Winless in its four road games this season, the 2-4 men’s basketball team hopes there’s no place like home for changing its fortunes. Returning to the friendly confines of Newman Arena, the Red will take on Quinnipiac (2-2, 0-1 NEC) at 7:30 p.m. and will be back in action Sunday at 1 p.m. against 3-4 Lehigh.
The cagers are coming off a frustrating 57-43 defeat against Lafayette, in which Cornell committed a season high 18 turnovers, while shooting a season low 30.5 percent from the field.
“We’ve struggled on the road so we’re hoping to come home and really play our brand of basketball and get us back on track,” said head coach Steve Donahue. “I think we were way too impatient against Lafayette, [making] really terrible decisions with the basketball and trying to do too much too early in the possession.”
To end its two-game losing streak the Red will first have to overcome a high-scoring Quinnipiac team averaging over 80 points a game.
The Bobcats boast a versatile offense with 10 players averaging five points or more a game and will force the Red to match up to many different looks offensively. Junior transfer Chris Weyhe leads the attack for Quinnipiac putting up 14.3 points and 7.3 rebounds a game
“They have a lot of bodies and they can play different lineups,” Donahue said “They have a lot of guys who can go off the dribble, and decent inside-outside attack. I think the thing that has been consistent with us this year has been our defense. We’ve been pretty consistent in guarding the three, trying to limit opponents to one shot, challenging shots and I don’t think that changes with [Quinnipiac].”
The Bobcats lost their league opener to Fairleigh Dickinson on Tuesday, 76-70. In the Red’s game against Quinnipiac last season, it fell by a score of 83-76.
Cornell will be back on the court on Sunday looking for its second win over the Patriot League this season, when it takes on Lehigh.
Averaging only 55.9 points a game, the Eagles bring a much different style of play to the court for the Red to contend with.
“They’re a physical team. They’ve done a good job defensively over the years, and they make you earn your stuff,” Donahue said. “You’ve got to really make sure you’re ready to go.”
Cornell’s biggest defensive worry will likely be prolific point guard, Jose Olivero, who is averaging close to 15 points a game. Alongside Olivero at guard, Kyle Neptune, has hit an impressive 16 of his 34 3-pointers this year.
“Olivero’s a guard that not only can he shoot the ball but he has a knack of getting to the foul line as well,” Donahue said. “You’ve got to limit his possessions and make him shoot challenged shots without the foul.”
Two wins on the weekend would give Cornell much more than just a .500 record. Struggling early on the road, the team is still trying to find its identity.
“I think we’re all kind of fluctuating here. We need to step up as a team. We haven’t played as well since Syracuse in my opinion,” Donahue said. “I think a lot is done in a win. Right now we’re reeling a little bit we’ve got to find ourselves again and find out how to get it done.”
Archived article by Paul Testa
Sun Staff Writer