Chaos reigns yet again in the Ivy League. At one point on Saturday night, Dartmouth and Penn led Princeton and Harvard by healthy margins. Princeton would fight back to win, 68-63 on Senior Night, moving to 9-2 in the conference. Harvard, on the other hand, was unable to dig itself out of a 16 point hole, and fell a game behind Princeton in the loss column when Christian Webster”s desperation three at the buzzer fell short. Meanwhile, Brown completed a surprising road sweep of the C”s when Tucker Halpern”s step back three at the buzzer splashed through the net to spoil Senior Night at a stunned Levien Gymnasium. In Ithaca, Yale”s victory over undermanned Cornell was the only ho-hum result of the night.
- Tony Hicks is making a serious late push for Rookie of the Year. The award seemed completely wrapped up for Siyani Chambers a few weeks ago, but Hicks is averaging 23.8 ppg in his last four games, including 24 points in Saturday”s victory vs. Harvard. Hicks convincingly outplayed Chambers, who struggled to a 1-5 shooting, 7 turnover performance. Fellow freshman Darien Nelson-Henry was the other half of this superfrosh tandem, as the big man took advantage of Harvard”s size disadvantage, going for 18 points and 11 rebounds. Henry Brooks and Miles Cartwright also pitched in with 12 a piece for the Quakers, who had one of the wildest
up and down weekends imaginable, falling at home to Dartmouth before outplaying league-leading Harvard for the unconventional split.
- The Crimson are undone by a southern road trip yet again. You have to wonder if the short seven-man rotation is catching up to Harvard, as they came out with a stinker of a first half after last night”s slugfest at Jadwin. Overall, Harvard”s offense had an acceptable night thanks to a second half 46 point explosion and solid three-point shooting from Rivard and Webster. It was Harvard”s defense that let them down. Penn entered the night as the league”s worst offense, but the Crimson apparently didn”t get the memo, allowing 53% shooting, including 6-7 from Henry Brooks and 8-13 from Darien Nelson-Henry, two guys big enough to exploit Harvard”s lack of size. Foul trouble for Moundou-Missi and Smith certainly didn”t help. Now, the Crimson must sweep the C”s at home and pray for a Princeton
slip-up in their final three road games.
- Dartmouth contained Ian Hummer at Jadwin, especially in the first half, but a strong night from Will Barrett and TJ Bray ensured that Princeton would enter the final weekend of the season controlling its own destiny as the Tigers beat the Big Green 68-63. Hummer had just 13 points and 6 rebounds, but Barrett picked up the slack, pouring in 24 points including five threes, and pulled down 8 rebounds. Bray added 21 points while going 4-5 from deep. Princeton struggled with the upstart Green more than the Tigers probably would”ve liked, but in this year”s very competitive league, I”m sure Mitch Henderson will take Ws any way he can get them. The Tigers now head to Yale and Brown, where a sweep next weekend would deliver them at least a share of the Ivy title.
- Tyler Melville had a career high 23 points on 9-11 shooting in the losing effort, while Gabas Maldunas impressed with 17 points and 12 rebounds. The Big Green return home with a chance to move out of the Ivy basement for the first time since 2009 in the season”s final weekend.
- Columbia and Brown played a hard fought game at Levien that saw the Bears fight back from an 11-point halftime deficit, the fourth such deficit they”ve faced in their last six games. Rafael Maia and Sean McGonagill were huge in helping Brown narrow that gap. Once it got close, Matt Sullivan, who reached the 1,000 point career mark in the game, made a few huge plays, including a one-man 5-0 run in the span of 11 seconds that tied the game with about nine minutes to play. From there, the teams stayed within one possession of one another for the next six minutes before a Sullivan layup made it 57-53 with 3:07 to go. A parade of free throws ensued in the final minutes, culminating in Rosenberg”s two freebies that tied the score at 58 with three seconds on the clock. Brown elected to inbound the ball quickly across the midcourt stripe and use a timeout with 1.1 seconds remaining. Martin subbed in Halpern and ran a decoy play that appeared to end with Halpern cutting to the rim. Instead, Halpern faded to the far wing, stepped back to create space, and released a pure jumper that found the bottom of the nylon as the buzzer sounded, resulting in a familiar hollowness for the Columbia faithful and frenzied jubilation from the Brown team and its fans.
- Maia, though plagued by foul trouble, was dominant when on the floor. Early in the second half, the Brazilian big man combined with McGonagill to score 18 straight points for the Bears (9 each) to cut into the Lions” lead. Sullivan led the scoring with 17 points and also contributed 6 steals. A split next weekend against Princeton and Penn would deliver a .500 finish to Brown, a remarkable accomplishment for a team that few gave a chance in Mike Martin”s first season at the helm.
- For Columbia, it was just the latest chapter of frustration and heartbreak. A team that had so much promise entering the Ivy campaign simply could not get it done in close games. Barbour will close out an excellent career next weekend on the northern road trip, and he was on point on Saturday, tallying 18 points and nabbing 5 steals. The Chairman, Maodo Lo, is a worthy successor, and the Columbia talent pool will not be running dry anytime soon. That said, Kyle Smith was distraught in the postgame presser, clearly feeling the pain of an unforgiving Ivy season. It will be a long offseason in Morningside Heights as Smith tries to figure out what went wrong.
- Yale earned a split in Ithaca, sending a sputtering Cornell team to its fourth straight loss. The Bulldogs got out to a quick start early and never looked back, hanging on for a 79-70 win. They led by as many as 17 in the first half, but Cornell got as close as 4 with 6:29 to go before the Elis pushed it back out and coasted to victory. Matt Townsend, who is recently coming into form, led the way with 19 points on 7-10 shooting, while Brandon Sherrod just missed a double-double with 13 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 blocks off the bench. Austin Morgan added 15 for Yale, who can clinch a top half finish for the 13th straight year with one more win.
- Undermanned Cornell played for the second straight night without its star, Shonn Miller, and without backcourt stalwarts Devin Cherry and Johnathan Gray. Errick Peck and Nolan Cressler led the Red in scoring with 19 each, but it wasn”t enough for Cornell, who finishes the Ivy slate with a 1-6 record at Newman. The Red took a whopping 70 shots on the night thanks to 19 offensive rebounds, but only converted on 37% of those attempts.