Best Upset: Princeton. The Tigers made sure that there would be no undefeated champion of the Ivy League this year, defending Jadwin from the Crimson for the 23rd consecutive year, 70-62. This may have been the most unlikely of those 23 home victories, as the jubilant Princeton crowd rushed the court at the buzzer. It was a back-and-forth affair the whole way as Harvard led by five at the half before Princeton finally pulled away in the final four minutes. The Tigers had five players in double figures, led by Ian Hummer”s 20 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists. Point guard TJ Bray had 12 points, while big man Brendan Connolly pitched in with 11 points and 6 rebounds. Denton Koon didn”t miss a shot, adding 10 points in 18 minutes (4-4 FG, 2-2 FT), and Mack Darrow rounded out the double-digit scoring with 10 to go with 5 boards. Princeton only missed one field goal and had one turnover in the game”s final five minutes. For Harvard, Keith Wright provided much of the offense, scoring 16 on 7-11 shooting, while Brandyn Curry had 15. Harvard yielded 70 points to an opponent for only the second time this season (Seattle scored 70 in a 80-70 Crimson victory back in early December).
Best Comeback: Yale. This was a comeback for the ages. Down 51-30 with only 11:30 remaining, Yale clawed all the way back, holding Columbia to just seven points the rest of the way, including zero in the game”s final 4:20. At 53-33, it started with a 7-0 run thanks to a Morgan jumper from Willhite, a Morgan three from Willhite, and a Kreisberg mid-range knockdown. After a Barbour layup, it was still 55-40 with six to play. Then, a 10-0 run, this one in the span of 72 seconds that changed the game. A Mangano lay-in, a Morgan layup (and one), another Mangano finish at the rim, and then a Mangano three. Yale was within five at 55-50 thanks to three straight Columbia turnovers and the Bulldogs had all the momentum. After a Meiko Lyles three made it 58-50, Reggie Willhite stole the show. Kreisberg to Willhite for a layup, Morgan with a steal then the kick to Willhite with the jumper. 58-54.
After a long possession from Columbia and two missed free throws from Yale”s Brandon Sherrod, it was Willhite grabbing a defensive rebound with just 46 seconds left. And of course, it was Willhite finding an open Jesse Pritchard for three to pull within one point with 37 ticks to go. After Rosenberg turned the ball over for Columbia, who but Reggie Willhite scored the game-winning layup with only 13 seconds left to complete the magical comeback for Yale. The Bulldogs soon got more
good news when they found out that Princeton had put destiny back in their own hands. Willhite finished with 24 points, 7 steals (!), 5 assists, and 3 rebounds. Mangano was held to 11 and 6. For Columbia, Lyles led the way with 17 points on another good shooting night (6-11, 5-8 from three). Barbour contributed 10 points and 7 assists, and Cisco had 12 points and 12 rebounds. The Lions finished with 21 costly turnovers. Columbia heads south to the P”s next weekend, while Yale gets their shot up north at Harvard.
Best Finish: Zack Rosen nailed a fading, deep three-pointer with only three seconds on the clock, as Penn escaped the Big Green 58-55 at the Palestra. Jvonte Brooks put up another big game with 18 points (3-6, 12-14 FT) and 10 rebounds, but Dartmouth”s 19 turnovers were too much to overcome. Dartmouth played a smart, slow game, working it inside and making a living at the line with 23 attempts (19-23) compared to just 5 (2-5) for the Quakers. The Big Green played to their strengths and dominated the glass 28-17, but Penn was able to get those possessions back thanks to 12 steals that helped them win the turnover battle ( 11). Tyler Bernardini got back on track with 15 points on 6-14 shooting, while Rosen was held to 12 on 5-13. Penn actually led this game 45-30 with 14 minutes to go, but a 18-3 run from Dartmouth tied it up with 7 minutes left. Penn pushed it back out to 55-50 before a Tyler Melville three and two clutch Jvonte Brooks free throws tied it up, setting the stage for Rosen”s heroics. Both teams are home next weekend.
Best “Comfortable” Victory: It was a relative term last night, but Cornell was the only team that didn”t have to sweat it out to the final minute last night, winning 72-63 over Brown. Johnathan Gray has emerged as a real weapon for Cornell, leading the way with 16 points on 6-10 shooting, one night after scoring 29 points to push Cornell past Yale in overtime. The Big Red led by just 2 at the half, but rode a 15-1 run out of the break to a solid win in Ithaca. Wroblewski also put forth another impressive performance with 15 points, 8 assists, and 5 rebounds for the surging Red. Brown”s roster has been depleted by injuries this year, and the Bears took another step back this weekend with Sean McGonagill out for the New York road trip due to a concussion. Matt Sullivan shot the ball well for the Bears, dropping in 21 points on 7-13. He actually pulled the Bears within six at 68-62, but Shonn Miller responded with a jumper of his own, and Cornell held Brown at an arm”s length the rest of the way. Cornell”s weekend sweep leaves the Big Red just two games out of first place with a huge Friday night game at Penn next up.
For Friday”s Best, click here.