After a disappointing effort against Buffalo on the road, the Cornell men’s basketball team had an impressive showing at home against Boston University winning a close game, 71-66.
The Red (2-2) looked nervous to start out, as the Terriers (0-3) jumped out to a quick seven-point lead less than 90 seconds into the game. Head coach Bill Courtney quickly called a timeout and subbed in freshman guard Galal Cancer for junior guard Johnathan Gray, completely shifting momentum in the Red’s favor, as Cornell reeled off a 20-0 run to open up a 13-point lead, 20-7.
“He came into the game and turned it around right … when he came in,” Courtney said. “Galal was making plays on the defensive end, guarding [Darryl Partin] in the first half, making the right pass, pushing the ball up the floor and a lot of things that turned the game around.”
Senior guard and co-captain Drew Ferry played a critical role in the 20-0 run, hitting three from downtown to begin the comeback.
“I just wanted to come out and be aggressive,” Ferry explained. “Coach [Courtney] always tells me if I get a little bit of room, just put it up there and I was fortunate to hit some shots at the beginning.”
The Red entered the locker room with an 11-point lead, 35-24, but the Terriers came out of the half with renewed energy, starting things off with a 13-4 run to cut the deficit to two.
Boston’s emergence in the second session was sparked by six consecutive points from Partin, the Terriers’ top offensive weapon.
The Red contained Partin in the first half, forcing the guard to commit five turnovers; however, the Terrier rebounded after the break, registering a four-point play and hitting a 3-pointer on the break in addition to the six-point stretch. Partin finished with 29 points on the afternoon.
“He’s a very talented, very aggressive player,” Ferry said of Partin. “Every time he catches the ball he’s looking to score. We were fortunate to keep him down in the first half, but in the second half, he felt like he had to take over and get his team back into the game — and he did it — so you have to give him credit.”
With 55 seconds remaining and the Red leading, 62-61, Cancer converted on an impressive post move to hit a lay-up. After that, the Red iced the game with some steady, clutch free throws from senior guard and co-captain Chris Wroblewski.
A key contributor to the Red’s success on Sunday was the team’s ability to keep up with the Terriers on the boards. In its first three games, Cornell was out-rebounded by an average of 8.3, but limited that deficit against Boston, 35-32. Wroblewski led the team with seven rebounds, but credited much of his statistics to the frontcourt’s hard work.
“Eitan [Chemerinski], Josh [Figini], and Shonn [Miller] are fighting off these big guys and I just swoop in there, so it’s really more luck than anything — [just being in the] right place at the right time,” Wroblewski explained.
“[The rebounding is a result of] both team effort and better boxing out,” Ferry added. “Chris had seven rebounds and our big guys are working tremendously hard down there getting bodies on people, even if they don’t get the rebound. I don’t think it matters who gets the rebound, as long as somebody gets the rebound.”
Courtney also credited the victory in part to the development of Chemerinski. After scoring 33 points all of last year, the 6-8 forward has already surpassed that total in just four games, chipping in with 12 against BU.
“He’s been doing it since the end of last year and in the spring,” Courtney said of Chemerinski. “He really improved and he got stronger during the summer. We try to emphasize to him to be more aggressive, especially when he catches it looking to score instead of looking to pass — he’s such an unselfish kid. He really looked to score tonight and that was part of us being successful.”
Despite the win, one area of concern was the shooting of Wroblewski — the lone starter remaining from the Red’s 2009-10 Sweet 16 squad. The co-captain filled the box score with 10 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and no turnovers, but again struggled with his shot, converting just one layup from the field all game. Despite Wroblewski’s struggles, the team knows that he will eventually start hitting his shots, according to Ferry.
“I’m not worried about Chris at all,” he said. “He’s a great player and is getting six to seven rebounds, six to seven assists a game and moving the ball around. Once he finds his groove, he’s going to be even more dangerous. He’s going to stay at it and we’re not worried about him at all.”
Looking ahead to Tuesday night, the Red again hits the road for a bout with a tough Delaware team, with tip-off slated for 7 p.m. in Newark, Del. Despite a winless record, the Blue Hens (0-2) have played two close games, including a tough 10-point loss against perennial Big East contender Villanova.
“[Against Delaware], we must stop Devon Saddler — he’s their best player and had 28 the other night against Villanova,” Courtney said. “He’s so hard to keep from going to the basket, so we’re really going to have to build a wall in the paint and keep him out of the lane. They have a great athlete, Jamelle Hagins, and some freshmen who can shoot the ball. They’ve got an all-around good group … so we have our hands full Tuesday night.”
Original Author: Albert Liao