Friday, January 9, 2015

GAME RECAP: Cornell 70, Howard 60

The Cornell men’s basketball team has obviously been working on its free-throw shooting.
The Big Red made 26 of 28 attempts from the line and rallied from an early six-point deficit to defeat Howard, 70-60, Thursday night at Newman Arena. Cornell snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 7-8 on the season heading into its final non-conference game, at home Saturday afternoon against Division III Alfred State.
Senior Shonn Miller scored a game-high 23 points, including 15-for-16 shooting from the line, and added a game-high 12 rebounds. The 6-7 forward made his first 13 free-throw attempts before finally missing on the second of two shots with 9:26 play. The 13 straight to start a game set a school record, breaking the previous mark of 12 held by John Bajusz (1985) and Louis Dale (2007).
Howard (7-9) was led by James Daniel, who matched Miller with 23 points, and James Carlton, who added 22. Howard was 13-of-18 from the foul line for the game.
After Cornell scored the first two points of the game, the visiting Bison scored the next seven to take a five-point lead less than two minutes in. Cornell battled back to tie the game at 9, but Howard retook a five-point lead on a James Miller 3-pointer and a Carlton bucket and led the rest of the second half until Pat Smith tied the game with a long 3 just before the halftime buzzer.
Cornell came out on fire in the second half, hitting six of its first eight shots and using an early 9-0 run to take a 41-32 lead at the 5:17 mark. The Big Red extended its lead to 12 points, 58-46, on a Miller dunk with 6:46 to play, and though the Bison would respond with a 7-0 run and cut the Red’s lead to just four points with 1:13 left, that was as close as the visitors would get.
After shooting just 7-for-27 from the floor in the first half, the Big Red made 12 of 19 field goals in the second and added 16-for-17 foul shooting.
Saturday is Fred Geise Memorial Kids Day at Newman Arena, with activities slated to begin at 1 p.m. and tip-off set for 2.

ITHACA, N.Y. – Senior Shonn Miller posted his fourth double-double in six games and Cornell snapped a three-game skid with a 70-60 victory over Howard on Thursday evening at Newman Arena. The Big Red improved to 7-8 on the year and 4-1. The Bison dropped to 7-9.

Miller had 23 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots and connected on 15-of-16 free throws, his third double-double with at least 20 points during his streak. Over his last six games, Miller is now averaging 22.2 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks.

Sophomore Robert Hatter had his third 20-point effort of the year with 20 points, hitting 6-of-8 field goals. Senior Galal Cancer had eight points and five assists, while sophomore David Onuorah posted four points, three rebounds and two blocks. Cornell held Howard to 38 percent shooting from the floor and 30 percent from 3-point range and hit 26-of-28 (93 percent) free throws to ice the win. Cornell blocked a season-high nine shots in the win.

James Daniel (23 points, five assists) and James Carlton (22 points, nine rebounds) joined Miller and Hatter as 20-point duos, while James Miller chipped in 11 points.

Sloppiness on both ends plagued the Big Red in the opening minutes, as the Bison translated two Cornell turnovers into an early 7-2 run to begin the contest, prompting an early timeout. Cornell regrouped following the break with stifling defense headlined by Miller. The forward blocked three shots as the Big Red held the Bison scoreless over the next 3:25.

The Big Red worked its way back into the game over the next few minutes to chip away at the Howard lead. Devin Cherry flushed home a 3-pointer to knot the score at 9-9 at the 15:31 mark of the game, but James Miller would answer with a triple of his own to reestablish the lead.

The teams would trade buckets over the ensuing minutes, until Howard's James Carlton sparked a 6-0 run to again widen the Bison lead to 22-16. He would finish with a first half high of 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting.

Cornell made the final push, however, clawing back into the game with an 8-2 run to enter halftime tied 27-27. Freshman Pat Smith hit a last-second 3-pointer, the first of his career, to knot the game not long after Miller's ferocious putback dunk made it a one possession game.

The second half was all Cornell, though Howard hung around most of the way.

Fifteen seconds into the final 20 minute stanza, Hatter had a 3-pointer hit the rim, bounced up and back in to give the home team a lead it would never relinquish. Howard briefly tied the game at 32-32, but the game totally changed on a quick 9-0 run over just 2:13 started by Miller, who bulled his way into the paint and was fouled. He hit both free throws, and immediately following a media timeout, Cancer drained a 3-pointer. After a Hatter steal, Cancer broke free for a layup, and then after an Onuorah block, Darryl Smith got a run-out basket to make it 41-32 Cornell.

