Sunday, November 30, 2014

GAME RECAP: Cornell 68, Binghamton 54


It looked as though Cornell men’s basketball had regressed to its losing ways of 2013-14. The Red (4-4) traveled down to South Carolina the weekend before Thanksgiving and dropped all three contests in the Charleston Classic. A trip back to upstate New York this week brought the Red back to .500, though, and seemed to right the ship. On Wednesday, Cornell defeated Canisius (2-3), 67-60, and then on Saturday handled Binghamton (1-6), 68-54.
Senior guard Galal Cancer led the Red in scoring with 18 points against Canisius. He also had eight rebounds and four steals. Senior forward Shonn Miller put up double figures as well, despite playing his fewest minutes this season.
On an off night for senior guard and co-captain Devin Cherry, other players stepped up. Cherry missed all of his field goal attempts and turned the ball over six times in the game. After scoring a total of 15 points all season, sophomore guard Darryl Smith was instrumental for the Red off the bench. The 6’ 2” guard scored 13 points on Wednesday, making both of his field goals and eight of nine free throws. 10 of his points came in the first half. Also impactful for the Red was sophomore forward David Onuorah, who scored a season-high nine points, connecting on four of five shots from the floor.
“We started off rather slow,” said head coach Bill Courtney. “But the bench guys did a terrific job of keeping us in the game.”
Cornell had 13 turnovers in the first half, including a stretch in which the Red turned the ball over on four straight possessions. Despite those struggles, Cornell was able to hang with Canisius in the first half thanks to a strong overall defensive performance. Canisius was limited to 35% shooting.
“We defended for a full 40 minutes,” Courtney said. “That’s something that we failed to do in Charleston, but we were able to do it here.”
Cornell also found success getting to the basket. The Red continued to get past defenders and get into the lane for easy layups. In the first half, Cornell scored 22 of its 32 points in the paint. Just one of the Red’s first half made field goals came from outside the paint, a three pointer from Smith.
After the break, Cornell came out strong. Following an offensive rebound by Miller, quick ball movement led to a resounding alley-oop from Cherry to Miller. On the next possession, Cancer knocked down a three. A minute later, Miller intercepted a Canisius pass and was fouled as he dunked the ball on the fast break. He would convert the free throw, giving the Red an eight point lead early in the second half.
Canisius’ Jermaine Crumpton helped the Griffins stay close and scored 10 of his 15 points in the second half to provide a spark for Canisius off the bench. Across a seven minute span toward the end of the game, Crumpton scored all of the Griffins’ points. Despite his strong performance, the Red would not relinquish the lead after halftime.
Both the Red and the Griffins made nine field goals in the second half. The crucial difference was that it took Canisius 29 shots while it took Cornell just 18. The Griffins converted six of their 12 free throws and the Red attempted 20, sinking 14.
On Saturday against Binghamton, Cornell briefly trailed in the opening minutes of the contest, but accurate shooting from the Red’s three point specialists gave the team an edge that it would hold onto for the rest of the game. The Red’s first 21 points came from beyond the arc, with sophomore guard Robert Hatter, Miller, Cherry, sophomore guard JoJo Fallas and Smith all getting in on the action. With a flurry of baskets, Cornell took a nine-point lead. The Red finished with a season-high 11 three point field goals made off of 25 attempts.
“[Binghamton] came at us in a zone defense. They forced us to shoot from the outside,” Courtney said. “We weren’t great shooting from range in the past couple games. But [on Saturday] we looked good and forced them to switch to man-to-man.”
A three-point play from Binghamton’s Bobby Ahearn brought the Bearcats within three with eight minutes to play in the first half, but Cornell was able to extend the lead to eight heading into the locker room.
The Red quickly went to work after the break, pushing the lead to 18 following a layup from Cherry. After attempting just three shots against Canisius, Cherry was much more active in Saturday’s game, taking 15 shots from the floor. Cherry finished with 12 points.
Cornell maintained a double digit lead for the rest of the game. Hatter paced the Red with 14 points and Miller had his second double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Cancer had a career-high eight assists. After registering 23 turnovers against Canisius, the Red had just 11 against Binghamton.
Cornell gets some rest before UMass Lowell (5-2) comes to Ithaca on Saturday at 4 PM.

