Tuesday, December 30, 2014

GAME RECAP: St. Peter's 59, Cornell 52 OT

As is usually the case for the Cornell men’s basketball team, its fate on Sunday afternoon against Saint Peter’s came down to taking care of the ball — or more accurately, not taking care of it.
The Big Red committed 20 turnovers, which resulted in 16 Peacocks points, and the visitors converted clutch free throws down the stretch for a 59-52 overtime defeat of the Big Red before an announced crowd of 847 on Sunday afternoon at Newman Arena.
Red-hot senior Shonn Miller scored a game-high 24 points for Cornell, which dropped to 6-6 overall with its second loss in three games. The Red closes the 2014 calendar year at 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve at the Carrier Dome against Syracuse.
Saint Peter’s (6-7), coached by 1992 Ithaca College graduate John Dunne, scored the first five points of overtime and took the largest lead of the game, 56-48, in the final minute of the five-minute extra period. The beginning of overtime was markedly different from the beginning of regulation time for the Peacocks, who didn’t score their first points till nearly eight minutes had gone by.
“We knew it was going to be a grind,” said Dunne, a 1,000-point scorer at Ithaca from 1988-92. “You look at the numbers with Cornell, even before you even watch film, and they’re very impressive. And then you see film, and they’re even more impressive on the defensive end.”
Miller, who scored 16 of his points after halftime and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, said mistakes doomed the Big Red.
“It’s tough to win games when you turn the ball over 20 times,” he said. “Not getting stops when we needed them was key, too, but it starts with me, I’ve got to be better for the team.”
“You can’t give the ball away 20 times and expect to win,” Cornell coach Bill Courtney said. “That’s 20 possessions wasted where you didn’t even get a shot at the basket. And when you’re shooting 38 percent, you take five or six of the turnovers back, and you’ve got 60 points and you win by 10. It’s something that’s hurt us all year, and it really hurt us today.”
The Peacocks, led by Marvin Dominique’s 17 points, took a three-point lead with 35 seconds to go in regulation thanks to two free throws from guard Desi Washington (13 points) but Miller nailed a straight-on three just four seconds later to knot the game at 45. The Peacocks held for a final shot, but Washington air-balled a 3-point try with just over three seconds left.
Cornell grabbed the rebound and called a timeout with 1.5 seconds left, but the officials reviewed the video tape — something they did multiple times in the game — and added 0.8 seconds to the clock. The Red then inbounded in the backcourt, got the ball over the time line and called another time out. At that point, 1.1 seconds showed, but Dunne petitioned the officials that not enough time had run off the clock.
The officials again reviewed the tape and — after a delay of more than 10 minutes — agreed, instead putting 0.3 seconds on the clock. That would leave just enough time for a tip-in, which Cornell tried but was unable to convert.
The Peacocks then took control in the first minute of overtime and held on for the victory.
“Hitting those two shots to start the overtime I think just kind of deflated them a little bit,” he said. “At that point, I think we were feeling good about ourselves, being on the road, and were just happy to have gotten the game to overtime.”
Despite holding Saint Peter’s off the board for nearly eight minutes to start the game, Cornell was just a little bit better offensively and led by only 4-0 when the Peacocks finally scored. A sluggish first half ended with Cornell in front, 17-15, taking the lead on a 3-pointer by senior guard Devin Cherry (14 points) with 14 seconds to go.
The first 20 minutes featured 13 made field goals and 22 turnovers between the teams. The Red played its trademark suffocating defense, holding Saint Peter’s to 26.1 percent shooting for the half but kept Dunne’s squad in it with 13 giveaways, many of the unforced variety.
The Red took its largest lead of the game at 30-25 with 14:27 to play, but Saint Peter’s tied the game at 34 less than seven minutes later and it was a two-point game for much of the rest of the half.
Cornell committed just three team fouls in the first half but seven in the first 5:19 of the second half, and that translated into the Peacocks getting 26 free-throw opportunities in the second half and overtime. They converted 20 times, including 9-for-10 shooting in overtime.
Miller is averaging 26 points over the Red’s last three games, including a career-high 28 points in a 74-61 loss at Radford on Dec. 21.

ITHACA, N.Y. – 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 Sunday afternoon at Newman Arena. The Big Red slipped to 6-6, while the Peacocks improved to 6-7.

Cornell senior 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. After a long delay that featured three different times on the clock, the Big Red wasn't able to get a shot off in the final 0.3 seconds and the game went to overtime.

The visitors grabbed the momentum back after the stoppage, 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.

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.

