Saturday”s league contests had Ivy fans expecting two very close games between traveling partners. Instead, we got
two pretty decisive victories from Columbia and Brown. The Lions” victory provided more evidence that Columbia is a real contender this year. If they want to compete for the title, this was a road game they needed to have. Meanwhile the day”s biggest statement came from Brown. The Bears” victory wasn”t necessarily unexpected, but the way they routed Yale was certainly a surprise. For such a balanced team with many different ways to put the ball in the bucket, it”s worth noting that the Bears now boast the third-best defense in the league, yielding fewer than 1 point per possession. With Albrecht back now, perhaps we have to raise the ceiling for the quickly-improving Bears: reaching the top half seems to be within the realm of possibilities.
Cornell and Yale will have to go back to the drawing board to figure out a way to salvage a split with their traveling partners after disappointing opening weekends–Cornell with an eye on fixing the defense, and for Yale, the offense.
In some of the season”s final non-conference action, Harvard had a stirring comeback that fell short in Memphis and Penn was dismantled by St. Joe”s in a Big 5 matchup. Let”s take a look at this weekend”s top performers:
Mark Cisco, Columbia- Columbia”s big man really got it going in the second half, scoring 12 of his 18 in the latter frame. When Cisco gets the seal down low, he”s tough to stop. Cornell didn”t have anyone who could matchup with him and the Big Red got burned by too many lob passes and uncontested layups. Cisco”s strength is an asset on the boards too, and he pulled down nine yesterday, a game-high.
Brian Barbour, Columbia- The Columbia guard put his team on his back, scoring six straight in the final five minutes to keep the game out of reach. His ability to penetrate and finish at the rim is unmatched in the league. Columbia does an unbelievable job of taking care of the ball, and they continued doing so yesterday, turning the ball over just nine times. Barbour had a 0 turnover game and added 16 timely points.
Sean McGonagill, Brown- The Bears” point guard was in the zone, hitting 4-7 from deep (including one from about 28 feet) and playing 38 turnover-free minutes. McGonagill netted 20 points and added five rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
Brown Defense- For a team that ranked in the bottom 60 teams in defensive efficiency for the last four years, Mike Martin has engineered a remarkable turnaround. Defense now seems to be the Bears” forte, as furious, spirited work in front of their own hoop held visiting Yale to 33% shooting. The Bears” energy and urgency on the defensive end of the floor, aside from a 14-0 run in the second half, rendered Yale completely incapable of producing good looks.
Steve Moundou-Missi, Harvard- The sophomore forward is finally busting out of his funk, playing a solid 27 minutes and posting ten points and seven rebounds. His athleticism was noticeable and needed in a game in which Harvard was so clearly outmatched in that category at all other positions. His return to form is huge for a Harvard team that will need the help down low against some of the bigger front courts in the league.
Honorable Mentions: G. Mullins (10 pts, 4 rbs, 4 ast), S. Miller (13 pts, 4 rbs, 3 stl), M. Sullivan (13 pts, 6 rbs), S. Albrecht (11 pts in 16 mins), D. Nelson-Henry (17 pts, 7 rbs)