An already rough week didn't get any better for the Binghamton University men's basketball team on Saturday afternoon.
Cornell University handed the Bearcats a 68-54 loss in front of an announced crowd of 1,950 in the Events Center. The loss dropped the Bearcats' record to 1-6, while Cornell (4-4) has already doubled its win total from last season.
Cornell took advantage of the Bearcats' shooting struggles, and benefited from the performance of its star senior forward Shonn Miller (11 points, 11 rebounds), particularly in the second half.
The Bearcats lost by 26 at Army earlier this week, and Saturday's game marked the first contest for the Bearcats since the university announced on Wednesday that junior guard and preseason all-conference pick Jordan Reed had taken a leave of absence.
"We're still trying to figure out who we are and who we need to be," Binghamton coach Tommy Dempsey said. "It's November. I know it's a tough stretch right now, and we're not playing good basketball, but it is November so we have to stay the course. ... This is a marathon. You don't get counted out in November."
Sophomore point guard Yosef Yacob scored a game-high 15 points and freshman guard Romello Walker tacked on 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds for Binghamton.
The Bearcats came into the game shooting just 31 percent from behind the 3-point line, and went just 4-for-16 from 3-point range on Saturday.
Binghamton shot just 36 percent from the floor (16 of 26 on free throws), and the lack of outside shooting allowed Cornell to crowd the paint and make everything difficult for Bearcats freshmen forwards Willie Rodriguez (eight points, three points, three turnovers) and Dusan Perovic (seven points, five rebounds).
Rodriguez, who had averaged more than 19 points per game in his previous three games, went 3-for-10 from the floor.
"I feel at times we're getting the right shots, they're just not falling down," Yacob said. "We need to work a little bit more on our chemistry as a team. A few things we're missing here and there, but overall I feel we're running the right sets. We're getting the right looks. It just has to start falling."
Cornell sophomore Robert Hatter led the team with 14 points on 5-for-9 shooting, while Devin Cherry added 12 points and Miller recorded his second double-double of the season.
Miller, the team's leading scorer and first-team All-Ivy League player, played just seven minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, but he scored eight of his 11 points in the second half. He scored six points in the first five minutes of the second half.
The Bearcats trailed 35-27 at halftime, but they scored the first five points of the second half on a layup by Perovic and a Yacob 3-pointer from the wing in front of the Bearcats bench with 19:19 remaining. Less than one minute into the second half and the Bearcats were within three points, 35-32.
Then Miller took over. He made back-to-back jumpers from 15 feet out over the outstretched arm of Bearcats freshman Bobby Ahearn (three points, five rebounds). After a Rodriguez free throw, Miller drained another jumper to give Cornell a 41-33 lead. Cornell scored the next 10 points, capped by Cherry's layup in traffic to take its largest lead of the game, 18 points, 51-33.
"That's their best player," Yacob said of Miller's second-half flurry. "When he gets going, of course he's going to lift his team up."
Yacob pointed to the team's overall defensive performance — Cornell shot 46 percent from the floor and scored 15 second-chance points — as the primary reason for the loss.
Cornell's 3-point shooting dominated the first half. The visitors' first seven field goals were from behind the 3-point arc as they sprinted out to a 21-12 lead. Cornell's hot shooting forced Binghamton to abandon the zone defense it began the game using.
The defensive switch slowed the Cornell offense, but Binghamton couldn't score consistently enough to fully close the gap. Walker's reverse layup started an 8-0 run that pulled Binghamton within three points, 23-20, with 8:08 remaining in the first half. However, Binghamton scored just seven points for the rest of the half.
Once Miller sparked Cornell in the second half, the Bearcats were playing catch-up the rest of the game.

VESTAL, N.Y. – Cornell rained 3-pointers in the first half, then relied on its defense to make sure Binghamton didn't repeat last season's result with a 68-54 Big Red victory at the Events Center. The Big Red improved to 4-4, while the Bearcats slipped to 1-6.

Sophomore Robert Hatter scored 14 points to lead a balanced effort on the offensive end. Seniors Devin Cherry (12 points, six rebounds, three assists) and Shonn Miller (11 points, 11 rebounds) also reached double figures. Cornell hit 11-of-25 from beyond the arc, including a 9-of-17 effort in the first half. The Big Red defense continued to be the story, however, limiting the home team to 36 percent shooting (33 percent in the second half) with a 38-33 advantage on the glass.

It didn't end there, however. The tandem of senior big men Dave LaMore and Ned Tomic made big contributions off the bench with a combined 14 points and seven rebounds to give the Big Red balance, while senior Galal Cancer had six points and a career-best eight assists. Sophomore JoJo Fallas hit two of Cornell's 11 3-pointers to become the seventh player on the roster to score between six and 14 points in the win.

Yosef Yacob led Binghamton with 15 points and Romello Walker had 10 points and seven rebounds. Willie Rodriguez, who entered the game averaging 19 points over his previous three contests, was held to eight on 3-of-10 shooting.

A year ago, Cornell led Binghamton by 16 points with 10 minutes to play and watched the Bearcats win in regulation by 10. This season, the Big Red led by 15 points with 10 minutes remaining. That's where the similarities ended.

