Sunday, December 21, 2014

Cornell Athletics Game Notes for Visits to Radford and Siena

Cornell Game Notes I Radford Game Notes I Siena Game Notes I Ivy League Game Notes
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Game #9: Cornell at Radford
Tip off: Sunday, Dec. 21, at 2:00 p.m.
Site: Dedmon Center (3,215), Radford, Va.
2014-15 Records: Cornell (5-4, 0-0 Ivy); Radford (6-4, 0-0 Big South)
Series Record: Radford leads 1-0
Last Meeting: Radford won 86-71, Nov. 25, 2013 in Ithaca, N.Y.
Radio: 98.7 FM The Buzzer (Barry Leonard)

Game #10: Cornell at Siena
Tip off: Tuesday, Dec. 23, at 7:00 p.m.
Site: Times Union Center (15,229), Albany, N.Y.
2014-15 Records: Cornell (5-4, 0-0 Ivy); Siena (3-5, 0-0 MAAC)
Series Record: Siena leads 3-1
Last Meeting: Siena won 71-70, Nov. 22, 2013 in Ithaca, N.Y.
Radio: 98.7 FM The Buzzer (Barry Leonard)
TV: Time Warner Cable Sports

Cornell head coach Bill Courtney is in his fifth season at Cornell (42-82, .339; 19-37 Ivy, .339) ... Courtney became the fifth Robert E. Gallagher '44 Coach of Men's Basketball at Cornell on April 23, 2010.

After two weeks of practice and final exams, a refocused Big Red men's basketball team will hit the road to start the stretch run of its non-conference season when it visits Radford on Sunday, Dec. 21 at 2 p.m. and Siena on Tuesday, Dec. 23 at 7 p.m. Barry Leonard will have the call in the Ithaca area on 98.7 FM The Buzzer, as well as on the Ivy League Digital Network.

After spending significant stretches of the season on the road already, the Big Red will be able to settle in at home in front of the Newman Nation crowd for much of the next month. Starting with the Saint Peter's game, Cornell will play eight of its next 11 games in Ithaca, where it is off to a 3-0 start. Head coach Bill Courtney's team is already one of the most improved in the country, already more than doubling its win total from a year ago en route to a 5-4 start.

Cornell has already quadrupled its win total against Division I teams from a season ago and has the looks of a team on the rebound, playing suffocating defense (.374 field goal percentage defense, .315 3-point percentage defense, 62.7 ppg. allowed, 4.9 blocked shots per game) in its nine contests. The Big Red has limited foes to under 40 percent shooting in seven of its nine games.

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 13.8 ppg., 7.3 rpg., 1.9 bpg. and 1.1 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 (11.6 ppg., 3.9 rpg., 2.9 apg., 1.1 spg.) after a year away from basketball, the move of senior Devin Cherry to point guard (10.2 ppg., 5.3 rpg., 4.2 apg., 1.1 spg.) and the maturation of sophomores Robert Hatter (12.4 ppg., 3.0 rpg., 1.1 spg.) and David Onuorah (3.1 ppg., 4.8 rpg., 1.6 bpg.). A number of other players have added key minutes as reserves over the first nine contests. Among them are sophomore guards JoJo Fallas, who has become one of the conference's most dangerous shooters off the bench (fourth in Ivy league in 3-point percentage, .458), and Darryl Smith (4.1 pg., 2.1 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 duo of Dave LaMore and Ned Tomic are combining to average 3.8 ppg. and 3.7 rpg. and have provided leadership on and off the court.

• give the Big Red a 6-4 record on the season.
• extend the team's win streak to four games, the program's longest since winning nine straight during the 2009-10 campaign.
• make Cornell 3-1 in true road games after going 0-16 away from Newman Arena, giving the Big Red its best road stretch to start a season since opening the 2009-10 campaign with a 6-1 record.
• even the all-time series with Radford at 1-1.
• be the 1,217th in program history (1,216-1,356 in 116 seasons, .473).

