Penn claims share of first Big 5 title since 2002, is back on track

For the uninitiated, I can tell you the Big 5 is a Big Deal. The Philly City Series is as important and frequently more difficult to capture than the Ivy Crown. The teams are generally better, the crowds are bigger and the games are significantly fewer. Villanova has owned the Big 5 for more than a decade, and rightfully so. To play the national champions every year is no easy feat for anyone. Since Penn’s last title in 2002, St. Joseph’s has been ranked number one in the nation, and the John Chaney-Fran Dunphy Temple Owls as well as La Salle are almost always solid squads from deep conferences.

So when Penn, coming off a four-game losing streak, faced Temple (14-3 and coming off a four-game winning streak) Saturday, a lot was on the line. In my opinion, it was a masterful performance by the Quakers. I would argue that it was even better than the Villanova win. Of course, Penn was still without last year’s leading scorer, Ryan Betley. Max Rothschild played only a few token minutes, Michael Wang does not appear to have fully regained his soft shooting stroke and the Quakers were playing away from home, before a full house, on national television. Still, Steve Donahue’s squad maintained complete control of the game. Their four-game hiatus from victory looked like a thing of the past. (I consider the losses to Princeton just a low point in a season where low points inevitability happen.)

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Ivy women’s hoops weekend review – Jan. 19-20, 2019

Brown (9-8, 1-0 Ivy) 86 vs Yale (10-6, 0-1 Ivy) 71

The Bears starters used a fast paced offense and defense to pave the way for a 86-71 victory in front of a boisterous Education Day crowd at the Pizzitola Sports Center.  Shayna Mehta led the way for Brown, scoring a career high 37 points on 10 for 19 shooting from the field and 14 of 15 from the free throw line.  In all, Brown had four players in double figures with Justine Gaziano adding 19, Taylor Will scoring 13 and Erika Steeves putting in 11.  Bruno shot 52 percent from the field, including 8 three pointers at 44 percent, and hit 76 percent (16-21) from the charity stripe.  On defense, Yale was held to 29 percent shooting from three and 50 percent (8-16) from the line, while Roxy Barahman, who entered the day as the league’s leading scorer at 20.1 points per game, was limited to eight points on 23 percent shooting.  The Bears full court pressure stymied the Bulldogs to the tune of 18 steals and 20 forced turnovers that led to 29 points.

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Ivy hoops weekend takeaways – Jan. 18-19, 2019

Women’s

Brown’s offense is too potent to miss Ivy League Tournament again 

If Brown misses the Ivy League Tournament for a second straight season with as much offensive firepower as it has, it’ll really be a shame.

Brown senior guard Shayna Mehta’s career-high 37 points led the way, and the Bears’ elder Mehta has been one of the league’s standout scorers for a long time now, going back to her Ivy Rookie of the Year campaign in 2015-16.

But Mehta wasn’t alone in gouging a strong Yale defense in the Bears’ 86-71 win over the Bulldogs Friday. Seniors Erika Steeves and Taylor Will, who missed Ivy play last season due to injury, and junior Justine Gaziano combined for 43 points on 18-for-34 shooting. The Bears overwhelmed Yale inside and out, topping Yale by double digits at Pizzitola Sports Center while scoring 80-plus points for the second straight season.

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Matt Morgan becomes Cornell all-time leading scorer

Cornell’s first half en route to a thrilling 60-59 victory over Columbia offered more than just a 14-0 start; it featured Matt Morgan surpassing Ryan Wittman as Cornell’s all-time leading scorer and move into fourth place all-time in Ivy men’s scoring history.

Morgan has shown over the last four years that he is one of the premier scorers in mid-major basketball along with Fletcher Magee (Wofford) and Mike Daum (South Dakota State). Morgan is now one of just over 570 players who have scored more than 2,000 points all time. His streak of 68 games with double-figure points is now 23rd all-time. His three free throws on the night also put him 14th in conference history in made free-throws. His three steals put him 13th in program history and sits 15th in Cornell history in steals. He now sits just 114 points away from second all-time in conference scoring, a slot long held by Jim Barton of Dartmouth.

His fourth straight scoring title seems like a sure thing, as he is averaging at least 3.9 points more per game than any other Ivy player, with second place belonging to Princeton’s Devin Cannady, who has been suspended.

