Buffalo, NY (WBNG Binghamton)
After trailing by double figures in the second half, Cornell rallied to tie Buffalo on the road, but the Bulls were able to pull away late and capture a 68-59 victory over the Big Red on Wednesday evening at Newman Arena. The Big Red slipped to 1-2 on the year, while the Bulls remained unbeaten at 2-0.
Junior big man Eitan Chemerinski posted a career scoring high for the second straight contest with 14 points as the lone double figure scorer for Cornell. Drew Ferry hit three 3-pointers to give him nine points, while Shonn Miller added eight and Josh Figini and Chris Wroblewski each had seven points. Wroblewski added six rebounds and four assists. Cornell shot just 38 percent from the field overall and was just 7-of-27 from beyond the arc for 26 percent. The Big Red had 14 steals as a team, a total that ranks 14th in a game in Big Red history.
Javon McCrea had 19 points and 10 rebounds and Mitchell Watt scored 19 points and added nine rebounds to lead the Bulls. Zach Filzen added 11 points to round out the three double figure scorers. Jarod Oldham registered eight points, nine assists and seven rebounds in the victory. The Bulls were able to use their superior size to collect a commanding 41-30 edge on the backboards. It helped them overcome 20 turnovers. Buffalo made just 4-of-16 shots from 3-point range, but made 19-of-34 shots from inside the arc (56 percent).
After trailing by as many as 12 in the first half, Cornell entered halftime trailing by just five (29-24) after 20 minutes despite shooting 30 percent overall and 29 percent from 3-point range and turning the ball over 11 times. The Big Red was able to scramble, forcing 13 Bulls turnovers with a season-high 10 steals in the first half alone.
The game was delayed due to a malfunction with the lights in pregame, but Buffalo wasn't fazed. The Bulls picked apart Cornell's defense early, getting three layups and an alley-oop dunk and generally looking like the veteran squad on the floor in moving out to a 12-5 advantage after five minutes. The lead grew to as many as 12 (21-9) before Cornell started chipping away. Johnathan Gray nailed a 3-pointer after the Big Red missed two open treys on the previous two possessions. Wroblewski answered with another to make it 21-15. The Big Red kept cutting into the lead, using a couple of transition baskets and a pullback 3-pointer by Ferry to get within two at 24-22 with two minutes to play in the half. The Bulls first basket in over six minutes led to a conventional three-point play, his first basket after scoring eight of Buffalo's first 10 points of the game. His free throw made it 27-22. Chemerinski answered with a finish off a feed from Asafo-Adjei to get back within three, but Watt closed out his strong half by hitting a running jumper as time expired to send the home team into the break with a 29-24 lead.
Buffalo opened the second half with a 7-0 run to almost immediately get the lead back to 12 (36-24). Just when it looked as though Cornell the Big Red might be finished, the Big Red started the comeback. A 3-pointer by Wroblewski kick started a 17-5 run that was punctuated by a Figini jumper from the corner to tie it at 41-41 and force a UB timeout with 11:07 left. The junior big man had seven points during the run and forced a jump ball that led to a Miller layup on the other end.
The teams remained tied over the next several minutes, with the Big Red never able to take the lead. Cornell forced another tie at 44-44 on a bullet pass from Miller to Chemerinski for a layup, but Jarod Oldham answered on the other end with a driving layup to regain the lead for the home team. Another great look from Wroblewski to Chemerinski for another layup made it 46-46.
From there, Buffalo took over again. McCrea hit a pair of free throws, Oldham hit the second of two charity attempts and then McCrea popped in a jumper from the top of the key to extend Buffalo's advantage to five points. Cornell got within three on a pair of free throw attempts by Dwight Tarwater, but that was as close as it would get. The Bulls pushed the lead to as many as 11 in the final minute, but two late Chemerinski buckets provided the final margin.
The Big Red return home to face Boston University on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 2 p.m. at Newman Arena at Bartels Hall. Cornell dropped a 66-61 decision to the Terriers in Boston a season ago.