• Radford enters Friday's contest against Siena with a 6-4 record, including wins in four of its last five games.
• The Highlanders took down Virginia Tech (68-66) in Blacksburg to earn itself an early season victory over a major conference opponent, ending the game on an 8-0 run to secure its first-ever win over an ACC opponent.
• Javonte Green (13.0 ppg., 9.0 rpg.) and R.J. Price (12.2 ppg.) are both averaging double figures on the season on a balanced team that features 10 players who average at least 10 minutes per game. Both Green and Price are ranked in the top eight among all-time scorers at Radford.
• The Highlanders are outrebounding opponents by 1.8 boards per game (35.6-33.8) in large part because of Green, the school's all-time leading rebounder.
• Radford returns all five starters and 12 out of 14 letter winners from last season's squad that went 22-13 and defeated Oregon State in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational.
• The team is 3-0 at home entering Friday's game against Siena and is 302-115 all-time at the Dedmon Center (.724).
• Fourth-year head coach Mike Jones, who previously served as assistant coach at VCU, Georgia, West Virginia, Richmond, Furman and Howard, has increased Radford's win totals each year from 6 to 13 to 22 a year ago. He is 47-62 overall as a head coach.

• The Big Red and the Highlanders met for the first and only time last season, with Radford taking an 86-71 victory over Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y.

• Cornell is 3-2 all-time against current members of the Big South, including 0-1 against Radford.
• The Big Red has also faced Longwood (1-0), Presbyterian (1-0) and Winthrop (1-1).
• Cornell has never played Campbell, Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, Gardner-Webb, High Point, Liberty and UNC Asheville.

• Junior Devin Cherry scored 19 points and freshman Robert Hatter had 18, but the Cornell men's basketball team fell into an early hole and couldn't recover in an 86-71 loss to Radford on Nov. 25, 2013 at Newman Arena.
• Cherry hit on 6-of-12 shots from the floor and 6-of-7 from the charity stripe and added five rebounds, while Hatter was credited with six assists and two rebounds while also hitting three 3-pointers.
Deion Giddens rounded out three double figure scorers with 10 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and a steal in 19 minutes.
• Cornell shot 56 percent from the floor in the second half after hitting on just 29 percent in the first 20 minutes, scoring 49 points after the break, but couldn't overcome a deficit that grew to as many as 25 points early in the second half.
• The Highlanders shot 54 percent from the floor and connected on 8-of-17 from beyond the arc.
• R.J. Price scored a game-high 24 points and added five assists and four rebounds to lead Radford, who extended its win streak to four games.
• Javonte Green scored 18 points with six rebounds and three steals and Rashun Davis (13 points) and Kion Brown (12 points) chipped in a combined 25 points off the bench.

• Siena enters Friday's game at Radford with a 3-5 overall record and is 1-1 against MAAC competition.
• Among its wins on the season was a victory at St. Bonaventure (73-70) and a win at Loyola (MD) (81-71).
• Marquis Wright (13.8 ppg., 5.4 apg., 3.3 rpg., 1.8 spg.) and Rob Poole (13.6 ppg., 4.3 rpg., 2.5 apg., 1.9 spg.) rank 1-2 on the team in scoring, but four other players average between 8.4 and 9.9 points per game.
• Opponents are shooting 46 percent from the floor and 37 percent from 3-point range while outrebounding the Saints by more than five per game (36.2-31.0).
• Siena has taken care of the ball (10.8 turnovers per game) while forcing opponents in 16.6 miscues the other way.
• Second-year head coach Jimmy Patsos guided Siena to a 12-win turnaround a season ago en route to a 20-18 finish. That was the second-best turnaround in Division I.

• Siena leads the all-time series 3-1.
• The two teams met for the first time in 1985 with Siena earning a 70-55 decision in the finals of the Siena Invitational.
• The Big Red's lone victory came during the 2007-08 campaign, an 83-77 triumph over the Saints.
• Siena won the last two meetings between the teams, including last season's 71-70 triumph in Ithaca.

• Cornell is 62-52 all-time against current members of the MAAC, including 1-3 against Siena.
• The Big Red has also played Canisius (26-17), Fairfield (0-2), Iona (0-2), Manhattan (1-1), Marist (2-3), Niagara (27-20), Quinnipiac (2-2), Rider (3-0) and Saint Peter's (0-2).
• Cornell has never played Monmouth.
• This is the second of three games Cornell is scheduled to play against MAAC schools this season. The Big Red defeated Canisius 67-60 at home on Nov. 26, then host Saint Peter's five days after the Siena game in Ithaca.

