Best (Share of) Title Clincher: While Harvard rode its big men on the block to a close victory on Friday, it was the Crimson”s perimeter play that won the game on Saturday at Cornell. Harvard shot 12-26 from three, led by four second-half triples from Brandyn Curry. Up 12 with eight minutes to play, it looked like the Crimson would be able to coast to a share of the conference title, but Cornell made a late 16-6 run behind Chris Wroblewski that got the Red within two at 57-55. Wroblewski missed a tough layup with 3:20 left though, and Cornell only managed two stops the rest of the way as Harvard got nine straight points from Oliver McNally to finish off the game (including another impressive 4-4 performance at the line). McNally led the Crimson with 17 and Curry added 12. Kyle Casey pitched in with 11, while Keith Wright had 8 points and 11 rebounds. For Cornell, Wroblewski had a great night in his finale at Newman, finishing with 19 points and 7 assists in the upset bid. Galal Cancer looked under control and more mature in his final game as a freshman, notching 8 points, 3 assists, and just 2 turnovers in 26 minutes against the league”s best defense. With the close victory, Harvard earns at least a share of the Ivy title. Crimson eyes will be glued to ESPN3 on Tuesday night as a Penn loss to Princeton will hand the Cantabs their first NCAA bid in 66 years. A Penn victory will force a playoff (most likely next Saturday at Yale from what we hear)
for the second straight year. Would Harvard”s 26-5 at-large profile with five Top 100 wins be enough to garner an at-large bid if Penn wins the playoff? The Crimson would prefer not to find out.
Best Revenge: On Saturday night, Penn took on Yale in a game that many thought would be a battle to the final possession given the Bulldogs” close victory at John J. Lee back in January. That looked like it may come to fruition through one half, as Yale hung within eight despite some poor shooting. But Coach Allen must have preached some inspirational rhetoric in the Quaker locker room because Penn came out in the second half and put the Bulldogs away before you could blink. The lead ballooned to 15 before the first media timeout, and the Quakers didn”t let up from there. It was a 24-point margin at the under-12 media timeout and a complete laugher the rest of the way until the final buzzer mercifully sounded with the scoreboard showing 68-47. Penn got all of its bench out there as 15 players saw the court and 11 made the scoresheet. Yale ended with only 14 made field goals on 29% shooting (1-12 from three) on a night to forget. For Penn, it was just another step on this unlikely march towards an Ivy League title. Surely, Zack Rosen enjoyed the night off from having to deliver late-night heroics, though the senior did manage to lead all scorers with 20 points and 6 rebounds. The Quakers” defense has really clamped down as of late, surrendering only 90 points on the weekend. Now, we all turn to Jadwin on Tuesday as Penn tries to force a playoff with Harvard. Somewhere in the commenting abyss, The Ancient Quaker is smiling.
Best Win Worth the Wait: Technical difficulties with a clock and/or basket support delayed the contest between Princeton and Brown for about 35 minutes. When the
game finally tipped off, Brown looked like they might hang with the Tigers before a late first-half run pushed the Princeton lead out to 10 at the break. Princeton then opened the second half on a 9-0 run that put the game away. Big man Brendan Connolly had a standout game with 14 points on 6-9 shooting with 7 rebounds and 6 assists in just 22 minutes of play. Pat Saunders and Doug Davis each added 12 points for the Tigers, who held Brown to 29% shooting from the floor. Jean Harris had 12 points for the Bears in his final game, and Matt Sullivan continued an impressive conference season with 12 points of his own. Looking ahead to Tuesday, Princeton will be relishing the opportunity to end the Quakers” hopes on Senior Night at Jadwin.
Best Win to Build On: Columbia, as has been tradition this season, was wrapped up in a tight one with Dartmouth on Senior Night at Levien before a few big shots sent the Lions faithful home happy. Meiko Lyles had a game-high 23 points, but no basket was bigger than the three pointer he knocked down with just 1:34 to play to push the Columbia lead to four. Mark Cisco had 15 points and 9 rebounds, and Brian Barbour added 9
points and 5 assists for the Lions, who have a lot of talented pieces returning for next year”s Ivy campaign. For Dartmouth, Jvonte Brooks had another impressive game, making a compelling case for the Rookie of the Year award with 17 points and 7 rebounds, including going 9-10 from the stripe. Brooks finishes the season with the 3rd highest free throw rate (FTA/FGA) in the nation, showing an impressive ability to get to the line. RJ Griffin added 12 and Gabas Maldunas had 10 for the Big Green, who despite showing evidence of progress, still finished the season mired in the Ivy League cellar.
For Friday”s Best, click here.