Game Preview: Cornell at Buffalo

Cornell's breakout freshman, Shonn Miller, put on a show against Binghamton. WIll he continue his success against Buffalo? (Photo Credit: Simon Wheeler, pressconnects.com)

Game 3: Cornell (1-1) @ Buffalo (1-0) – November 16 – Alumni Arena – Buffalo, NY
By Sam Aleinikoff & Jake Mastbaum

Cornell looks to continue rolling after picking up their first win of the season over Binghamton Monday night in impressive fashion. For now, some of the questions that were raised after Friday’s loss to St. Bonaventure have been answered, but long term viability remains a question. Can Eitan Chemerinski continue to be a threat offensively? Is Shonn Miller the real deal? Big Red fans will be able to take another early look at Bill Courtney’s squad Wednesday night as Cornell take their act back to the road, looking to make it two straight against the Buffalo Bulls.

A Year Ago
A guard-heavy attack led the Bulls to a convincing 78-66 win in Ithaca last January. Byron Mulkey scored 16 points, adding 8 rebounds and 6 assists for Buffalo en route to the victory. The Red connected on 10 three-point attempts, shooting 42% from deep, but was a cold 33% from the floor and got just 13 points combined from the post. Bracketed by wins over Wofford and Stony Brook, the loss dropped Cornell to 3-10 on the year while the Bulls improved to 8-4.

Last Time Out
COR
Almost a mirror image of the St. Bonaventure game in the opener, Cornell saw a slow start erased by a phenomenal second half against Binghamton. Shooting better than 60% after the break, the Red were propelled to victory by a 22-2 run. Four players reached double figures as Cornell got sizable contributions from Eitan Chemerinski (career high 13 points) and Josh Figini (7 points) in the post. Freshman forward Shonn Miller had a coming out party in the home opener, spurring the second half run and finishing with a team-high 19 points and 8 rebounds. Chris Wroblewski added a well-rounded 12 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists, while committing just two turnovers. On the defensive end, the Red forced 19 takeaways and held Binghamton to just 37% shooting.

BUF
Buffalo led St. Peter’s by as many as 12 as late as 3:01 left to play, but the  An internet  game is just notexceptionallynumerous from a genuine life game; the only distinction is the fact that it is played via the internet. Peacocks would not go quietly. A late push by St. Peter’s cut the Buffalo lead to 65-61 with 53 seconds to play, but clutch free throw shooting by Dave Barnett and Mitchell Watt sealed the deal for the Bulls. Buffalo was paced by sophomore standout, Javon McCrae, who finished with 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Keys To The Game
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Key: 3-Point Shooting

Cornell’s breakout against Binghamton Monday night came in the second-half, outscoring the Bearcats 48-35 en route to a 15 point victory. While it might be a rarity for Cornell, the bulk of this production came from inside the arc. Sixteen of Shonn Miller’s team-high 19 points came from two-point range and the entirety of Eitan Chemerinski’s career high 13 were produced in the paint. Not to say that this is not a great thing, but the matchup with Buffalo will force the Red to score in other ways.

The strength of this Buffalo team is their interior defense. Mitchell Watt, Buffalo’s starting center, averaged 2.2 blocks per game a season ago, good for 3rd in the MAC, while the Bulls, as a team, led the MAC in blocked shots at 5.4 per game. The rest of Buffalo’s athletic 3/4 men may not be as skilled at swatting shots away but are adept at altering looks that challenge the basket due to their length.

This may cause some problems for the driving Galal Cancer, the slashing Shonn Miller, and the not as bulky Eitan Chemerinski. If there was ever a game where the 3-pointer needed to fall, this is it.

BUF
Keys: Interior Defense, Pace

To come away victorious Buffalo needs to turn Cornell into a one-dimensional team and slow the pace. With Watt in the paint, the Bulls have the ability to take away the online casino Red interior threats and with only an 8-man rotation, Buffalo can’t afford to play at the frenetic pace that allowed Cornell to thrive on Monday night.

Cornell will get theirs from beyond the arc. Expect 10 threes and 40 % from the perimeter, but even a hot shooting night won’t guarantee victory for the Red if Buffalo is able to dominate inside. If Buffalo can limit them inside the arc, they should come away with the victory.

Players To Watch
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Shonn Miller
The freshman leads the Red in both rebounds and scoring after two games. With Errick Peck sidelined for the time being, Miller has filled the void on the wing. Shooting an efficient 69% from the field and 67% from distance, the forward propelled Cornell to victory in the home opener. Can he continue to carry the young squad against another New York state rival?

BUF
Javon McCrea
If you’re looking for someone with “star power,” look no further. McCrea, who averaged 11.8 points and 6.5 rebounds

per game last season, is expected to make a huge jump in his sophomore year under Reggie Witherspoon. With his 6’6’’, 225-pound frame, he’s long, rangy, explosive, and most importantly, physically dominating. McCrea has the ability to cause major matchup problems for Cornell. This will be even more apparent if Buffalo decides to go with a three-forward set with Titus Robinson or Xavier Ford at the 4, pushing McCrea to the 3. Cornell likes to push the pace with 3 guards on the floor at all times, but may have to go big to defend McCrea.

Projected Starters
COR
G – Chris Wroblewski
G – Drew Ferry
G – Jonny Gray
F – Dwight Tarwater
C – Eitan Chemerinski

BUF
G – Zach Filzen
G – Jarod Oldham
G/F – Dave Barnett
F – Javon McCrea
F – Mitchell Watt

Prediction
Once again Cornell is outmatched in the frontcourt, but in Buffalo, the edge is not as distinct as it was in Olean. With only one game to judge from, the Buffalo bigs got a good draw in the opener. St. Peter’s is even smaller than the Red and still managed to outrebound the Bulls. Don’t expect the same performance from Cornell but expect enough to get the Red above .500 for the first time this year.

Miller continues to produce and Cornell gets enough in the paint to complement a 30 point combined performance from Ferry and Wroblewski. The Red are able to control the pace by playing a 12-man rotation and the Bulls’ legs are tired by crunch time. It’s close but Cornell squeaks by in upstate New York 74-69.

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