Morgan also hit a career-high nine threes in Cornell’s previous game (a win at Towson), tied for first in program history for a single game. Becoming Cornell’s all-time leading scorer may now be his greatest accomplishment, but that may change once he becomes second in conference history. Unless he averaged 35.3 points per game the rest of Ivy play, Morgan won’t break Bill Bradley’s record of 2,503 points, unless Cornell finds itself in the postseason.

Cornell hangs on to top Columbia, 60-59

The Cornell Big Red entertained the Columbia Lions in the Ivy opener for both schools in frigid and snowy Ithaca. The tip-off was moved up to 1:30 p.m. in anticipation of the first big winter storm of the season.

Matt Morgan, the Ivy’s leading scorer, was honored in a pregame ceremony upon entering the league’s 2,000-point club in his last outing. Entering the game needing six points to surpass the legendary Ryan Wittman as Cornell’s career leader, Morgan needed only five minutes to set the new mark. His 21 points for the game vaulted him into fourth place on the Ivy career scoring list. He is on a pace to move up to the No. 2 spot, trailing only Bill Bradley.

Morgan’s early flourish jump started Cornell to a 14-0 lead. At the break, the Big Red held a commanding 39-25 lead, thanks to nine three-pointers against only two for the Lions. Morgan’s 19 first-half tallies more than tripled the output of any Lion.

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Ivy women’s weekend preview: Jan. 18-19, 2019

Yale (10-5, 0-0 Ivy) at Brown (8-8, 0-0) – Friday 1/18/19 11:00 am
1/12/18 Yale home win, 77-63
1/19/18 Brown home win, 81-71

Yale
RPI #109; Strength of Schedule #256
Current Steak 5 wins; Last Five 5-0

Roxy Barahman (junior, guard) – 20.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 3.5 apg, 2.2 stealspg, 36.2 minutespg
Camilla Emsbo (first-year, forward) – 11.0 ppg, 50.4% FG, 8.9 rpg, 1.8 blockspg
Megan Gorman (junior, forward) – 7.3 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 32.4 minutes pg

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Inside Ivy Hoops – Jan. 15, 2019

In the latest episode of Inside Ivy Hoops, Ivy Hoops Online editor Mike Tony is joined by all-time Cornell basketball great Jeff Foote and IHO writer Rob Browne.

Mike and Rob preview last weekend’s intriguing Princeton-Penn and Harvard-Dartmouth men’s games while looking ahead to this weekend’s men’s and women’s action:

 

Jeff Foote reflects on his time at Cornell, his keeping tabs on Cornell, Penn and Miami men’s basketball (which has played six games against Ivies the past four seasons), his professional basketball career, his team’s legacy in the conference’s upward trajectory, the Ivy League Tournament and much more:

 

Mike weighs in on why Cornell’s reign atop the Ivy League from the 2007-08 through 2009-10 seasons still feels special:

Dartmouth engineers commanding win over Harvard

Last year, there was the Legend of Flannel Night! This year, we can add the new Legend of Wings Night!!

The Harvard men arrived for their league-opening match with Dartmouth as a five-point favorite, according to KenPom. They also had former first team All-Ivy guard Bryce Aiken in uniform for the first time this season. Neither of those things mattered, in the end (and Aiken didn’t play anyway), as the Big Green used a sizzling 68 percent shooting performance to beat the Crimson, 81-63, for their first Ivy opening victory in 12 years.

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Penn men left looking for answers after being swept by Princeton

On an afternoon when the University of Pennsylvania honored the 1978-1979 Final Four team, the present-day Quakers played more like the 2014-15 squad in a 62-53 defeat to their arch rivals from Princeton. In another game of sloppy offense and tenacious defense from both sides, the Tigers (9-5, 2-0 Ivy) prevailed on the strength of their rebounding and free throw shooting.

An AJ Brodeur jump shot in the paint capped a 12-1 Penn (10-6, 0-2) run, giving the Red & Blue a 20-10 lead with 6:55 left in the first half. The lid then seemed to close for the rest of the half for the Quakers as the Tigers bounced back with two 6-0 runs to finish the half tied at 27.

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