Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Cornell Athletics Game Notes for Visit to Syracuse

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Game #13: Cornell at Syracuse
Tip off: Wednesday, Dec. 31, at 6:00 p.m.
Site: The Carrier Dome (49,250), Syracuse, N.Y.
2014-15 Records: Cornell (6-6, 0-0 Ivy); Syracuse (8-4, 0-0 ACC)
Series Record: Syracuse leads 88-31
Last Meeting: Syracuse won 82-60, Nov. 8, 2013 in Syracuse, N.Y.
Radio: 98.7 FM The Buzzer (Barry Leonard, Eric Taylor '05)
TV: ESPNU (Rich Hollenberg, Tim Welsh)

Cornell head coach Bill Courtney is in his fifth season at Cornell (43-84, .339; 19-37 Ivy, .339) ... Courtney became the fifth Robert E. Gallagher '44 Coach of Men's Basketball at Cornell on April 23, 2010.
The Cornell men's basketball team has already made a statement that it is one of the nation's most improved teams. It will now have a chance to show just how improved it is on a national stage when the Big Red visits Syracuse on New Year's Eve for a 6 p.m. contest at the Carrier Dome. The game will be televised on ESPNU with Rich Hollenberg and Tim Welsh on the call, while Barry Leonard and Eric Taylor '05 will provide coverage on 98.7 FM The Buzzer and the Ivy League Digital Network.

Head coach Bill Courtney's team is already one of the most improved in the country, already tripling its win total from a year ago (2-26) en route to its 6-6 start. It has sextupled its win total from a year ago against Division I teams and has the looks of a team on the rebound, playing suffocating defense (.372 field goal percentage defense, .316 3-point percentage defense, 62.8 ppg. allowed, 4.6 blocked shots per game) in its 12 contests. The Big Red has limited foes to under 40 percent shooting in nine of its 12 games. Four of its six losses have come by five points or less or in overtime.

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 has been especially dominant over his last three games, averaging 26.0 points and 11.7 rebounds with a career scoring high of 28 points at Radford and a best of 15 rebounds at Siena. The two-time Ivy League Player of the Week has season averages of 16.8 ppg., 8.4 rpg., 1.7 bpg. and 1.1 spg. to make him an early contender for top Ivy League honors.

Other big differences in Cornell's quick turnaround include the return of senior Galal Cancer (10.0 ppg., 3.8 rpg., 3.2 apg., 1.3 spg.) after a year away from basketball, the move of senior Devin Cherry to point guard (9.8 ppg., 5.2 rpg., 3.7 apg., 1.1 spg.) and the maturation of sophomores Robert Hatter (12.9 ppg., 2.7 rpg., 1.2 spg.) and David Onuorah (2.7 ppg., 4.5 rpg., 1.4 bpg.). A number of other players have added key minutes as reserves over the first 12 contests. Among them are sophomore guards JoJo Fallas, who has become one of the conference's most dangerous shooters off the bench (10th in Ivy League in 3-point percentage, .409), and Darryl Smith (3.7 pg., 1.8 rpg.). Together with the starting trio, the five make for one of the most talented and deepest backcourts in the Ancient Eight. The senior big man trio of Deion Giddens, Dave LaMore and Ned Tomic are combining to average 3.8 ppg. and 5.0 rpg. and have provided leadership on and off the court.

• give the Big Red a 7-6 record on the season and a 5-2 mark in its last seven games.
• be the first over Syracuse since Dec. 4, 1968 when it topped SU 94-82 at Barton Hall in Ithaca, snapping a 33-game losing skid against the Orange.
• be the first over an ACC team since topping Wake Forest during the 1951-52 campaign, a 58-51 Big Red victory on the road.
• be the 1,218th in program history (1,217-1,358 in 116 seasons, .473).

• Syracuse improved to 8-4 on the season with an 85-67 triumph over Long Beach State on Dec. 28 behind Rakeem Christmas and Michael Gbinije, who each had 24 points in the victory.
• The Orange owns a win over Iowa and close losses to California, St. John's and Villanova and is an impressive 7-1 on the year at the Dome.
• Syracuse is allowing opponents to shoot just .375 from the floor (.283 from 3-point range) and are surrendering 59.0 points per contest.
• SU is shooting an uncharacteristically low .458 from the floor and .288 from 3-point range, but force nearly 16 turnovers per game and outrebound its opponents by more than six per contest.
• Christmas leads the team in scoring (17.2 ppg.) and rebounding (8.8 rpg.) while shooting 62 percent from the floor and blocking 2.3 shots.
• Trevor Cooney (13.1 ppg.) and Chris McCullough (11.2 ppg., 7.6 rpg.) are also averaging double figures.
• SU returns two starters and nine letter winners from last season's 28-6 squad that finished second in the ACC.
• Orange head coach Jim Boeheim has posted a 956-324 record in 38 years as a college basketball Hall of Fame coach.