There was no such comeback as the Big Red continued to show it's a new year.

Cornell led by as many as 18 and never saw It dip below 13 after an early 16-1 run in the second half turned a three-point game into a comfortable road win. The 14-point margin of victory on the road was the best in a game under head coach Bill Courtney and was the most since the 2009-10 Ivy League championship run.

Cornell's defense never allowed Binghamton to take a serious swing at them after halftime after opening the stanza with a five-point run to cut a 35-27 Big Red lead to 35-32. Miller hit three consecutive jumpers, Robert Onuorah stepped out and hit a free throw jumper and Cherry hit a 3-pointer. By the time Hatter hit his third triple of the game and Cherry snaked inside for a layup, Cornell all of a sudden led 51-33 and the rest was elementary.

Binghamton got the game off to a quick start and scored seven straight after the Big Red hit an opening 3-pointer. Cornell's opening basket would be a sign of things to come as the visitors hit seven 3-pointers (7-of-10) in the first 8:08 to race out to a 21-12 lead. Tomic finished on a great pass from Darryl Smith right before the under-12 minute timeout to stretch it to 23-12, but Binghamton got right back in it, scoring eight straight to get back within three.

Cancer hit two more 3-pointers in the final five minutes and Cherry beat the defense to draw a foul and hit two free throws right before the half to go into the break to lead 35-27.

Cornell will play its final game before exam break when it hosts UMass-Lowell on Saturday, Dec. 6 at 4 p.m. at Newman Arena.

In two games over the last two years, the Binghamton men’s basketball team gave Cornell a run for its money. Binghamton (1-6) exploded for over 50 second-half points to overcome 20-point deficits in each case, keeping the game close and even taking a win last year.

But Binghamton (1-6) could not meet its precedent in the two programs’ annual matchup this year. The Bearcats couldn’t get their shots to fall, and they posted a 36.2 percent shooting clip from the floor en route to their 68-54 loss at the Events Center on Saturday afternoon.
“Right now everything is tough for us,” BU head coach Tommy Dempsey said. “Every basket is tough for us, everything is a grind out there right now offensively.”
Dempsey described the group’s current mood as being in a “funk.” No doubt, that has something to do with the program’s former star, junior guard Jordan Reed, taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team. And while no one can say what would have happened had he played on Saturday, he was crucial in keeping pace with Cornell (4-4) the past two years, eclipsing the 20-point mark in both 2012-13 and 2013-14.
While Dempsey’s rotations weren’t fixed to begin with and Reed hadn’t played over 10 minutes a game since the season opener against Notre Dame on Nov. 14, the third-year player was supposed to be able to provide senior leadership to Dempsey’s young squad, comprising seven freshmen and five sophomores.
With Reed gone, there are just two upperclassmen – senior forward Jabrille Williams and junior guard Karon Waller – left on the roster. And over seven games, those two have combined for under 10 minutes.
Unsurprisingly, the young squad is struggling. That was evident in Binghamton’s numbers against Cornell. They shot just 4 for 16 from the perimeter and were outrebounded, 38-33. They converted just 17 of 47 shots from the field while the Big Red finished shooting 45.6 percent, converting 12 of 28 from the floor.
“At times we were getting the right shots, they just weren’t falling down,” sophomore guard Yosef Yacob said. “We need to work a little bit more on our chemistry as a team. There are a few things that are missing here and there, but overall, I felt like we were running the right sets and getting the right looks, so the ball just has to start falling in.”
Yacob led the team with 15 points, 11 of them second-half points. He helped to pace a Bearcat team that dipped to 33.3 percent shooting after halftime and that wasn’t putting many looks together.
Though Binghamton came in with a plan to execute against Cornell, that was foiled. Dempsey saw that Cornell had struggled against zone defenses in its first few games this season; Binghamton opened the game running a zone. But in response, the Big Red dominated from the perimeter: They scored their first 21 points on 3-pointers, converting seven of their 10 attempts through the opening nine minutes of the game.
“Sometimes you go into [the game] and you think one thing is going to be the most effective – like we thought the zone was going to be effective tonight – and it wasn’t, so we adjusted,” Dempsey said.
Following a timeout, Binghamton pressed man-to-man and limited its visitors to just two more treys until halftime. But Cornell refused to be stymied, and the team’s offensive glass-crashing allowed them to jump ahead. The Big Red scored 15 second-chance points and grabbed 11 offensive rebounds through the game.
In the second half, Binghamton looked like it might come roaring back as it had in the past, scoring on each of its first two possessions. Freshman forward Dusan Perovic dropped in two off a hook shot and Yacob nailed a three in transition to narrow the gap to three points, 35-32.
But three straight jumpers from Cornell’s leading scorer, senior forward Shonn Miller, and Cornell went on a 16-1 run spanning nearly six minutes. The Big Red jumped up to a 51-33 lead with 12:38 remaining, and Binghamton couldn’t bounce back. Cornell finished out the game with a 14-point lead, 68-54.
Behind Yacob, freshman guard Romello Walker reached double-digits in scoring with 10 points. He also grabbed a team-high seven boards. Freshman forward Willie Rodriguez, who has averaged 19.3 points over the past three games, added eight points on 3-for-10 shooting from the field.
The loss to Cornell comes on the heels of an 80-54 blowout to Army on Tuesday night. In that game, Rodriguez recorded his first collegiate double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Despite his success, Army’s 15-point lead heading into halftime was too much to overcome, and Army (5-0) preserved its perfect record.
Next up for BU is a road match next Wednesday at Boston University. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. at Case Gym in Boston, Mass.

