LORETTO, PA – Playing in its final non-conference game of the 2012-13 season, the Saint Francis U men’s basketball team dropped a 79-67 home contest to Cornell Friday night at DeGol Arena.
Earl Brown picked up the team’s first double-double of the season with 11 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Along with Earl Brown, four other members of the Red Flash collected double-digit scoring efforts including Umar Shannon, Stephon Whyatt, Greg Brown and Ollie Jackson. Earl Brown and Jackson also added three blocks apiece, career-best marks.
The Big Red (5-8, 0-0 Ivy) knocked in the first basket of the contest and was able to hold onto a lead throughout the first half. The Big Red led by as many as 15 in the period but the Red Flash (0-11 0-0 NEC) cut the advantage to seven at the break thanks to some accurate shooting.
Whyatt, Greg Brown and Jackson tripled teamed a 3-point attack for SFU that sank three consecutive shots from beyond the arc with five minutes remaining in the first half. Defensive stops picked up as well for the Flash as the team finished the half with six blocks and seven in all for the game. Previously the team-high in blocks was three.
As the second period got underway Saint Francis managed a 6-0 run by way of 3-pointers from Whyatt and Jackson that put the Cornell advantage to three points. For the game the Red Flash hit a season-best 10 3-pointers. Turnovers proved to be the downfall for SFU, finishing with 18 and allowing the Big Red to convert those turnovers into 16 points.
“We made a run and made some plays, especially late first half and into the second half, but we’ve got to do a better job starting games,” head coach Rob Krimmel said. “We need to put ourselves in a position to win games without having to make a miraculous comeback.”
“When you’re down like that, you expend a lot of energy coming back,” Krimmel said.
Cornell got a big night from its bench players who contributed 32 points towards the winning total. Johnathan Gray and Errick Peck of Cornell each dropped a game-high 21 points.
SFU shot 41.2% from the floor (21-51) but were edged slightly in rebounds 34-31.
“You want to win – you don’t play to lose,” Shannon said. “We’ll get it, we’ll definitely get it. It’s a rocky start [but] we’re a confident group.”
Saint Francis kicks off Northeast Conference action at home on Thursday at 7 p.m. when Central Connecticut visits Loretto.