Yale put forth a valiant effort with high-usage star forward Justin Sears sidelined with a hand injury, but the Bulldogs were unable to create enough offense to keep up with the Murray State Racers, falling 65-57 on the road in the CIT championship.
The way this postseason has gone, the Yale Bulldogs probably wish they could play into the month of May. After winning the program’s first ever game in April on Tuesday, the Elis will play for a postseason trophy on Thursday at Murray State in the championship of the CIT.
Javier Duren was masterful again, taking the reins for the Bulldogs in the game’s nervous final minutes. With Justin Sears back in the locker room nursing a right hand injury suffered during a violent mid-air collision, the depth of the Bulldogs paid off again, as the poised squad held on despite the full-court pressure of the Keydets and the noise of their supporters.
“You don’t want to lose to a team that doesn’t play well, that isn’t well coached, that doesn’t play with class…..Penn plays hard, is well coached, and they play with class.” -Princeton’s Basketball Coach, 2014.
Unfortunately, the above quote was referring to Penn’s 2014 Ivy Champion women’s basketball team. In the span of four short years, Mike McLaughlin has remarkably turned the women’s basketball program from worst (2-26) to first– in almost the same time frame that Jerome Allen has managed to coach the men’s team into the Ivy cellar.
In my opinion, none of the attributes quoted above can be used to describe the Quaker men. Even watching the NCAA Tournament, it looks like other teams are playing 21st Century hoops while Penn is now mired somewhere in the Mesozoic Era. The turnovers, the fouls, the loss of poise, and the lack of hustle and awareness have made them impossible to watch. Just as disturbing is the complete lack of growth, discipline, and maturity, particularly among the second and third year players. Here is a brief laundry list of recent events.
There was a great game played on the campus of Columbia on Wednesday night. Two great teams playing their best basketball in late March faced off in front of a raucous crowd of passionate fans. It was a banner night for the League and it meant little to anyone in Levien Gymnasium that the tournament was one of little prestige.
Columbia and Yale played their hearts out with the Bulldogs ultimately emerging victorious thanks to one of the Ivy’s most impressive individual performances of the season. Javier Duren, after halftime, took his game to a new level, setting new career highs (vs. D-I opponents) in points (33) and rebounds (9). Duren was everywhere, slashing through the lane and getting to the rim against Columbia’s staunch defense, nabbing rebounds, and controlling the game for the Elis. This kind of transcendental performance was the only way Yale was going to pull this game out as the Lions, spurred on by an incredible showing from the Columbia faithful, would not go quietly into the Morningside night as they attempted to extend this historic season.
Columbia: The Lions’ historic season continues after a 14-0 second half run turned a 51-45 deficit into a 59-51 lead. Yielding only five points to Eastern Michigan in the game’s final nine minutes, Columbia finally figured out how to stop the Eagles’ main weapon, Raven Lee (26 pts). Lee went 1-8 down the stretch as the Lions took the lead for good.
Alex Rosenberg finished with 15 points and 7 assists, while Cory Osetkowski went for 10 timely points and 7 rebounds. In the backcourt, Maodo Lo scored 15 points, while Steve Frankoski added 11 off the bench, nailing three treys.
The Lions move on to face a familiar foe, the Yale Bulldogs, in the CIT Quarterfinals on Wednesday night at Levien.
Down 16 in the second half against Tom Izzo’s mighty Spartans, Harvard stormed back, capturing the lead and the nation’s attention on Saturday night before ultimately falling short in a 80-73 Round of 32 defeat.
Behind the usual balanced attack, Harvard outplayed Cincinnati for 40 minutes, making clutch shots down the stretch and limiting Sean Kilpatrick’s impact in a 61-57 Round of 64 victory in Spokane.
The Crimson will face Michigan State on Saturday for the right to advance to the Sweet 16.