Cornell's rally comes up short against St. Bonaventure
ITHACA, N.Y. - Senior Errick Peck scored 17 points and added seven rebounds off the bench to lead four double figure scorers, but St. Bonaventure held off a late Big Red rally to collect a 72-68 win on Wednesday evening at Newman Arena. Cornell slipped to 1-1, while the Bonnies improved to 2-0 in a game televised nationally on NBC Sports Network.
In a game that featured 54 fouls (30 on Cornell) and 70 free throws (42 for St. Bonaventure), the Big Red fell just short of what would have been a rally for the ages.
After trailing by eight points with 90 seconds left, Cornell's defense helped it pull within one. Cornell missed a game-tying free throw attempt with under 20 second to play, then a game-tying three-point attempt in the final 10 seconds. Senior Josh Figini got a clean look from the top of the key, but it went long and the Bonnies were able to hit a game-sealing free throw with 0.6 seconds left to pick up the win.
The Big Red limited St. Bonaventure to 42 percent shooting overall and a miserable 2-of-14 from 3-point range, but it was able to do just enough to squeak by after taking 42 free throws on the road. It made 26, shooting just 62 percent, but that edge was just enough to improve to 2-0 on the young season.
Peck fouled out after playing just 23 minutes. He made 6-of-8 field goals, including both 3-point attempts. Peck was joined in double figures by Devin Cherry (14), Galal Cancer (11) and Johnathan Gray (11). Cancer added four assists and three rebounds, while Gray grabbed five boards. Shonn Miller posted six points and a game-high eight rebounds.
For St. Bonaventure, Chris Johnson scored a game-high 19 points, while Demitrius Conger and Marquise Simmons each had 14 points and six rebounds.
The Bonnies went into halftime leading 35-24 after dominating Cornell in points in the paint (24-6) and second chance points (12-0) as the visitors asserted their toughness. The Big Red flipped the script in the second half, using its much deeper squad to pressure the basketball and create turnovers for easy transition opportunities. It showed in the closing minutes.
Down 68-60 after a pair of Conger free throws, Cornell went to work. Cherry hit a jumper, and after Charlon Kloof made the second of two free throws, Cancer grabbed a Cherry miss, put it back up and was fouled. His free throw made it 69-65 with 33 seconds left.
St. Bonaventure inbounded the ball to Conger, who was fouled. The senior missed both free throws, giving Cornell new life. Cancer got into the lane with a spin move and found an open Miller for a layup to make it 69-67 with 23 ticks left. After a timeout, the Big Red wouldn't allow the inbounds pass and earned a five-second violation. Cornell, meanwhile, was able to get the ball in Cherry's hands on the inbounds and the sophomore made something happen. His penetration drew a foul, and the second-year guard missed the first before hitting the second to get within 69-68 with 17 seconds left.
Kloof was fouled again, this time connecting on both charity shots, and Figini got set up for the long distance trey. His shot bounced off the backboard and was grabbed by Gray at the 3-point line. He was stripped and the loose ball was picked up by Kloof, who put the game away with a free throw.
It was nip-and-tuck for much of the second half before the Bonnies pulled away during a three minute stretch of the second half, much like the way it had in the first. The Bonnies took their biggest lead of the game at 38-24 when Matthew Wright hit a three-pointer for the first basket of the second half. Five minutes later, Cornell was back within two. Twice, down two points, the Big Red forced a St. Bonaventure miss, but the Bonnies picked up the offensive rebound and finished with a basket and a foul.
Cornell returns to action on Friday, Nov. 16 when it meets Saint Peter's at 8 p.m. at Newman Arena.