Though Howard would cut the Big Red lead to three twice more, it would never get the ball back within a possession. First, Miller got back to the line and connected on both free throws, then Cancer nailed a 3-pointer.

An alley-oop dunk from Cherry to Miller made the lead a dozen with just under seven minutes to play, but the visitors had one final run in them. Consecutive 3-pointers, one by Solomon Mangham and the second by James Carlton got the Bison back to within four (60-56) with 1:49 remaining, but Ned Tomic answered with two free throws, followed by two more by Miller and a set by Darryl Smith. Miller put a punctuation mark on the game with a layup with 31 seconds to play to seal the win.

Cornell closes out its non-conference slate when it faces Division II Alfred State on Saturday, Jan. 10 at 2 p.m. at Newman Arena.

Ithaca, NY—James "J-Byrd" Daniel, III poured in a team-high 23 points, 17 in the second half and James "JC" Carlton added 22, but it was not enough to offset the play of Shonn Miller and Robert Hatter along with some deft free throw shooting as Howard fell, 70-60 to Cornell in a non-conference game Newman Arena.
The Bison (7-9) got off to a fine start and led by as many as seven on three occasions in the first 20 minutes.  Carlton paced Howard with 13 points in the first 20 minutes, scoring on a variety of dunks and three pointers.  But the Cornell (7-8) made a late push at the end of the half to force a 27-27 tied at intermission on a Pat Smith three pointer with seconds left on the clock.
"We played well in the first half for the most part," said Howard head coach Kevin Nickelberry.  "James Miller got in foul trouble and it hurt us because it kept us from extending the lead in the first half."
Big Red used the push to come out of the locker room with a 14-5 run that gave them a 41-32 lead at the 14-minute mark.  That is when Daniel went to work, scoring all nine of his team points to reduce the deficit to four.
But Miller and Robert Hatter responded and kept the pressure on Howard.  Miller, who tied with game-high scoring honors with 23 points while also grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds and blocking four shots.  Hatter hit several key baskets en route to 19 points, coming at intermission.
"Their best player shot as many free throws as we shot as a team," said Nickelberry.
The Bison refused to go away as Daniel and Carlton answered with baskets.  But it all came down to free throw shooting where Cornell converted on 26 of 28 for a sizzling 93 percent.  The Big Red came into the game shooting 72 percent as a team.  Miller connected on 15 of 16 and Hatter a perfect 6 for 6.
"Unfortunately, the foul issues got worse for in the second half," noted Nickelberry. "The foul shooting disparity proved to be the difference in the game. Cornell had some veteran players who made plays when they needed to, especially getting to the foul line."  
Howard shot a respectable 72 percent (13 of 18) from the charity stripe but did not get there enough.
James "JT" Miller added 11 points for Howard whose bench was outscored by their counterparts, 12-4.
The Bison will look to snap the two-game skid when they host Coppin State on Saturday at 4 pm.
"This game will be a good learning lesson for us going into league play," he said. "Basketball is a game of runs and we were on the wrong side of the runs tonight.  We will learn from this and fight our way through it."


Anonymous said...

A number of posters and this blog have said Cornell should be 11-5 or whatever because it should have beaten both Penn State and Drexel.

But keep in mind that we wouldn't have played Drexel if we had beaten Penn State given the tournament format. Could we have beaten USC, who we would have played had we beaten Penn State? Maybe, maybe not, but the claim that our record should be two wins based on the Penn State and Drexel claim is flawed.

OldGrad said...

The guys looked much better in the second half. Fewer turnovers and good ball movement. Good to see more defensive rebounders around the basket.Keep playing like the second half and you will be tough to beat.

BigRed1965 said...

Once again, Shonn Miller showed he is the real deal. He does big things tihout coming off as cocky or flamboyant. His foul-shooting prowess shows what a cool customer he is under pressure.

Still think Cancer should be directing traffic more regularly.

Robert Hatter is emerging as a capable as well as exciting all-around player.

Pat Smith is going to be a great shooter in his Cornell career.