November 18, 2012

M. BASKETBALL | Cornell Unable to Defeat Weekend Competition

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For the second straight game, the Cornell men’s basketball team (1-2) attempted a furious comeback in the last few minutes, but again fell short against St. Peter’s (3-0) last Friday night. The Red was down by 11 after a three by St. Peter’s guard Desi Washington with 2:44 left to play before unleashing a 9-0 run in just over one minute. The Red played great defense for the next 35 seconds as St. Peter’s got off a contested jump shot with no time left on the shot clock, but they grabbed offensive rebound, regrouped and then scored a lay-up to put the game away.The first half was characterized by big runs as the Peacocks led 22-11 with 7:03 remaining the first half before the Red finished the half on a 16-5 run, trailing just 28-26 going into the break. This run was led by sophomore guard Devin Cherry, who scored eight of the Red’s 16 points in the last seven minutes. Cherry had his second strong game in a row, finishing the game with 14 points, seven rebounds and two assists, leading the team in both points and rebounds. Sophomores Galal Cancer and Shonn Miller both finished with 13 points apiece and freshman Nolan Cressler dropped 10 points including two more three-pointers.St. Peter’s guard Blaise Ffrench led the Peacock’s attack, finishing with 22 points — a career high — shooting 10-of-12 from the field and four assists. Before this game, he was averaging just four points on the year.The second half was very even until a stretch in the middle of the half when St. Peter’s hit three from deep in three straight possessions in the span of just over a minute to suddenly expand their lead from 45-43 to 54-43, typing its biggest lead of the game. Cornell tried to chip away at the lead but every time the Red got closer, the Peacocks responded with a big shot.The Red’s biggest issue this game was its defense, which had been a strength thus far into the season. The Peacocks shot 48% from the field and were getting everything they wanted in the lane as Ffrench continually penetrated the lane and scored on lay-ups. The 9-0 St. Peter’s run in the second half was a result of their success with penetration earlier in the game, as the Red sagged off their assignments to assist on penetration, leaving the Peacocks with wide-open three point shots. In fact, six of its seven threes were made in the second half, after establishing its ability to get to the rim.Something the Red never took advantage of until late was St. Peter’s lack of size. After starting forward Darius Conley left the game due to injury, St. Peter’s biggest player was Markese Tucker, a 6-foot-5, 240 lb. player. Instead, the Red went away from its size and tried to match the Peacock’s speed with its own, routinely playing many four-guard lineups with just one big man down low. The Red changed this philosophy at the end by going to Shonn Miller in the post for three straight possessions, but it was too little too late. The Peacocks led the rebounding category 39-33 despite their lack of size.The Red (1-3) tried to bounce back last night but its opponent, No. 22/20 Wisconsin (2-1), was not to be taken lightly, as the Badgers routed the Red 73-40.Wisconsin took a commanding lead right out the gate as they began the game with a 23-4 run in 11 minutes, essentially putting the game out of reach already. The Red tried to mount comebacks, but the Badgers never allowed them to get within 13 points of the lead.Wisconsin’s trademark defense bothered the Red as it shot just 26% from the field and was just 2-15 from three. The Red was also completely dominated on the boards, as Wisconsin held an enormous 50-26 edge in the rebound department.  The Red also committed 18 turnovers, led by Cancer’s five, which is something he had improved on this season up to this point.For the third straight game, Cherry led the team in scoring off the bench with 13, but he did commit four turnovers as well.  No other player scored more than six points. Cherry and Cressler’s emergence have affected the playing time of senior guard Johnny Gray, who wasexpected to make a huge impact on the team this year. He played just seven minutes against Wisconsin.The Red continues its brutal road trip — playing six games in New York, Wisconsin, Arizona and Las Vegas in 10 days — on Tuesday night as they face-off against another major conference team, Arizona State.

Original Author: Albert Liao