• Syracuse leads the all-time series 87-31 and carries a 33-game win streak against the Big Red into the contest.
• The two teams had their first meeting in 1900-01, an 18-15 victory by the Orange.
• Cornell is 1-20 all-time at the Carrier Dome and 0-19 vs. the Orange.
• Its only win at the Dome was a 75-54 win over St. Francis (PA) to open the 2005-06 season as part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

• The Big Red is 38-132 against current members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, including 31-88 against Syracuse.
• The Big Red has faced Boston College (0-3), Clemson (0-2), Duke (0-5), Georgia Tech (0-3), Maryland (0-2), Miami (FL) (0-1), North Carolina (0-3), North Carolina State (0-5), Notre Dame (1-8), Pittsburgh (5-11) and Wake Forest (1-1).
• Cornell has never faced Florida State, Virginia or Virginia Tech.
• This game is the only scheduled meeting between the Big Red and an ACC team this year.
• Cornell's last win over a team in the ACC at the time of the game came against Wake Forest during the 1951-52 season, a 58-51 victory on the road.
• Since then, the Big Red has lost 27 consecutive games to current members of the ACC by an average margin of 24.5 points per game.
• Only five of those 27 games have been decided by single digits.

• The Cornell men's basketball team gave #8/7 Syracuse all it could handle for a half, but couldn't weather a second half run in dropping an 82-60 decision to the Orange on Nov. 8, 2013 at the Carrier Dome.
Nolan Cressler scored a career-high 23 points and adding five rebounds and three assists for the Big Red, who led by as many as 14 points in the first half to quiet the Carrier Dome crowd.
• Cornell lead 38-32 at the break before the Orange took control in the second half with their suffocating halfcourt defense and an efficient offense.
Robert Hatter and Dominick Scelfo each scored nine points for the Big Red, while Devin Cherry had six assists and four rebounds.
• The Big Red connected on 10 3-pointers against SU's matchup zone, but 10 second half turnovers allowed SU to make the decisive 32-10 run to start the second half.
• Trevor Cooney had a career-high 27 points, hitting 10-of-12 shots from the floor and 7-of-8 from 3-point range, to lead Syracuse, while preseason ACC Player of the Year C.J. Fair had 19 points.
• Rakeem Christmas was also in double figures with 12 points for the Orange, who shot 63 percent from the field after halftime and rebounded seven of their 10 misses.

• Saint Peter's shot just 29 percent from the floor for the game, but hit its first two field goals in overtime and overcame Cornell's suffocating defensive work to grind out a 59-52 victory on Dec. 28 at Newman Arena.
Shonn Miller had his third consecutive dominating individual effort with 24 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, but the Big Red couldn't overcome its own shooting woes (33 percent shooting) and costly turnovers (20) in dropping its first home game of the season (3-1).
• Miller hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 31 seconds left, and sophomore Darryl Smith harassed the Peacocks' Desi Washington into an airball on the last shot of regulation.
• The visitors grabbed the momentum as Tyler Gaskins hit a 3-pointer and Marvin Dominique hit a 16-footer to give Saint Peter's a five-point lead, its largest of the game, just 1:13 into the extra session.
• Cornell got back within three on a David Onuorah dunk on a great lookaway feed from Galal Cancer, but that was as close as it would get.
• The Peacocks hit 9-of-10 free throws in the final 1:03 to improve to 3-0 all-time against the Big Red.
Devin Cherry had 14 points and six rebounds, Dave LaMore had a career-high eight rebounds and Cancer was credited with five points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals in the loss for Cornell.
• Dominique led Saint Peter's with 17 points and nine rebounds, while Gaskins added 16 to go along with seven boards, three assists and three steals and Washington had 13 points despite his 2-of-16 shooting from the floor.

• Things have changed mightily since the last time Cornell defeated Syracuse, a 93-81 Big Red win during the 1968-69 season in Ithaca.
• Some of the things that have happened since Dec. 4, 1968 — man has landed on the moon (July 20, 1969); Cornell head coach Bill Courtney was born (May 4, 1970); 12 U.S. Presidential elections have been held; there have been 101 solar eclipses; the earth's population has increased by 3.7 billion a human being alive in 1968 has had their heart beat more than two billion times; Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim joined the SU staff as an assistant coach (1969), was promoted to head coach (1976), won a national titles (2003) and 956 total games on the Orange sidelines.
• Below are some highlights from 1968, when the Big Red last earned a victory over the Orange.

Category           1968                                   2014
Loaf of bread      $0.22                                  $1.98
Milk (Gallon)      $1.21                                  $3.86
New Car            $2,450                                 $32,086
Gas (Regular)      $0.34                                  $2.85
New House          $26,600                                $280,900
Postage Stamp      $0.06                                  $0.49
Household Income   $9,670                                 $53,891
No. 1 Song         "I Heard It Through The Grapevine"     "Blank Space"
                   Marvin Gaye                            Taylor Swift

• Cornell's defense has spearheaded the Big Red's turnaround, as its points per game allowed, field goal percentage defense overall and from 3-point range are significantly down, while its steals and blocked shots are way up over last season.
• The Big Red is limiting opponents to .372 shooting over its first 12 games. In all, Cornell recorded a .495 field goal percentage defense mark in 2013-14
• Cornell has allowed opponents to shoot 50 percent or better 15 times in 28 games a season ago, while this year it has held nine of its first 12 opponents under 40 percent shooting and no opponent has hit 50 percent of its shots.

