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ITHACA, N.Y. -- The Cornell men's basketball team rewrote the record book, closing its non-conference record at 8-8 after a thoroughly dominant 107-29 victory over Division III foe Alfred State on Saturday afternoon at Newman Arena. The Big Red open Ivy League play next weekend at home against Columbia.
Cornell's 107 points was the seventh-highest total in school history and the most in 22 years. Its field goals made (36), 3-point field goals made (14), assists (27) and steals (16) totals all ranked among the top 20 single-game marks in more than 100 years of Big Red basketball.
Shonn Miller and Devin Cherry each lead the way with 18 points, with Miller added four rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block and Cherry dishing six assists, grabbing five boards and collecting a steal. Robert Hatter was also in double figures (13 points) and chipped in four steals and three assists. Cornell shot 49 percent from the floor and 50 percent from 3-point range (14-of-28), ourebounded the Pioneers 47-31 and had 27 assists and just four turnovers. But for all the offensive numbers, it was still a Cornell defensive masterpiece.
Cornell held the Pioneers to 29 points, the fewest surrendered in a contest since Sampson Naval Hospital scored 29 in a 68-29 Big Red victory on Dec. 1, 1945. It allowed Alfred State to shoot just 21 percent overall, 17 percent from beyond the arc and forced 29 turnovers - scoring an amazing 46 points off those miscues.
The 78-point margin of victory was the largest for the Big Red in any game in school history, besting an 82-11 victory over Rome Air Force Base to open the 1943-44 season. With the win, Cornell closed the non-conference season with eight wins, tied for the fifth-most in a single season in Big Red history and the most under head coach Bill Courtney.
By every measure, Cornell dominated the game, scoring more than 50 points in each half and never allowing more than 17. Everyone got into the action, as 14 of the 15 players that dressed scored and everyone played between seven and 23 minutes. Senior Galal Cancer had nine points, seven rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block and Robert Mischler also scored nine, including a pair of 3-pointers. Freshmen Jordan Abdur-Ra'oof (eight points) and Pat Smith (seven points, three assists) each netted career highs, while classmate Kyle Brown dotted the scorebook for the first time in his career with a 3-pointer. Desmond Fleming had four points, four assists, a steal and a rebound in just eight minutes, JoJo Fallas and Ned Tomic each had six points and Wil Bathurst notched three points, five rebounds and a steal. Darryl Smith had two points, four rebounds, an assist and a block while providing lockdown defense. Though big men David Onuorah and Deion Giddens combined for just one point, the duo had 11 rebounds and two blocked shots while patrolling the paint.
Making a long story short, everyone contributed.
The first two minutes showed that it would be a fast-paced track meet, though Alfred State was able to beat the Big Red with a pair of backdoor laups to stay within 8-6. Cherry hit a 3-pointer a minute later to trigger an 18-0 run over the next 4:38, one of several huge spurts Cornell put on the Pioneers. By the end of it, which featured five points from Hatter and a pair of 3-pointers by Fallas, Cornell led 26-6. It only got worse for Alfred State.
The lead gradually grew and it was 39-17 with four minutes to play before Cornell closed the half on a 14-0 run that featured a couple alley-oops to Miller and five points from Pat Smith and it was 53-17 at the break.
Tyler Elliott, who had four points and a game-high nine rebounds for Alfred State, got the first bucket of the second half for the visitors, but it would be their only points for nearly eight minutes as the Big Red sprinted to another huge run, this time to the tune of 24-0. By the time Devin Cherry completed a traditional three-point play, Cornell had the game well in hand at 78-19 and still 11:16 to play.
Both teams were able to get everyone on the roster touches, though Cornell continued its onslaught. A 20-1 run by the reserves highlighted the Big Red's relentless effort. The home team broke the 100-point barrier for the 20th time in school history when Fleming hit a free throw with 2:46 remaining for the final milestone.
The Big Red will open the Ivy League's 14-game tournament on Saturday, Jan. 17 at 4:30 p.m. when it meets Columbia at Newman Arena.
