January 30, 2009

M. B-Ball Welcomes Brown, Yale

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It is hard to imagine that the Red could play much better than it has been lately — Cornell has won seven games in a row, including the last five by double digits. Additionally, the Red has not lost at Newman Arena, where it will host Brown tonight and Yale tomorrow, for a school-record 15 consecutive games.
With the Red (12-6, 2-0 Ivy League) already dismissing opponents in such dramatic fashion, the rest of the Ivy League will not be excited at the prospect of senior guard Adam Gore’s imminent return from reconstructive knee surgery. It has been approximately four and a half months since the operation, but the second-team All-Ivy sharpshooter will be dressed for this weekend’s matchups. [img_assist|nid=34589|title=Down to the Wire|desc=Sophomore forward Adam Wire (24) eludes a defender during the Red’s 83-72 win over Columbia last Saturday.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“[Gore has] been shooting well,” said freshman guard Chris Wroblewski. “He looks good in practice.”
Gore shot .415 from beyond the 3-point arc in the 2007-08 season, good for third on the team, but has yet to test out his skills from behind the new 3-point line. He averaged 10.2 points per game last season, also No. 3 on the team.
Gore, who will likely see time off the bench as he works his way back to full strength, adds one more player to an already deep Red roster. The Bears (6-10, 0-2 Ivy League) on the other hand, should not expect much help from their reserves. Brown has three players averaging in the double digits this season, but no other player averages more than seven points. Two Bears, sophomore forward Peter Sullivan and senior forward Chris Skrelja, are Nos. 1 and 2 in the Ivy League in minutes played, reflecting the team’s reliance on a select few contributors.
The Bears are led by junior forward Matt Mullery. Mullery has averaged 16.3 points per game, 5.6 rebounds per game, with a .614 shooting percentage — good for 13th in the nation. He has also recorded 30 of the team’s 39 total blocks, including a school-record six blocks during a game last weekend.
Perimeter defense will be important against the Bears, who had an outstanding average of .824 from behind the 3-point line during an 89-73 win over Quinnipiac on Dec. 29.
“We had some lapses [last week against Columbia],” Wroblewski said. “We’ve been focusing on really getting through screens and playing through an opponent’s physicality.”
Cornell will have to avoid the temptation to look past the Brown match, a team the Red has defeated four consecutive times, to the matchup with Yale (7-9, 2-0 Ivy League), who, with two league wins, are tied with Cornell atop the Ivy Standings. Cornell isn’t the only team streaking into the weekend — the Bulldogs are on a five-game win streak during which they’ve outscored opponents by an average of 14 points per game, and out-rebounded opponents by seven boards per game. During their streak, the Bulldogs downed MIT, NJIT, Hartford and swept a weekend series with the Bears.
Even though the Bulldogs seem to be setting themselves up as the early challenger to defending league champion Cornell, the Red players insist they’re not reading too far into thes matchup.
“They’re just another game in the way of a title,” Wroblewski said.