Tuesday, November 17, 2015

News and Notes: Tuesday Edition

Below, news and notes for Tuesday...

  • The Ivy League dished out its weekly award winners with Robert Hatter named to the Honorable Mention list.
HAMILTON, N.Y. – Cornell surrendered a 19-point lead, lost three starters to fouls, including leading scorer Robert Hatter, as well as all the momentum that came with both. Then, despite all of that, the Big Red persevered.

In one of the most exciting games imaginable, with last second shots, epic runs and impressive individual performances, Cornell escaped with its first win of the 2015-16 season in double overtime over Colgate 101-98 on Monday night at Cotterell Court. The Big Red evened its record at 1-1 on the year, while the defending Patriot League runner-up Raiders fell to 0-2 on the young season.

By the time Francisco Amiel's game-tying 3-point attempt bounced off the rim in double overtime, the game had already become an instant classic. You would have never guessed it from watching the first 20 minutes, however.

Cornell jumped out to a 13-2 lead just 3:38 into the game, led by as many as 19 (36-17) and generally controlled the pace of the game thanks to its relentless attacking pressure on both sides of the court. Hatter was the catalyst with 18 first half points in just 12 minutes before joining backcourt mate Matt Morgan and junior center David Onuorah on the bench with two fouls. With the three stalwarts off the court, Colgate chipped away and got the lead back to 11 at the break (41-30).

The Raiders wouldn't give away its home opener that easily, clawing back after Cornell made a mini-surge in the opening minutes of the second half to push the lead back to 18. Colgate hit three 3-pointers in the span of 1:21, two by David Favorite and one by Jordan Swopshire, to get within two points with less than eight minutes to play. Each time Colgate made a run, however, Cornell answered.

The lead went to six, back to three, up to five, down to two. Back and forth it went until Jordan Regisford's two free throws on Hatter's fifth foul gave the home team its first lead of the contest at 74-73 with 2:10 left in regulation. A minute later, a Tom Rivard basket gave Colgate a three-point lead.

Cornell made the first of numerous gigantic winning plays when Wil Bathurst found an open Darryl Smith and the junior tied it up with a 3-pointer from the left wing. The Big Red forced a Raider miss, but Morgan's game-winning 3-pointer was long to send the game into overtime tied 76-76.

Cornell led by as many as eight points in the first overtime, but then found itself trailing by two in the final seconds until Wil Bathurst hit a tough, twisting running jumper off glass 19 seconds after Swopshire had given the Raiders an 87-85 lead with 21 ticks left.

No team led by more than four points in overtime number two, with Cornell falling behind by four with 2:30 left on Swopshire's fifth 3-pointer of the night. The Big Red answered right back with Matt Morgan's second 3-pointer in a little over a minute. Prior to his pair of 3-pointers, Morgan had been 2-of-12 from the floor and 0-for-6 from 3-point range. Instead, the two makes cut the Big Red deficit to one. Morgan than tied the game at 95-95 with the second of two free throws, and after a Swopshire miss, Darryl Smith found freshman Troy Whiteside all alone in the left corner. The rookie knocked out his first career trey to put the Big Red into the lead for the final time with 48 seconds left.

There was plenty to see in the final seconds, as a pair of Big Red missed free throws gave the Raiders just enough room to have a chance to launch a 3-pointer to tie it at the end, but the ball bounced harmlessly off the rim. The Big Red snapped a six-game road skid and avoided the same fate as Colgate the year before, as the Raiders let a 17-point lead slip away in allowing Cornell to capture its home opener.

Hatter led the Big Red with 33 points on 11-of-20 shooting in just 27 minutes and added five rebounds, two assists and two steals before fouling out. Morgan, despite shooting just 4-of-14 shots, netted 16 points, seven rebounds and two steals and both Bathurst and Darryl Smith had 14 points. Bathurst added seven rebounds and two blocked shots and SMith had three rebounds and three assists. Onuorah played a career-high 37 minutes, including nearly both overtimes with a pair of fouls, and had nine points, 14 rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Cornell held a 51-45 edge on the glass and connected on 45 percent of its shots.

Colgate's Swopshire had 19 points and seven rebounds and both Malcolm Regisford (17 points, eight rebounds) and Alex Ramon (17 points, four rebounds, three assists) were among four Raiders in double figures. Austin Tillotson rounded out the group with 15 points and 11 assists. The Raiders shot 44 percent from the floor and connected on 12-of-32 shots from 3-point range.