VESTAL, N.Y. - Visiting Cornell drilled nine three-pointers in the first half and then used a 16-1 run early in the second half to pull away from Binghamton men’s basketball (1-6) 68-54 Saturday afternoon at the Events Center.
The Big Red (4-4) made six straight threes early in the game to build a 23-12 lead. A three-point play by freshman forward Bobby Ahearn capped an 8-0 BU run that pulled the Bearcats to within three, 23-20, with 8:07 left in the half. But BU misfired on 10-of-12 to end the period and Cornell took a 35-27 cushion into intermission.
Binghamton scored the first five points of the second half to cut its margin to three, 32-25, but Cornell responded with the pivotal 15-point run, which spanned 6:39. The run was spearheaded by a pair of three-pointers and three mid-range jumpers from All-Ivy forward Shonn Miller, who wound up with a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Down 51-33 with 12:38 left, BU pulled no closer than 13 points the rest of the way. 
“We struggled today and as a group we’re struggling right now,” head coach Tommy Dempsey said. “We’re in a little bit of a funk but we have a lot of chances going forward to play better basketball and we have to focus on the next game.”
Sophomore guard Yosef Yacob scored a game-high 15 points - 11 in the second half. He hit 4-of-7 from the floor, 6-of-7 from the line and added four assists. Freshman guard Romello Walker added 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Bearcats shot just 33 percent in the second half (7-for-21) and for the game, left 10 points at the free throw line, going 16-for-26 (62%).
“I thought we did a good job protecting the ball in the first half and got good shots ... but we’re not shooting the ball well. When your stats are what they are from three-point range, teams are going to pack it in the paint against us. We’re going to have to make shots to stretch the defense. Every basket is tough for us right now ... it’s a grind offensively and we have to find ways to get easier baskets. We’re still trying to figure out who we are. It’s a tough stretch and we have to stay the course and keep fighting in practice to get better. This is a marathon ... you don’t get counted out in November.”
The Bearcats renew acquaintances with former America East foe Boston University Wednesday night on the road. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. in Boston.


BigRed1965 said...

Wow, was that nice to watch a Cornell game and not have that concern of how this one was going to slip away. Team is playing terrific defense, shots are falling with more confidence,and Cancer having 8 assissts confirms my view that he should be distributing the ball. LaMore and Tomic played nicely off the bench up front, and Fallas shows a lot of grit as well as shooting accuracy. And we have seen those streaks of greatness from Miller.

Matt said...

Terrific bench production in this game. In fact, it looks like Courtney got meaningful contributions from all 9 players who took the floor. We're making progress.

Anonymous said...

To BigRed1965:

Really was nice to see BigRed close out that game. Season is still early and this team should have enough chips on their shoulders to keep them motivated throughout the season.

This backcourt is probably the best in the Ivy with what they are able to do. Appears so funny when just in the last couple of years all that was said by the naysayers was that we need a point guard now it appears we have two, right out of thin air. Cherry to me appears to be the one who has chosen to have that mentality this year taking less shots and passing more than anyone else. Cherry continues to play at a high level even with the turnover bug which has appeared to be team wide.

Numbers never lie and if Mr. Cherry continues to be the complete player that he has shown from last year to date (one of three players in Conference in top 20 in Points, Rebounds and Assists) the other two being Wes Saunders and Javier Duren with Maodo Lo right on the cusp.

So with Cherry, Cancer and Hatter this Backcourt is ripe to do damage in Conference play.

Let's go BigRed!!!! Looking for Big things this year!!

Anonymous said...

@ANON 12:06PM- You are about right on your backcourt assessment. At this point, only Columbia's backcourt of Lo, Cohen, and frosh Castlin seems to be performing thus far on a par with our top 3 guards. Their bomber, Frankoski, is off to a slow start. At this rate, Fallis, Cancer, and Smith can keep pace with the Lions' long game.