Tuesday, December 1, 2015

News and Notes: Tuesday Game Day Edition

Below, news and notes...
Down by as many as 15 at one point, Cornell University made a comeback in the second half but a last-second 3-pointer fell short Sunday afternoon in an 80-77 men's basketball loss at UMass-Lowell.
Cornell was within three, 77-74, after Robert Hatter’s basket with 17 seconds left. Keith Hayes II responded with a pair of free throws for the River Hawks before Cornell’s Matt Morgan sank a 3-pointer to make it 79-77 with five seconds remaining. Hayes added a final free throw before Morgan missed a 3-pointer.
Morgan led the team with 23 points and also contributed  four assists. Freshman Troy Whiteside scored a career-best 10 points and grabbed six rebounds in the loss.
Cornell (3-4) had seven different players hit a 3-pointer, combining for 12 total.
Jahad Thomas led the way for UMass Lowell with 19 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals. Thomas’ string of points put UMass Lowell ahead with 1:20 to go.
Cornell returns home for a two-game homestand beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday, when Siena visits Newman Arena.
  • Ivy Hoops Online comments on the loss to UM-L, "UMass Lowell 80, Cornell 77...This team really can’t stop anybody. Coach Bill Courtney should really think about slowing games down and attacking inside more with its guards. Cornell ranks 54th in the nation in adjusted tempo, and that’s not working." 
  • The Ivy League excluded Cornell from its list of honored players in its weekly awards.
ALBANY -- When the Siena College men’s basketball team takes to the floor Tuesday night at Cornell University, the Saints will look to accomplish two things — avenge their 18-point home loss to the Big Red from a season ago and win their fifth straight game.
“Cornell is tough. Bill Courtney is a really good coach,” Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos said. “They came in here and beat us last year, and we’re going up there. Cornell is really tough, it’s our sixth out of seventh (game on the road), but we’re excited to play games.”
Tip off for the non-league contest is 7 p.m.
In order to beat the Big Red, the Saints will have to get off to a good start, something they didn’t do so well Saturday against Loyola.
The Saints were down by eight at the half and then by 14 points with 14:17 remaining in regulation, before pulling out the 90-82 victory in overtime.
“We’ve been making deposits (this season). I thought we made a withdrawal in the second half,” Patsos said of the win. “In other words, you only have so many comeback wins and I thought we probably used one up. Great win, but you can’t do that all the time. If you think that’s going to happen every game at this level you’re crazy.”
The sour taste of last year’s 75-57 defeat at the hands of the Big Red was in every player’s mind at practice Monday afternoon in the ARC.
“We know Cornell just came off a loss and they’re going to come in wanting to beat us,” junior guard Marquis Wright said. “We know that they kind of blew us out last year so we’re going to get back too. It’s just we have to go in wanting to win.
“Our mindsets are just like we can’t lose like that and not want to get back at them. We just want to go in there and get back at them and win the game.”
Along with try to avenge last season’s loss to the Big Red, the Saints also have the opportunity to win five straight games for the first time since the 2009-10 season. Siena won at least five straight twice during that season, once during their 15-game winning streak early on and then when they won five straight at the end before losing to Purdue in the NCAA Tournament.
“We knew that first weekend was going to be tough and we learned from it and we were ready to move forward,” redshirt junior forward Brett Bisping said. “So far we’ve been doing well, but we have to keep it going. It’s still early and hopefully we have a good December. November’s over, so we have to move on.”
During the Saints’ four-game winning streak they’ve won two straight overtime games.
In the past, Siena might have struggled in those situations, but this season the Saints have had a different mindset heading into each overtime period.
“You know what I said in both timeouts (heading into overtime)? ‘Five more minutes of basketball, isn’t that great?’” Patsos said. “Before I’d be mad that we’re in overtime or (asking), ‘What’d you do wrong?’ Now I’m like, ‘Five more minutes of basketball. What a great thing to do in life, play five more minutes of basketball. So let’s play it.’ They’ve been good in the huddles. They know these are tough games.
“Now they’re like, ‘Okay, it’s a dog fight. If we go to overtime we go to overtime.’ Where as before sometimes I think I focused on the negative.’”
One player that has stepped up over the recent stretch has been freshman wing Nico Clareth.
Clareth is averaging just under 11 points a game while shooting 49 percent from the field coming off of the bench.
“I think I just bring energy,” Clareth said. “That’s my goal, just to bring energy on the defensive end and it translates on to the offensive end.”
Wright has also stepped up for the Saints this season.
After averaging just 12.5 points a game last season, the junior is leading the team in scoring at 18 point per game.
Wright’s ability also has allowed Patsos to move his starting point guard to the two during this recent stretch, allowing Kenny Wormley to man the point.
“I think it’s been a good transition and also good for Kenny, becoming the point guard and knowing he’s going to be here for the next three years,” Wright said. “It helps him a lot and it also helps me scoring-wise and I feel like it just gives the defense a different look knowing that I’m at the two.”

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