November 24, 2008

Red Can’t Overcome Strong Offense of Mid-Major Siena

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ALBANY, N.Y. — The men’s basketball team couldn’t repeat its success against Siena last year, losing 74-56 after defeating the Saints last season in Ithaca. Still without the services of junior Louis Dale, the Red did not shoot well from the field, connection on 35 percent, including 7-of-24 from downtown.
Siena’s Kenny Hasbrouck led all scorers with 22 points, five rebounds and four assists. Jeff Foote led Cornell with 14 points and five rebounds, junior Geoff Reeves dropped in 13 points and four assists. Junior Ryan Wittman turned in his worst performance of the year, after scoring 11 points on 4-of-17 shooting.
“I thought [Siena] did a good job on him,” said head coach Steve Donahue. “They were physical against him more than most teams are. He didn’t have one of his better nights.”
The Saints used the lengthy 6-7 Edwin Ublies to guard Wittman. That, along with a half-court trap that hampered the fluidity of the team’s offense, turned out to be a key in the loss.
“I thought Ublies on Wittman was a particularly interesting matchup for us,” said Siena head coach Fran McCaffrey. “He did a tremendous job on him, holding him to 4-of-17. … If you want to look at one thing for this game, it was the pressure and the job we did on Wittman.”
Wittman wasn’t the only member of the Red to have an off night shooting. Freshman Chris Wroblewski went 1-for-8 from the field and senior co-captain Brian Kreefer went 1-for-5, missing a handful of layups inside. Even free-throw shooting was down with the team going 5-of-13 from the charity stripe.
The missed opportunities would turn out to hurt the Red. After the Saints increased a 4-point halftime lead to 11, the Red trimmed the deficit back to four points with 14 minutes to play but missed a handful of opportunities. The team wouldn’t get any closer as Kenny Hasbrouck would score 10 of his 22 points in the Saints 19-4 run from in the span of seven minutes. [img_assist|nid=33840|title=In over your head|desc=Senior co-captain Brian Kreefer (34) pulled down seven rebounds during the Red’s 74-56 loss to Siena College on Saturday.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“We had a couple of easy, critical layups with our players that are typically good finishers down there around the hole,” Donahue said. “If we can make those baskets we generally make during that stretch, then we can set our defense. Obviously, you are a whole different team. Once you start missing the easy ones and they get the momentum, it is hard to come back against them.”
Last year, shooting was not an issue for the Red. The team shot 55 percent from the field, including 57 percent from the 3-point in last year’s victory. In order for the Saint’s to win, head coach Fran McCaffrey knew the story would have to be different.
“Last year, we go up there and they shoot 55 percent from the field, 57 from the three, your not winning when your giving that up,” McCaffrey said. “That couldn’t be the case today.”
The shooting could have been better for the Red with the services of Dale, last year’s Ivy League Player of the Week. Dedicated to not inserting the him until he is at 100 percent health, Donahue offers no excuses for the Red’s 18-point defeat.
“I hate when I watch other coaches, to be honest with you, talk about injuries,” Donohue said. “Everybody has injuries, everybody has injuries. Siena beat us. They are a much better basketball team than us.”
Sophomore Ryan Rossiter had 10 points, 15 rebounds, junior Alex Franklin added 15 points and Ubiles dropped 12 points and brought down seven boards in the victory. The Red lost the battle on the glass, with Seina holding a 45-36 edge.