           Scoring Def.    FG% Def.      3pt FG Def.    Steals       Blocks
2013-14    78.4 (331)      .495 (341)    .409 (345)     4.2 (338)    3.5 (267)
2014-15    62.8 (115)      .372 (23)     .316 (117)     5.9 (232)    4.6 (77)

• Despite not picking up a win at the Carrier Dome, Cornell has shot the ball well at the Carrier Dome over its last seven trips to play the Orange.
• Since 2004, Cornell has averaged 11.3 3-point field goals made while shooting just under 40 percent (.397) against the Syracuse zone.
• Cornell hit at least 10 3-pointers in six of the seven games with a high of 15 in 2004-05 and shot better than 40 percent four times.
• In four of those seven games, a Cornell player hit at least six 3-pointers in a contest, with Ryan Wittman hitting 9-of-19 during the 2008-09 season, one of two games decided by 10 points or less during that span.

• The Carrier Dome is named in honor of famed Cornellian Willis Haviland Carrier, creator of the first modern air conditioning system in 1902. He started what became the largest heating, ventilation and air conditioning distributor in the world. The company he created purchased the naming rights in perpetuity in 1980.
• Cornell is 1-21 all-time at the Carrier Dome, picking up its lone victory with a 75-54 triumph over St. Francis (Pa.) to open the 2005-06 season as part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. The Big Red is 0-20 all-time against the Orange in the Dome and has also played Kentucky, dropping the 2010 regional semifinal game to the top-seeded Wildcats.
• Cornell has already won four more games than the entire 2013-14 campaign when it went 2-26.  Only five teams in the country have won more games this season than last year, topped by Cornell's +4. Next up is TCU, which is 12-0 after going 9-22 last season. The other teams are Lamar (+1), Southern Utah (+1) and Sacred Heart (+1).
• Over the team's last four games, Cornell is shooting an outstanding .839 from the free-throw line (73-of-87).
• The Big Red has posted two of the top nine free-throw shooting percentage efforts in school history over the first 11 games. Cornell tied a school record with a 13-for-13 effort (one of eight perfect nights with at least 10 attempts) against UMass Lowell and had the best day with a miss in going 21-of-22 for .955 against Penn State. Ironically, Cornell has shot under 50 percent from the free-throw line in two other games this season.
• Cornell's 14-point margin of victory over Binghamton (68-54) was its largest in a road game under head coach Bill Courtney and the most by any Cornell team since a 79-59 victory at Yale on March 6, 2010. That mark didn't last long, as the Big Red dropped Siena by 17 (75-58) in Albany 23 days later.
• 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 121 to his name.
• Miller had three steals at Radford, pushing his career total to 101. He became the first player in Cornell history to post 100 career steals and 100 career blocks.
• Miller is averaging 26.0 points and 11.7 rebounds in his last three contests.
• In his last five contests, senior Galal Cancer is averaging 5.6 assists. Entering the Binghamton game, Cancer had just 10 total assists in his first seven games.
• The rally from a 17-point deficit against Colgate 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 an 85-84 win over Yale on Feb. 10, 2012.
• 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.
• The Big Red hit 11 3-pointers in the win at Binghamton, the most in a game since hitting 16 in an 83-70 loss at Western Michigan on Nov. 29, 2013. Cornell then hit 10 in its next game against UMass Lowell.
• Second-year assistant coach Jon Jaques was a starter and senior captain on the 2009-10 Cornell team that advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16.
• Cornell will play 10 games against teams coming off 20-win seasons and 11 against teams who competed in postseason last year (three vs. NCAA teams, five vs. CIT teams, four vs. CBI teams).
Dwight Tarwater '14 graduated from Cornell last spring with a degree in Applied Economics and Management and is playing an extra year at California-Berkeley. It is the second straight year a Big Red men's basketball player has used his fifth and final year of eligibility at a BCS school, as Errick Peck '13 spent the 2013-14 campaign at Purdue. He served as a captain and part-time starter for the Boilermakers while averaging 4.6 points and 4.4 rebounds and shooting 48 percent from the floor in 32 contests (10 starts).
• Members of the Cornell basketball team represent 13 states and one Canadian province.
• Cornell has played in 45 different states, as well as in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Australia and France. The only states the Big Red has not played in are Alaska, North Dakota, Mississippi, Texas and Wyoming.

• Cornell hit five 3-pointers vs. Saint Peter's on Dec. 28, 2014 its 726th straight game with at least one made 3-point field goal.
• With six 3-pointers against Oberlin on Jan. 11, 2014, Cornell extended its streak of games with at least one 3-pointer to 700.
• The last time Cornell did not hit a 3-pointer was against Denison in the 1988-89 season opener (0-for-2).
• Since the 3-point shot came into effect in NCAA play during the 1986-87 season, Cornell has hit at least one shot behind the arc in 772 of 776 games, connecting on 4,891 treys, an average of 6.3 per game.

• Cornell opens the new year with a road game at Buffalo on Saturday, Jan. 3 at 3 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.

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