February 3, 2013

M. BASKETBALL | After Loss to Tigers, Red Bounces Back In Victory Over Penn

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The Cornell men’s basketball team (10-11, 2-2 Ivy) had an up-and-down weekend, as it was routed by Princeton (10-7, 3-0) on Friday, 76-59, but managed to rally in the second half against Penn (4-16, 1-2) to win its second game in the Ivy League on Saturday, 71-69.The Red played well against Princeton in the first half, controlling the pace of the game, but Princeton dictated the tempo in the second half, which was an important factor in the win, according to senior point guard and captain Miles Asafo-Adjei.“A big thing with Princeton is that we have to speed them up,” Asafo-Adjei said. “They want to slow the game down, since they’re so big and they run their offense so well. We have to get them out of their offense and we were able to do that in the first half, but we weren’t able to do it as well in the second half. They’re such a good team at running their offense and doing what they want to do, they were able to get easy buckets and score around the basket in the second half; that’s what made us lose the game.” Princeton’s Ian Hummer — a strong Ivy League Player of the Year candidate — led the charge, scoring 22 points, grabbing nine rebounds and recording four assists. In the first half alone, he scored 18 points to give the Tigers a 34-30 lead going into the half.“[Hummer’s] a tremendous player … very tough to guard, especially with the way they play their offense, since it’s hard to double team him with the shooters that they have,” Asafo-Adjei said. “We just have to play a little better team defense on him and give Shonn [Miller], Errick [Peck] and the guys guarding him a little more help, but he’s a great player.”Hummer’s effective game gave the Red a better idea of how it will need to defend the 6’7” forward when the two teams meet again in Ithaca.“[Hummer] had a good game against us Friday; he had 18 against us in the first half, which is absolutely ridiculous,” said senior forward Errick Peck. “When we play him again, we’ll do a better job on him, as he didn’t take many tough shots this time. He had a lot of layups off of our defensive breakdowns.”Sophomore forward Shonn Miller and senior forward Josh Figini both played well against Princeton, scoring 12 and 13 points, respectively, to lead the team.“Josh is finally getting his confidence back with his shot and he can really shoot it,” Peck said. “He’s a deadly [weapon] in this league, since we’ve got a lot of bigger, slower centers trying to guard him. As for Shonn, he’s been good all year … And his confidence is high; he’s certainly playing well right now.”After a disappointing start to the weekend, the Red was able to bounce back against Penn, but the victory was not easy. The Red found itself down by 10 with 14 minutes left in the second half, but was able to rally for the win on a big shot by sophomore Galal Cancer with 10 seconds to play. The game served as a big confidence boost for the team, according to Asafo-Adjei.“I think [the win against Penn] shows a lot of maturity in our team and how we’ve grown in the last couple years,” Asafo-Adjei said. “The loss at Princeton was a tough one … but to turn around and come from behind and get a win at the Palestra is huge. It’s a huge win for our record and a huge win for our confidence as well.”Peck was a key factor in the game, scoring 20 points without missing a shot. He was 8-8 from the field, 1-1 from three, and 3-3 on free throws.“[Peck’s] an important part of our team,” Asafo-Adjei said. “He’s capable of doing that every night; it was a great boost for his confidence. It’s great to see him play that way. Missing the last year was tough on him, so he’s happy to be back on the court. I’m looking forward to him continuing to play that way and that’ll make us a very tough team to beat.”The big play of the game was the game-winning shot by Cancer in the final seconds. He received a screen, got into the lane and was able to convert a tough bank shot. Cancer’s game-winner capped off a solid all-around game, finishing with nine points, four assists, two rebounds and two steals.“We wanted to set a flat ball screen for Galal and for him to come off and just create,” Asafo-Adjei said. “[We wanted ]to see if he could get to the basket. That’s what coach [Bill Courtney] wanted him to do and he was able to do that. If he was locked up, he could have found someone else. We just wanted him to read the situation and he made an incredible play and got the basket to go for us.”The Red will be back at Newman Arena next weekend for two games against Harvard and Dartmouth. The team said it understands that if it has any shot at winning the Ivy League, it needs to win the rest of its games.“We’re [still in] the hunt for the Ivy League title,” Peck said. “Even with two losses we can win it, we just have to win out.”

Original Author: Albert Liao