The public got its first look at this year’s men’s basketball team Saturday night in the Red-White intrasquad scrimmage. And while head coach Steve Donahue’s troops still appeared to be shaking off some rust, the young team showed glimpses of solid play.
Senior guard Wallace Prather paced the winning Red team with 10 points in the contest, which lasted for one 25-minute period. Freshman guard Cody Toppert and classmate Grant Harrell, a forward, each contributed nine points for the Red, which defeated the White 40-34.
“The kids played hard. The effort’s what I look at and I thought that was fine,” Donahue assessed. “Obviously we’ve got a long ways to go in a lot of different areas, but they’re doing exactly what I would hope at this point.”
Freshman center Chris Vandenberg, who suited up for the White, led all players in scoring for the game with 14 points. He also pulled down three rebounds and blocked a shot. The 6-10 member of the Canadian Under-18 team put his squad on the scoreboard first when he slammed home an alley-oop early on that drew cheers from the crowd.
“Chris Vandenberg scored a lot of points and ran the floor well,” Donahue praised. “He played well.”
“We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but the effort was there. We didn’t run everything as crisply and as flawlessly as we needed to,” junior forward Jake Rohe said. “It’s hard to run [the offense] against your own team because you know it so well. It looks real sloppy, but it looks a lot better versus teams that don’t know what you’re doing.”
Rohe added eight points and three boards for the White team.
Harrell notched a game-high four rebounds in the scrimmage, and was 3-for-3 on three-pointers. Senior guard Pete Carroll also added a pair of threes, and Toppert chipped in with a three-pointer as well, helping the Red’s cause. The White team was unable to muster any scoring from behind the arc.
Prather, one of this year’s co-captains along with Carroll, had two steals in the game and was 6-for-7 from the free throw line. Vandenberg was perfect in his six attempts from the charity stripe, and the two teams combined to go 21-for-23 from the foul line.
All 12 players who saw action Saturday — including six freshmen — made it onto the score sheet.
Freshman Gabe Stephenson was introduced as a member of the White team, but didn’t play due to a foot injury.
“Any time we’re not practicing, we’re excited. We’ve been practicing for a while now,” Rohe said. “It’s good to get out there and play in a game situation, and we’re really excited for these games coming up.”
Cornell will open up the regular season on Friday night when it travels to Buffalo to take on Canisius (0-0, 0-0 MAAC) at 7 p.m. at the Koessler Athletic Center. The Golden Griffins will be kicking off their season as well after slaughtering Brock University 108-67 in an exhibition game on Wednesday.
Archived article by Alex Fineman