Notes to Know
• Hatter's career high 33 points came in just 27 minutes. He fouled out with 2:07 left in regulation.
David Onuorah's 14 rebounds were a career high and the most by a Big Red player since Shonn Miller had 15 in the win over Harvard last February.
Darryl Smith's 3-pointer late in regulation to tie the game was his first trey of the season, while freshman Troy Whiteside's 3-pointer in double overtime to put Cornell in the lead for good was the first of his career.
• Cornell's 51 rebounds were the most by a Cornell team since piling up 56 in a win over Clarkson in 2010.
• The Big Red hit the 100-point mark against a Division I team for the first time since scoring 104 in a 104-98 overtime win at Bucknell during the 2009-10 season.
• Cornell lost three starters to fouls during the game, including both Jordan Abdur-Ra'oof and Robert Hatter in regulation.

Next Up
• The Big Red open the home schedule when Binghamton visits Newman Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. as part of a doubleheader with the women's team.
• The Cornell women will meet Colgate at 8:30 p.m.
• The Big Red defeated Binghamton last season on the road, 68-54.
In a game with two overtimes, 199 total points and countless “I don’t believe it” moments, the victory came to the team that wanted it more.
“We have to be the group that gets those second balls, that gets to the floor, that makes what we call winning plays,” said head coach Bill Courtney. “We made enough of those plays to come up with the W.”
The Red battled Colgate for 40 minutes of regulation then 10 more in two overtimes, eventually coming away with the thrilling victory. Cornell overcame foul trouble and mistakes to beat Colgate, 101-98.
Cornell (1-1) had an early 18 point lead against the Raiders (1-1), but the Red started faltering in the second half.
Three straight 3-pointers brought the Raiders within two, and a couple minutes later the lead was down to one, but sophomore guard Robert Hatter hit a shot from beyond the arc to bring the lead back up to four. He sunk two free throws on the next possession to give Cornell a 72-66 lead. Colgate quickly cut the lead back to one. Hatter finished with a game-high 33 points, but fouled out before the end of regulation. Late in regulation, sophomore Jordan Abdur-Raoof also fouled out of the game as did David Onuorah in the second overtime.Before he fouled out, Hatter dominated, showing his offensive versatility. The guard sliced through Colgate’s defense, shooting 11 0f 20 from the floor including four of nine on 3-pointers. Onuorah similarly had a great with nine points and a career-high 14 rebounds. Already a very young squad, without the two junior starters, Cornell was left with an nexperienced group of players“When they fouled out down the stretch, and it was just [the young guys] out on the floor, everybody kind of had to go to a different role,” Courtney said. “I think adjusting to those different roles that they normally don’t see was a little bit of an adjustment. They made some mistakes during that time, but once they got through that learning curve they were able to make some plays down the stretch.”Late in regulation, Colgate took the lead off a pair of free throws after Hatter was whistled for his fifth foul.The Raiders stretched the lead to three but junior guard Darryl Smith answered back with a corner three with 35 seconds to play. Freshman guard Matt Morgan tried a deep three to win the game but it was off the mark.In the first overtime, Smith led the way, giving the Red its first four points in overtime. He connected on two free throws with under two minutes to play to bring Cornell up eight.But just when it seemed like the Red could cruise to the win, Colgate turned up the pressure and furiously came back, making shots and forcing Cornell into turnovers. Down by one, Colgate hit a three to give the Raiders a two point lead. Facing the possibility of dropping to 0-2 on the season, sophomore Wil Bathurst drove and laid the ball up and in to send the game to double overtime. Bathurst ended with 14 points and seven rebounds coming off the bench.  Morgan had two 3-pointers in the second overtime but Colgate’s shooting remained hot as well. Morgan had 12 of his 16 points in the extra periods. With less than a minute to play, Morgan ripped down a rebound on the defensive end after a Colgate miss. After some quick ball movement, freshman guard Troy Whiteside made a three in the corner, putting the the Red up by three with 48 seconds left. Colgate hit a couple of shots after, but sharpshooting from the free throw line from the Red kept the game just out of reach. The Raiders’ shot to send the game to triple overtime was just off the mark and Cornell escaped with its first win of the season.At various times throughout the game, Cornell seemed to have the win locked up, but turnovers or missed assignments on defense allowed Colgate to hang around. Despite the mistakes throughout the game, Courtney said he’s proud of the way the team continued to stay with the Raiders and not give up.“We didn’t show a lot of basketball smarts, but we showed a lot of basketball heart,” Courtney said. “When the game was on the line, guys who had made bad plays before stepped up and made huge plays to help us win the basketball game.”With such a young, inexperienced team, Courtney said he sees the game as great learning moment for Cornell.“You can’t simulate this practice,” Courtney said. “It’s one of those things that has to happen in a game experience and having those pressure situations. It’s good to get that learning experience and still get the win.”

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