• Imoh Silas closed out a 17-point, 14-rebound double-double with a putback with seven seconds remaining to lift Siena to a 71-70 victory over Cornell on Nov. 22, 2013 in a foul-filled contest at Newman Arena.
• Silas was a monster on the backboards, with seven of his 14 coming on the offensive backboards. He added an assist, two steals and a block in the victory.
Nolan Cressler was sensational with a career-high 25 points, including 11-of-19 from the field.
Dwight Tarwater had his second double-double of the year with 12 points, a career-best 13 rebounds and three assists and Devin Cherry had 17 points and four assists before fouling out with four minutes to play.
• The Big Red shot 51 percent from the floor and turned the ball over just seven times, but was just 12-of-24 from the free-throw line.
• Cressler hit a long 3-pointer at the halftime to cut a nine-point Siena lead to 43-37 at the break and then used the momentum into the second half.
• In a game that featured 53 fouls, both of Cornell's starting guards fouled out in the final 10 minutes and three other players had four apiece. The second half alone saw 31 fouls called, including 10 in the first four minutes after halftime.

• Senior Shonn Miller and sophomore Robert Hatter scored 18 points apiece as Cornell snapped UMass Lowell's six-game win streak with a 71-60 victory over the River Hawks on Dec. 6 at Newman Arena.
• Miller added five rebounds, three blocks and two steals in the win, while Hatter drilled a season-high five 3-pointers and had four rebounds for the Big Red in the win.
• Senior Galal Cancer overcame first half foul trouble to score eight points, dish eight assists and grab seven rebounds and classmate Devin Cherry had seven points, four rebounds and three assists.
• The Big Red shot 50 percent from the floor in the win and connected on 10-of-21 from 3-point range, including 7-of-11 after halftime.
• Cornell also hit each of its 13 free throws and held a 31-26 edge on the backboards.
• Marco Benegas-Flores notched 18 points for UMass Lowell to lead the River Hawks.
• Chad Holley added 12 and Lance Crawford scored 10.
• UMass Lowell turned the ball over just 10 times, but shot under 40 percent.
• It was hitting 36 percent before hitting its final three shots after both teams emptied their benches.

• The Big Red is limiting opponents to 37 percent shooting over its first nine 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 seven of its first nine opponents under 40 percent shooting.
• Those numbers were even better in the team's three games prior to its road trip to Radford and Siena, limiting opponents to 78-of-220 shooting from the floor overall (.355) and 22-of-77 from 3-point range (.286).
• At 5-4, the Big Red surpassed the .500 mark at the latest point in a season since Cornell was 13-12 after 25 games during the 2012-13 campaign.
• 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.
• The Big Red has posted two of the top nine free-throw shooting percentage efforts in school history over the first nine 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.
• 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 116 to his name.
• 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 39 points over the last seven games (5.6 per game), including 10-of-22 from 3-point range (.455). He entered the stretch with six career points and was 0-of-8 from beyond the arc.
• Sophomore Darryl Smith is averaging 6.5 points, 2.5 rebounds while shooting 78 percent from the floor (7-of-9), 100 percent from 3-point range (5-of-5) and 89 percent from the line (8-of-9) in his last four games. He entered the stretch averaging 2.0 points and 1.8 rebounds per contest.
• Smith has hit five consecutive 3-pointers over four games.
• In his last two contests, senior Galal Cancer is averaging 8.0 assists (16 assists, five turnovers). Entering the Binghamton game, Cancer had just 10 assists in his first seven games.
• 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.
• 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.
• The Big Red has won consecutive games by double figures since topping Brown (91-79) and Penn (82-71 in OT) in consecutive games in February of 2011.

• Cornell hit 10 3-pointers against UMass Lowell on Dec. 6, 2014 its 723rd 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 769 of 773  games, connecting on 4,875 treys, an average of 6.3 per game.

• Cornell returns home after a short holiday break when it meets Saint Peter's on Sunday, Dec. 28 at 4 p.m. in Newman Arena.

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