A truly dramatic Friday night in the Ivy League ended with all the favorites pulling out victories.
Best Game: We were treated to a classic Ivy battle at Levien Gymnasium last night as Harvard prevailed 77-70 over Columbia in overtime. A packed gym that included Jeremy Lin and Spike Lee created a raucous atmosphere for a contest with massive title implications and the Crimson and Lions did not disappoint. Harvard jumped out to an early ten-point lead behind easy inside scores from Keith Wright and Kyle Casey. Late in the first half, Columbia settled down and started taking away the inside pass, creating turnovers that helped the Lions get back in the game. Freshmen Alex Rosenberg and Cory Osetkowski combined for 12 critical first-half points to bring the Lions within 34-30 at the half.
The second half was a back-and-forth affair as Harvard alternated between the block and the perimeter, showing their versatility. Columbia countered with Brian Barbour, who solidified his spot on the All-Ivy First Team with a jawdropping performance down the stretch against the League”s best backcourt defender in Brandyn Curry. Time after time, Barbour managed to penetrate, get to the bucket and finish from tough angles at the rim.
With four minutes to go, Harvard led 59-53. With Columbia on the ropes and needing a bucket, Harvard forced the Lions into a long possession. As the shot clock wound down, Cisco kicked the ball to the top of the key to Cory Osetkowski, the 6″10″ big man who had yet to hit a three all year. Osetkowski banked home the critical trey ball and Levien erupted. Columbia
added a Barbour jumper on its next trip down the floor before Brandyn Curry nailed a three to push the lead back to four with less than two minutes remaining. Columbia got it down to two and got the ball back after a Wright travel, and Barbour found a way to tie the game with another shifty drive. Harvard held for the final shot, but McNally”s three didn”t fall.
In overtime, the teams traded defensive stops for three minutes before Laurent Rivard and Kyle Casey hit two dagger threes that gave Harvard an advantage that they wouldn”t relinquish. The result was a clutch, hard-fought victory for Harvard, drawing them within one win of another Ivy title, and yet another heartbreaking loss for Columbia. Harvard now faces Cornell. A win gives the Crimson at least a share of the league championship, while a win coupled with a Penn loss to Yale would give Harvard the outright title and the NCAA bid. Columbia will host Dartmouth on Senior Night.
Best “A Win is a Win”: With Yale and Princeton still to play, Penn may have been caught overlooking the eternally-depleted Brown Bears–Andrew McCarthy and Steve Albrecht sat out with injuries–in a game that was much closer than the final result, a 54-43 Penn victory. Four Brown starters played all 40 minutes and Dockery Walker had another double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds as the Bears were tied with just over eight minutes to play, but predictably, the thin squad ran out of gas. Zack Rosen made sure there would be no upset on this night, scoring 19 points and leading the Quakers on a 18-7 run to end the game. Penn”s defense held Brown to just 43, a season low for a Quaker opponent. Penn takes on Yale tonight. A win coupled
with a Harvard loss will clinch at least a share of an Ivy title.
Best Home Court Advantage: Princeton hasn”t lost at home since November 22nd against Elon. The Tigers moved to 5-0 at home in the league by holding off Yale 64-57. Princeton was led by 18 points from Ian Hummer on
7-11 shooting. The Tigers started hot, taking a 15-point lead in the first half and a 37-28 lead into halftime. But Yale responded with a 12-3 run to open the half to tie it at 40 before Princeton responded with its own 9-0 run. Yale got within one on a Reggie Willhite layup with 2:21 to go, but the Tigers held off the Bulldogs by hitting their free throws down the stretch. TJ Bray had 10 points and 5 boards, Doug Davis had 9, and Mack Darrow had 8. Princeton held Yale to 4 bench points, while the Tiger subs had 16. For Yale, Greg Mangano had another gaudy line with 20 pts and 14 rbs, while Reggie Willhite had 10 pts and 14 rbs. Despite the big win for Princeton, Harvard”s overtime victory at Columbia eliminated both the Tigers and the Bulldogs from the title race.
Best Former Manager: Cornell beat Dartmouth 70-57 behind 20 points from Johnathan Gray in just 22 minutes of action. Fourteen players saw court time for the Big Red in a game that was never very close after halftime. Drew Ferry had 16 points, and Chris Wroblewski had 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists in his final Friday night game. Shonn Miller was held to 4 points on 1-7 shooting, while his Rookie of the Year contender Jvonte Brooks had 15 points and 9 rebounds for Dartmouth. Gabas Maldunas had 11 and 7 and John Golden added 9 as the freshmen trio led the Big Green in scoring. Cornell guarantees itself a .500 record in the league with the victory and gets the opportunity to play spoiler against Harvard on Senior Night tonight.