Cornell (0-11) at Saint Peter's (3-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 28, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Yanitelli Center (3,200) -- Jersey City, New Jersey. Television: None. Home Record: Cornell 0-5, SPU 1-1. Away Record: Cornell 0-6, SPU 2-6. Neutral Record: Cornell 0-0, SPU 0-0. Conference Record: Cornell 0-0, SPU 0-2. Series Record: Saint Peter's leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Cornell Big Red will continue their search for their first win of the campaign as they visit the Yanitelli Center for a non-conference tilt against the Saint Peter's Peacocks.
Cornell dropped to 0-11 last Sunday when it was defeated, 76-54, by Stony Brook, which was its sixth true road game. Coach Bill Courtney's team has struggled on both ends during its winless stretch to start the season and ranks last among Ivy League schools in both scoring offense (66.7 points per game) and scoring defense (84.8 ppg). All but two of the Big Red's losses have come by 10 points or more, including their last five.
Saint Peter's looked like a completely different team in mid-December when it survived its visit to the Prudential Center with an 83-80 overtime win over Seton Hall, but it quickly returned to its more usual unimpressive caliber of play last Sunday to suffer a 66-56 setback at Hartford. The Peacocks are now 3-7 overall and 0-2 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action with defeats at Canisius and Niagara. They have done a decent job on the defensive end as their allowed average of 70.1 ppg is second-best among MAAC schools, but they are posting only 66.1 ppg offensively.
Saint Peter's won the only previous meeting between the teams as it exited Newman Arena in Ithaca with a 68-64 decision. Cornell is 62-51 all-time against members of the MAAC.
Although the Big Red have struggled as a unit, sophomore guard Noah Cressler has managed to climb into third place in the Ivy League scoring title race by netting 16.3 points per game to go along with 4.2 rpg. Cressler's efficiency needs to improve as he is converting just under 40 percent of his field goal attempts and only 27.3 percent of his tries from behind the 3-point line. Robert Hatter is adding 12.1 points and 2.8 assists per tilt while Devin Cherry and Dwight Tarwater are both solid contributors as well. However, Cornell has not had a consistent fifth man to round out its rotation. Outside of their four leading scorers, all of the Big Red's players are clocking less than 18 minutes per game.
Saint Peter's is well below the .500 mark through its first 10 games despite the excellent play of junior forward Marvin Dominique, who registered his third double-double in his last four games with 11 points and 14 rebounds versus Hartford. The 6-foot-7 Fordham transfer is nearly averaging a double- double with 18.1 points and 9.9 boards per game. Although junior guard Desi Washington is chipping in 13.3 ppg, he is making just under 40 percent of his shots from the floor. No other Peacock is close to a double-digit scoring average. Saint Peter's is doing an excellent job on the glass as its rebounding defense (32.7 rpg) is tops in its conference.
The Big Red will be looking to end an eight-game road skid, a program record 17-game losing streak and avoid their first 0-12 start to a season in school history. Although SPU recently took down Seton Hall, it showed against Hartford that it very well could have been a fluke. The Peacocks will need their top two players to both perform well if they hope to deny Cornell its first triumph.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cornell 68, Saint Peter's 64
12/28 10:42:55 ET