Our George “Toothless Tiger” Clark caught up with Princeton coach Mitch Henderson at Cameron Indoor Stadium just hours before Princeton’s tilt with Duke Tuesday. Listen to hear Henderson explain why he scheduled the game at Duke, break down Drew Friberg’s crucial second-half production in the Tigers’ comeback win over Iona, explain how Jaelin Llewellyn is unlike any freshman he’s ever seen and why Jose Morales is a “junkyard dog,” detail Richmond Aririguzoh’s development, the qualities his senior class has displayed, why Penn appears to have “that look” to him and much more:
Matt Morgan scored 17 points, with all five of his makes from three, and Terrance McBride’s 5-of-6 free-throw shooting down the stretch was enough to fight off a late rally from the Longwood Lancers and preserve a 70-64 win. Cornell evened their record out again at .500, improving to 5-5 while Longwood fell to 8-5.
Cornell shot a very impressive 16-of-32 from three, the third-most three pointers made in a game in school history. However, the Big Red hit just six two-pointers in the game, shooting a dismal 6-of-24.
In their first game back after their extended break, the Cornell Big Red took an eight-point lead at Niagara with seven minutes left, led by big man Josh Warren. But the Purple Eagles stormed back and stole the game from the Big Red with a second to go, winning 77-74.
Niagara guard Keleaf Tate hit a wide open fading three-pointer with 1.1 seconds remaining when big man Dominic Robb saved the ball from going out of bounds, after Steven Julian swatted the original go-ahead three for one of his five blocks on the day. Niagara improved to 5-4 after previously coming off of wins against Pitt and New Hampshire, and Cornell fell to 4-5 with another game waiting for them in less than 24 hours.
On Saturday afternoon, the Dartmouth men rallied from a 16-point first-half deficit to defeat Albany on the road, 61-52. With the win, the team’s fourth in a row and its second victory over the Great Danes this season, the Big Green are 8-5. Not only are their eight wins the second most in the Ivy League this year, but they are the most wins in a single season of the Dave McLaughlin era.
Just over a year ago, the program was reeling with a surprise announcement that two time All-Ivy forward Evan Boudreaux would prematurely end his playing career at Dartmouth, as well as a season-ending injury to starting guard and second leading scorer Guilien Smith. Now, less than six weeks into the 2018-2019 campaign, the Green have risen from the ashes and look to be a force in the upcoming Ivy season.
The Tigers squared off against the Iona Gaels at 11:30 a.m. this morning in a nearly empty arena on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J. Fellow Ivy League member Columbia defeated Iona in a very close contest at Madison Square Garden last weekend. After a tough 85-81 victory the Tigers proved by transitive property, at the very least, that they can play with Columbia.,
If a nonconference contest is ever a “must win” game this was clearly the case for both teams. Iona (2-7) came in on a four-game losing streak, strange territory for the three-time defending Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) champions. The Tigers, at 4-4 but facing Duke and Arizona State later this month, needed to win a game in which they figured to have a chance.
12/2 vs Davidson 65-57
12/8 vs Quinnipiac 54-42
12/11 vs Monmouth 79-47
Before the return of Bella Alarie on Friday night, Princeton went 2-7 with home victories bookending a seven game losing streak. While the youthful Tigers have gained valuable game experience during this time, culminating in a come from behind win over Davidson, the return of the reigning Ivy Player of the Year immediately showed why they were picked to repeat as league champs. In Alarie’s first game back, she had 16 points, a career high 19 rebounds and 5 blocks. Not only did the Tigers win by 12 over a Quinnipiac squad that made it to the second round of last year’s NCAA Tournament, but Alarie was named Ivy League co-Player of the Week. In her follow-up performance at Monmouth, she put up 16 points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocks.
During Alarie’s absence, Carlie Littlefield and Gabrielle Rush stepped up for the Orange & Black. Littlefield averaged 15.3 points (4th Ivy), 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists (11th), 1.8 made threes (9th) and 1.7 steals (4th) in 33.9 minutes per game. Rush, meanwhile, added 13.6 points (8th), 6.7 boards (9th), 2.8 made threes (2nd) and 1.7 steals (6th) per contest.
Over the first part of the season, the team has been uncharacteristically weak in two point shooting (40.9 percent), three point defense (35.9 percent) and offensive rebounding rate (27.5 percent). With their premier post player back and other important rotation players expected back from the DL soon, the Tigers should expect those numbers to improve significantly.
According to an Associated Press report on Columbia’s 82-73 loss at Boston College Wednesday night, Lions coach Jim Engles announced that star point guard Mike Smith has a torn meniscus and will miss the remainder of the 2018-2019 season. Smith’s injury occurred in the first half of last Friday’s game against Bryant. The junior point guard ends his season as one of the Ivy League’s top performers with 15.8 points, 5.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game.
Question: How many Ivy League hoops squads could lose their leading scorer from the preceding year in the first five minutes of a nascent season and still go on to beat KenPom No. 44 Miami as well as the AP No. 17 defending national champions, all the while compiling an overall 9-2 record?
Answer: None — except Penn.
The fact that the Quakers have been so successful so far this season appears to be less a factor of overall talent (which is substantial nonetheless), and more of a function of overall depth and system.
Nowhere were these latter two qualities on full display than on Tuesday night before a packed house when the Quakers knocked off Villanova, thus ending the Wildcats’ 25 game Big 5 winning streak as well as their painful 16-year reign over Penn.
Before the season started, I wrote for IHO, “Clearly, the marquee game will be against the Wildcats. I can tell you from experience, anything can happen in a Big 5 game. I just hope it happens this year.”
And it did.
Penn did it.
The Red & Blue were simply better than the defending national champion Villanova Wildcats throughout their matchup at the Palestra Tuesday night, notching a 78-75 victory that underscored how each Big 5 squad is trending in opposite directions.
The continuation of Penn’s remarkable improvement made history at No. 17 Villanova’s expense, repeatedly getting easy buckets via cuts to the basket and making just enough free throws down the stretch to snap Villanova’s 15-game winning streak over Penn (dating back to Dec. 10, 2002) and 25-game Big 5 win streak (dating back to Dec. 5, 2013).