Both teams struggled to convert against the opposing defenses and the scored was just 9-9 with a little more than four minutes remaining before halftime. A 5-0 Big Red run, punctuated by a Miller 3-pointer, was answered by a 6-0 spurt by Saint Peter's to allow the visitors to regain a lead at 15-14 with just under two minutes left. Cornell went into the locker room with momentum, as Cherry pulled up and hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to send the home team into the locker room up 17-15.

In a game that featured 11 ties and 13 lead changes, both teams made big shots after halftime, though not many of them, as the defenses continued to dominate. The Big Red led most of the second half, though the Peacocks built a three-point lead in the final minute with two free throws by Marvin and two more by Washington to turn a 42-41 deficit into a 45-42 lead. Miller answered in a big way for the Big Red, catching a toss-back from Cherry and draining a 22-footer to knot the score at 45-45 with 31 ticks left. The defense was up to the task, forcing a tough 3-pointer by Washington after an outstanding defensive stand. After originally having 2.3 seconds on the clock, an inbounds timeout was reviewed and 1.1 seconds were put on the clock. A second review cut that to 0.3 seconds, allowing Cornell only an opportunity to tip the ball in the basket. The inbounds pass was errant, and the teams readied for overtime.

Saint Peter's shook its cold shooting just long enough to claim the five-point lead to begin overtime and never looked back.

Cornell closes out the calendar year when it visits Central New York rival Syracuse on Wednesday, Dec. 31 at 6 p.m. at the Carrier Dome in a game that will be televised by ESPNU.

ITHACA, N.Y. – Tyler Gaskins (Roswell, Ga./Centennial [Lawson State]) made a 3-pointer and Marvin Dominique (Miramar, Fla./Miramar [Fordham]) hit a jumper to key five-straight points to start overtime and lift Saint Peter's past Cornell 59-52 in non-conference men's basketball action on Sunday.
After Shonn Miller tied the game at 45 on a 3-pointer with 31 seconds left in regulations to send the game into overtime, Gaskins started the extra session with a steal that turned into a trey at 4:28 left to give the Peacocks (6-7) the lead they would not relinquish. After a missed jumper, Gaskins pulled down the rebound and found Dominique for a jumper at the 3:47 mark for a 50-45 advantage. David Obuorah slammed home a dunk with 1:24 on the clock, but Saint Peter's went 9-for-10 from the foul line in the final 63 seconds of the contest to seal the victory.
Dominique paced the Peacocks with 17 points and nine rebounds while Gaskins registered 16 points, seven rebounds, three steals and three assists. Desi Washington (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin [Delaware State]) added 13 points after connecting on 9 of 9 from the charity stripe in the winning effort.
Miller powered the Big Red (6-6) with 24 points and 11 rebounds while Devin Cherry added 14 points in the loss.
Cornell forced overtime with a trey in the final minute of regulation, but the Peacocks scored the first five points of the stanza to earn its third-straight win against the Big Red in a series that began three years ago. Saint Peter's also finishes 2-1 against the Ivy League this season. 
In a low scoring first half, Cornell jumped out to a 4-0 lead and that was the largest lead either team would have the rest of the seesaw stanza. Jamel Fields (Albany, N.Y./Cheshire Academy [Fairfield]) gave the Peacocks a 15-14 lead with 1:47 left in the half only to see Cherry hit a 3-pointer with 14 ticks on the clock to give the Big Red a 17-15 advantage going into the locker room.
The second half nearly mirrored the first with Cornell grabbing a four-point edge several times in the frame, but the half was again a seesaw battle to the bitter end.  Trailing 42-40 with 2:37 left, Dominique made three of four at the foul line and Washington hit two at the charity stripe to give Saint Peter's a 45-42 lead with 35 seconds left in regulation. Miller then went down and hit a triple four seconds later to tie the game at 45. Washington, who hit four game-winners in the final 3.3 seconds last year, missed a 3-pointer with three seconds left in regulation to send the tilt to overtime.
It was all Peacocks in the extra session, posting 14 of the 21 points in the stanza to come away with its second-straight win and end the non-conference slate with a 6-5 record. It marks the third winning non-conference record under head coach John Dunne and the first since 2012-13.
Rodney Hawkins (Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall) made his collegiate debut for Saint Peter's, registering eight points and three rebounds in eight minutes of action. Hawkins went 3-for-4 from the floor and 2 of 2 from behind the arc. Hawkins had to sit out the first semester after transferring mid-year in 2013-14 from Delaware State.
It was the squad's first overtime game since defeating Seton Hall last year 83-80 on Dec. 14, 2013.
Coming into the game as a 62.2 percent free throw shooting team, Saint Peter's made 21 of 28 from the stripe on the afternoon for its best free throw performance this season.
The Peacocks return to action when they restart Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play at Quinnipiac on Friday. Game time is 4 p.m. Saint Peter's will play four of its next five league games on the road.

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