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@GTMBK Non-Conference Preview -- Cornell

Aug. 26, 2015

Last meeting: Jack Leads Jackets to Win at Cornell  | Buy 2015-16 season tickets

THE FLATS – Each week up until the beginning of basketball season, takes a look at an opponent on Georgia Tech’s non-conference schedule. This week, we look at Cornell, an opponent the Jackets last faced in 2003.

Date: November 13, 2015
Location: Ithaca, N.Y.
Conference: Ivy League
Home arena: Newman Arena (4,473)
2014-15 Record: 13-17 overall, 5-9 in the Ivy League (sixth place), 227th in NCAA RPI
Post-Season: None
NCAA Championship Appearances: 5 (last in 2010)
All-time series record: Georgia Tech leads 3-0 (First meeting 1/2/2002)
Head coach: Bill Courtney (entering sixth season, 50-95)
Starters returning/lost: 2/3
Top scorer returning: Robert Hatter, G, Jr. (11.3)
Top rebounder returning: David Onuorah, F, Jr. (3.5)

Quick preview for 2015-16

In Bill Courtney’s five years at Cornell, the Big Red have struggled. Last season, however, Courtney coached his team to 13 victories, which ties his career high from the 2012-13 season. To turn the tide in 2015-16, Cornell will look to returning starters Robert Hatter and David Onuorah. Hatter, a 6-2 junior guard, started 27 games last year and will look to build off of his consistent scoring as a freshman and sophomore (10.3 ppg). The 6-9 Onuorah, who is from Atlanta and graduated from the Marist School, will need to have a big presence on the boards for Cornell. The Big Red are inexperienced, with all other returners playing in a combined four games last season. Courtney will have his hands full this season with eight true freshmen on the 2015-16 Big Red basketball roster.

Recap of 2014-15

Last year Cornell was never more than one game over .500 during the season. On Feb. 13, the Big Red stood 12-11 overall after an overtime road victory over Dartmouth 81-72. However, Cornell would win just one of its last seven games of the season to finish 6th in the Ivy League out of eight teams. The biggest weaknesses for Cornell were its scoring offense and shooting. The Big Red ranked last in the Ivy League in made field goals (615) and field goal percentage (39.5). Cornell was second to last in scoring at 62.3 points per game, and last in three point field goal percentage (31.3). Of the bright spots in 2014-15, Cornell led the conference in free throw percentage (74.9), blocks per game (4.77), and was in the top three in steals per game (6.23). Priorities for the Big Red in 2015-16 will be better offensive production and consistency.

Greatest program accomplishment

2010 Sweet Sixteen Appearance, three straight NCAA Tournament Appearances and Ivy League Titles (2008-2010) – Cornell basketball began in December of 1898, joined the Ivy League in 1932, and has appeared in the NCAA Tournament five times. Prior to 2008, Cornell had only made it to the NCAA Tournament twice (1954, 1988). The Big Red made history with three consecutive appearances to the Big Dance from 2008-2010. In 2008 and 2009, Cornell didn’t make it out of the first round. However, in 2010 the Big Red made it all the way to the Sweet Sixteen as a No. 12 seed. Cornell became the first Ivy League team to taste the Sweet Sixteen since Penn’s 1979 Final Four run. The team defeated Temple and Wisconsin before falling to number one seeded Kentucky in the Sweet Sixteen. The Big Red have also won the Ivy League four times, including three straight from 2008-2010.

Greatest player in program history

Ryan Wittman (2006-2010) — Ryan Wittman, who was born in Atlanta, Ga., is widely considered the best basketball player in the history of the Cornell program. Wittman is the school’s all-time leader in points scored (2,028), field goals made (696), three pointers (377), games played (121), games started (119), and minutes played (4,145). He averaged almost 17 points per game over the course of his four year career, and helped lead the Big Red to the NCAA tournament in his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons. In his first collegiate game, Wittman broke the Cornell school record for most points by a freshman (18), and helped the Big Red defeat Northwestern on the road. The victory was Cornell’s first win over a Big Ten school in 39 years. He then went on to become the Ivy League’s fifth 2,000 point scorer after his 24-point performance against Wisconsin to send Cornell to the Sweet Sixteen for the first and only time in school history. After college, Wittman played in a handful of games for the Magic and Knicks Summer League teams, and then played professionally in Italy for six months. His father, Randy Wittman, is currently the head coach of the Washington Wizards.

Place to visit on campus or in the city

Robert H. Treman State Park, Ithaca — Located in Tompkins County, N.Y., and situated in the town of Ithaca, the Robert H. Treman State Park is a site to behold and experience. The park has numerous waterfalls along a rigorous 4.5-mile hike. Similar to many of the state parks in the Finger Lakes region, the trails follow a small creek and allow hikers to get great views of water falls and rock formations in the deep, narrow gorge. Lucifer Falls, a large multi-tiered and cascading waterfall, is only a short hike from the top part of the state park. Robert H. Treman State Park is a must-see attraction, especially for avid hikers.

Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is beginning its fifth year under head coach Brian Gregory. The Yellow Jackets have been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBK).

For more information on Tech basketball, visit Tickets for men’s basketball can be purchased here.


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