State (1-5), Minnesota (1-5), Northwestern (1-2), Ohio State (3-5), Purdue (0-1) and Wisconsin (1-1).
• Cornell snapped a 39-year stretch without a Big Ten victory when it defeated Northwestern 64-61 on Nov. 10, 2006 and defeated the Badgers in 2009-10 in the second round of the NCAA tournament en route to its Sweet 16 finish.
• The Big Red has had near misses twice under head coach Bill Courtney, leading at halftime against then-No. 13 Minnesota before falling 71-66 on Dec. 4, 2010 and then-No. 24 Illinois before dropping a 64-60 decision on Dec. 19, 2011.

• advance the Big Red into the fifth-place game against either USC or Drexel.
• improve Cornell's record to 3-2 on the season.
• make the Big Red 6-5 all-time against Penn State.
• be the third against a Big Ten team since 2006 (eight years) after going 39 years without one.
• continue a string of alternating wins and losses to start the season.
• be the 1,214th in program history (1,213-1,354 in 116 seasons, .473).

• Despite not playing its best basketball, the Cornell men's basketball team hung around all night but couldn't get over the hump in dropping a 74-67 decision at Penn State on Dec. 21, 2011 at the Bryce Jordan Center.
• Cornell freshman Shonn Miller had 15 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals to pace the Big Red, while Drew Ferry notched a game-high 20 points and chipped in six rebounds. Ferry nailed six 3-pointers.
Galal Cancer was also in double figures with 10 points and seven assists.
• The Big Red was in constant foul trouble and was whistled for 29 fouls to just 13 against Penn State.
• Four players reached double figures for Penn State, led by 17 points, 11 rebounds and six assists by Tim Frazier.
• Troy Lewis and Cammeron Woodyard had 13 points apiece, while Jermaine Marshall scored 12.
• Penn State held a 40-32 edge on the glass, including a 16-9 advantage on the offensive glass.

• The Big Red is limiting opponents to 37 percent shooting over its first four 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. It has held three of its first four opponents under 40 percent shooting.
• 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 104 to his name.
• Thirty of Miller's 31 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 was the first Cornell player with consecutive 20-point games since Nolan Cressler scored 29 points at Yale and 22 at Penn last season.
• 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 more than 2,500 games.
• Cherry has 18 of the team's 30 assists on the season (60 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 138-122 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.
• When Cornell knocked off George Mason, the Big Red defeated its 35th program that has advanced to an NCAA Final Four. The Patriots reached the national semifinals in 2006.
• Sophomore guard JoJo Fallas scored 19 points over the last two games (8 vs. Colgate, 11 vs. South Carolina), including 5-of-8 from 3-point range. He entered the stretch with six career points and was 0-of-8 from beyond the arc.

• Cornell shot 27 percent from the floor and turned the ball over 17 times, falling into a hole it could never recover from in a 69-45 loss to South Carolina in the first round of the 2014 Gildan Charleston Classic.
• Sophomore JoJo Fallas had a career-high 11 points, including 3-for-3 from 3-point range, but Cornell shot just 2-for-17 from beyond the arc otherwise.
• Senior Galal Cancer notched 10 points and three rebounds, while Shonn Miller notched nine points before fouling out and Devin Cherry posted eight points and a team-high five boards.
• As a team, the Big Red blocked six shots, including two each by David Onuorah and Dave LaMore.
• The Big Red defense did its part, allowing South Carolina to shoot just 38 percent from the floor, but its empty possessions on the other end of the floor was too much to overcome.
• Sindarius Thornwell netted 14 points and had four rebounds and Mindaugas Kacinas came off the bench to post a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, including seven on the offensive glass.

• Cornell will play either Drexel or USC on Sunday in the final contest of the 2014 Gildan Charleston Classic at either 1:30 or 3:30 p.m. on ESPN3.

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