Sunday, December 21, 2014

News and Notes: Sunday Edition

Cornell men look to extend basketball win streak in Va.
The much-improved Cornell men's basketball team returns from its 15-day exam break on Sunday in southern Virginia when it meets the Highlanders of Radford University in a 2 p.m. tip-off.
The Cornell men's basketball team returns from its 15-day exam break on Sunday, when it will be in southern Virginia to take on the Highlanders of Radford University, beginning a stretch of four games in 10 days that will end on New Year's Eve in the Carrier Dome.
Coach Bill Courtney's Big Red (5-4) has won three straight but last played on Dec. 6, when it won for the third time in as many tries at home with a 71-60 defeat of UMass Lowell at Newman Arena. Senior Shonn Miller and sophomore Robert Hatter scored 18 points apiece as Cornell ended the River Hawks' six-game win streak.
Radford, of the Big South Conference, was 6-4 entering Friday evening's game against Siena, which Cornell will play on Tuesday. The Highlanders will be looking to make it two straight over the Big Red, as they upended Cornell 86-71 early last season in Ithaca. Cornell shot nearly 50 percent after intermission but couldn't recover from a deficit that grew to 25 points early in the second half.
After Sunday's game, Cornell heads to the Albany area to take on the Saints (3-5) before a brief return home to face Saint Peter's (N.J.) next Sunday. The Big Red then makes its annual trek to the dome to face Syracuse (6-3) at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 31. In last season's opener against the Orange, Cornell led by as many as 14 points in the first half before SU rallied from an 82-60 victory.
Cornell is a vastly different team from a season ago, and has already won five times as many games against Division I opponents as it did all of last season, when its only wins came against Division III Oberlin College and Ivy League rival Dartmouth.
Leading the way for Courtney's Red is the 6-foot-7 Miller, the team leader in both points (13.8) and rebounds (7.3) per game. Miller and classmate Galal Cancer (11.6 ppg., 42.1 pct. from 3-point range), a 6-2 guard, were both absent all of last year, Miller due to a shoulder injury and Cancer for personal reasons.
The Big Red has two more players averaging double-figures in scoring — 6-2 sophomore guard Robert Hatter (12.4 ppg.) and 6-3 senior guard Devin Cherry (10.2 ppg., 4.2 assists per game). Cherry and Hatter combined for 37 points in last year's home loss to Radford, in the teams' first-ever meeting.
Rounding out Courtney's starting lineup is 6-9 sophomore forward David Onourah (3.1 ppg., 54.5 shooting pct.), who ranks among the top 10 in blocked shots among Ivy players at 1.6 per game.
Radford, led by fourth-year coach Mike Jones, has won four of its last five games, including a 68-66 upset of Virginia Tech on Dec. 7. The game marked the Highlanders' first victory over an ACC opponent. Radford scored the last eight points of the game and survived two late 3-point attempts by the Hokies.
Javonte Green (13.0 ppg., 9.0 rpg.) and R.J. Price (12.2 ppg.) lead the way for a deep Radford squad, which has 10 players who average at least 10 minutes a game. Green, a 6-4 senior, is the school's all-time leader in rebounds with 847. He eclipsed the previous record of 845, set by Chris Oliver from 2003-07, in Radford's 92-54 defeat of Johnson & Wales on Tuesday at the Dedmon Center in Radford.
Jones guided the Highlanders to a 22-13 record last season, including a 96-92 defeat of Oregon State in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational. It was the first postseason tournament victory in Radford program history.
After its final four games of the 2014 calendar year, Cornell travels to Buffalo on Jan. 3 for a 3 p.m. tip-off, then hosts Howard at 7 p.m. on Jan. 8 and closes its non-conference schedule against Division III Alfred State at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 10. The Red opens Ivy League play at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 17 against Columbia in Newman Arena.
  • Former Cornell assistant coach, Paul Fortier, caught up with Ryan Rourke (Cornell '06).
  • On the Albany-Siena rivalry, the Saratogian writes, "Saturday’s game drew 10,238, pretty much standard fare for the contest.  It’s the top draw on Siena’s 'home' schedule. Most other non-league games on the Saints’ schedule, like upcoming ones against Cornell and Bucknell, will be lucky to attract crowds half that size.The attraction is the rivalry, the meeting of our area’s only two Division 1 programs."
"Hard to believe it has been 20 seasons since the Jerome Allen-Matt Maloney Penn teams finished off three seasons without losing a single Ivy League game.The basketball world (and the Ivies) has changed so much since the mid-1990s. Harvard decided to take basketball seriously and has become the league power. Cornell dominated for three seasons.  As good as those Harvard and Cornell teams are and were, I think the Penn teams were way better. Well, then why have Harvard and Cornell had NCAA success when that Penn group won just one NCAA game.  Again, the sport has changed dramatically. Penn was playing against veteran teams with NBA players. Harvard and Cornell have been winning NCAA games against teams in the one-and-done era."

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