Tuesday, November 18, 2014

News and Notes: Tuesday Edition

Get all the information you need about the Cornell Big Red's game tonight vs. Colgate, Tuesday, November 18, 2014, with The Cornell Basketball Blog's Game Preview Center.  Below, some news and notes for Tuesday...

  • The Idaho Press reports on the NCAA Tournament's return to Boise and writes, "it has not been back to Idaho since 2009, when Missouri, Cornell, Marquette, Utah State, Florida State, Wisconsin, Xavier and Portland State came to town"
  • The Boston Globe discusses some recent games around the country and notes, "George Mason losing to Cornell, 68-60, at home. How are the Patriots going to compete in the Atlantic 10 losing games like this? "
What Happened Last Week: What could have been a strong weekend for the Ivy League became a disappointing start to the season, thanks to several close games breaking against the Ancient Eight...The Ivy League went just 4-7 overall, with Cornell(!) providing the most notable win... Before Harvard’s loss, the biggest surprise of the weekend was Cornell’s 68-60 victory at George Mason, a win that looked even better when Princeton fell to the Patriots on Sunday. This isn’t a peak George Mason team — the Patriots went 4-12 in the Atlantic 10 last year — but it’s still an excellent result for a team that beat just one D-I opponent last season. Before the Big Red bandwagon gets too full, however, it’s worth noting that Cornell was hardly dominant: George Mason had a decided edge in turnovers and on the glass, only losing because it shot a woeful 31% from the field (and 11-for-21 from the free throw line). The Big Red’s opponents won’t miss that many shots too often... Weekly Awards:Player of the Week: Shonn Miller, Cornell — After missing all of last season with a shoulder injury, Miller showed no signs of rust in his 2014-15 debut. The forward went right back to being his All-Ivy self, leading the Big Red’s upset at George Mason with 21 points and 13 rebounds (including 4-6 three-point shooting), then scoring 20 points in an attempted comeback at Loyola (MD)...The week ahead: ..Cornell plays South Carolina on Thursday...Power Rankings: (Note: Rankings based on my overall impression of each team, not just what happened this weekend.)... 6. Cornell — Shonn Miller isn’t the only returning player for Big Red fans to be excited about: Galal Cancer scored 19 points against Loyola, and he even did so efficiently (5-7 from the field, 9-12 from the line)...
  • The Daily Wildcat mentions Dwight Tarwater (Cornell '14) in its Pac 12 preview.
It took three months for Cornell men’s basketball to win its first Division I game last year. This season, it took one night.
With last year’s 2-26 season firmly in the past, the Red were victorious over George Mason on opening night. In front of a crowd of 6,000 strong, Cornell (1-1) beat the Patriots (1-1), 68-60, in Fairfax, Virginia, on Friday, setting the tone for what will likely be a much improved season.
“Anytime you can go into someone’s arena and get a road win, it’s huge no matter where you are in the country,” said Head Coach Bill Courtney. “I thought our guys really executed the gameplan to a T and really found a way to hold [George Mason] off whenever they made runs.”
Behind 21 points from both Robert Hatter and Shonn Miller, Cornell led by as many as 15 points late in the second half. Miller, playing for the first time since the 2012-13 season, also added 13 rebounds.
Cornell began the night strong, taking a 16-10 lead by sinking its first four three pointers. The Red finished the half making six of eight from long range. George Mason clawed its way back and took the lead when Patrick Holloway connected on a shot from outside the arc with under six minutes left to play in the half. He would finish with a game-high 22.
After David Onuorah made a free throw to cut the lead to one later, Miller ended the half by scoring the Red’s final 11 points, giving Cornell a three point lead going into halftime.
In the second half, Cornell turned up the defense. Over the final 20 minutes, the Red limited the Patriots to 28.6 percent shooting.
“The guys did a great job of executing defensively,” Courtney said. “They were really locked in on that end of the floor.”
With the defense shutting down the Patriots, Cornell’s offense was able to take control. The Red quickly turned a three point halftime advantage into a 10 point lead. Cornell would remain in charge for the remainder of the game. Robert Hatter lead the second half charge with 11 points on seven shots.
Senior point guard Devin Cherry chipped in nine points in the second half after being held scoreless in the first period. Cherry also finished with 10 rebounds and seven assists, coming close to recording the first triple double in school history. Cherry, however, also notched eight of Cornell’s 16 turnovers. George Mason was able to score 16 points off those turnovers.
Courtney admitted that limiting turnovers had been a struggle for the Red.
“It’s definitely an area that we’ve tried to get better at in the preseason. We know that’s an area of concern for us,” he said. “It something that we’ll continue to work on.”
On Sunday, the Red were down big early against Loyola but battled all the way back before falling flat down the stretch. Cornell lost, 76-71, against the Greyhounds (1-1).
The Red jumped to a quick 6-0 lead, continuing its strong defense. Loyola quickly found its rhythm and went on a 12-0 run midway through the first half, highlighted by five points from Eric Laster, who would finish with 13. The Red continued its turnover woes with nine in the first half including five from Cherry.
“They beat us in loose balls, offensive rebounds, 50-50 balls,” Courtney said. “We didn’t get enough of those and they got a double digit lead.”
Loyola would maintain this solid lead and finished the half with a 38-27 advantage. Going into the half down by such a margin, Courtney credits his team for their determination for getting back into the game.
“They fought back like crazy in the second half — really played with a lot of fire and intensity,” he said. “I was proud of the effort our guys made to come back from a double digit deficit on the road.”
Cornell started the second half strong and cut the lead to five points early on. Eric Laster quickly silenced the rally with a five points of his own to extend the lead back to double figures.
For the next eight minutes, the Red hung with the Greyhounds, staying relatively close but failing to chip away at the lead. With seven minutes remaining in the game, Wil Bathurst made a lay-up to cut the lead to two. Cornell would keep at it and Shonn Miller tied up the game at 60 with a jumper. David Onuorah’s free throw would give the Red its first lead since midway through the second half.
A minute later, with the scored knotted up at 64, Loyola’s Andre Walker missed from beyond the arc. But Cam Gregory secured the offensive rebound, his fourth of the day and the Greyhounds took a two-point lead off a shot from Fritz Rassman.
With 3:34 left to play, Miller sunk two free throws to tie up the game at 66. Eric Laster then made a three and the Greyhounds went on an 8-2 run that effectively put away the Red.
Miller led the Red with 20 points and nine rebounds. He also had a pair of blocks and a pair of steals. Galal Cancer finished with 19 points while taking just seven shots. Robert Hatter had 17. No other player had more than seven.
Cornell takes on Colgate (0-1) at home on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Raiders dropped their first game of the season this year, 52-57, against La Salle. Colgate presents a balanced attack with strong three point shooting. In the first game of the season, four players scored in double figures for the Raiders.
After facing two big, athletic teams in George Mason and Loyola, Courtney says this game will be entirely different.
“They do a great job with their offensive execution, so we’re going to have to take away their threes,” he said. “We’ll probably be a little more athletic than them, so we’re going to have to use that to our advantage.”

    1 comment:

    Matthew Hansen said...

    This team is MILES ahead of last year's team, man.