Cornell University connected on 14 three-pointers and had 14 players score as they defeated Alfred State 107-29 on Saturday afternoon. The game was the first by any Alfred State team vs. a NCAA DI program.
Justin Wallace (Mt Vernon) and Adam Fezza (Southhampton) each had five points while Tyler Elliott (Perry) had four points and nine rebounds for Alfred. The Pioneers shot just 21.3% from the field and turned the ball over 29 times.
Shonn Miller and Devin Cherry each had 18 points to lead the Big Red.
The blue & gold are back at it again on Monday when they travel to Morrisville for a 6 p.m. tip-off with the Mustangs.
In front of a Kids Day crowd of 1,961, the Big Red closed the non-conference portion of its schedule at 8-8, while the Pioneers dipped to 2-10.
Coach Bill Courtney's squad closes its current three-game homestand while opening league play next Saturday evening against Columbia.
Cornell's 107 points are the program's seventh-highest total, nine points shy of the record of 116 set on Dec. 4, 1965 against Colgate (116-69), and the most since it beat Harvard, 108-87, in the final game of the 1992-93 season. The Big Red made 36 field goals on Saturday, including 14 from 3-point range, and added 27 assists and 16 steals — all ranking in the top 20 in Cornell men's basketball history.
While putting up monster offensive numbers, Cornell didn't forget its calling card — defense — as it held the Pioneers to the fewest points by a Big Red opponent since it defeated Sampson Naval Hospital, 68-29, on Dec. 1, 1945. And the 78-point margin of victory eclipsed the old school record of 71, set in an 82-11 defeat of Rome Air Force Base on Nov. 27, 1943.
Cornell seniors Shonn Miller and Devin Cherry led the way with 18 points apiece, while sophomore guard Robert Hatter also hit double figures with 13 points. Courtney went to the bench early and often, with all 15 players seeing at least seven minutes of action and 10 players getting at least 10 minutes.
Junior guard Robert Mischler came off the bench to score nine points, two shy of his career high, on 3-of-3 shooting, including two from beyond the arc.
An Alfred State basket made it 8-6 Cornell less than two minutes in, but the Big Red scored the game's next 18 points and never looked back. Cornell outscored the Pioneers, 25-2, over the first eight minutes of the second half and reached the century mark on a free throw by Desmond Fleming with 2:46 to play.
Adam Fezza and Justin Wallace scored five points apiece to lead Alfred State.
A year ago a win of this magnitude would have been unimaginable. For a Big Red men’s basketball team that posted a 2-22 record just a season ago, the thought of dominating an opponent in the way they did Alfred State over the weekend would have sent any player on that team to the looney bin.
On Saturday, the Big Red dealt a struggling Division III Alfred State team a shocking 107-29 loss at Newman Arena. With the win, the Big Red have advanced their record to 8-8 on the season, putting an exclamation point on the end of their non-conference schedule.
Sure, Alfred State is not a Division I opponent, and while some Division III schools can provide strong competition, the Pioneers have struggled to a 2-10 record thus far, and as a result it can be difficult to put much weight on the astronomically high scoring differential between the two teams.
But do not ignore this game for the Big Red. In coming out on the winning end by 78 points, the team has made history with their highest win differential in program history. The 107 points was good for 7th most in a single game for the Big Red and most in the last 22 years, while the 29 points allowed ties a school record for least amount of points allowed which was set back in 1945.
As the Big Red get set for the start of Ivy League play, the win could serve as a confidence boost that could propel them towards early success within the conference. Shonn Miller continued his strong return season for Cornell scoring 18 points while Devin Cherry also added 18 and Robert Hatter netted 13.
The team was also able to get playing time for every player who dressed for the game and 14 of the 15 scored at least a point in the game.
Finding a soft landing spot to get the entire roster some playing time could also prove to be key down the stretch as the Head Coach Bill Courtney may feel more comfortable making positional rotations now that he’s had the chance to see most of his team.
The Big Red will look ahead towards the start of Ivy League play as they will host Columbia University at Newman Arena on Saturday January 17th with tip off slated for 4:30 PM EST.