Saturday Ivy Roundup

It was a ‘meh’ Valentine’s Day for Ivy basketball, with all four games being decided by eight points or more and no massive upsets:

Harvard 61, Cornell 40

The Crimson, previously on the wrong end of a 26-2 run against Dartmouth earlier this season, reeled off a 22-2 run of their own to shake off the Big Red. Senior guard Wesley Saunders somehow compiled eight rebounds but zero points in the first half, but steady efforts from senior forward Steve Moundou-Missi and sophomore guard Corbin Miller allowed Harvard to win with comfort. Cornell’s got an amply stout defense, but no offense when Shonn Miller isn’t clicking (and he didn’t at Lavietes, going 1-for-10 from the field).

Yale 81, Princeton 73

Who had sophomore forward Henry Caruso down for 25 points off the bench for Princeton? Doesn’t matter, because senior forward Justin Sears posted 25 points for Yale too and willed the Elis to this win down the stretch. An 11-0 Yale lead eventually dissipated and Princeton attained a 52-45 lead with 12:33 remaining, but freshman guard Makai Mason countered for Yale with a 5-for-5, 11-point performance off the bench. The Bulldogs had to hold serve in the Ivy title race against Harvard here, and they did.

Brown 71, Penn 55

Penn somehow managed to shoot 34 percent at home against the conference’s worst defense in Brown. The Quakers’ sometimes fabulous freshmen were held scoreless in the first half and junior guard Tony Hicks slumped to a 6-for-32 shooting clip in the past three games combined, picking up a technical foul out of frustration in the second half along the way. The Quakers seem out of answers at this point, but give credit to sophomore guard J.R. Hobbie for lighting them up from beyond the arc for 21 points on 6-for-8 shooting, including 5-for-7 from downtown. Penn’s perimeter defense needs help fast, and so does its basketball program.

Dartmouth 61, Columbia 49

Senior guard Steve Frankoski led the Lions in scoring with 14, and that turned out to be a bad thing for Columbia. On the flipside, freshman guard Miles Wright is absolutely for real, leading the Big Green with 16 points for his fourth straight game with at least that many points. When the Lions shoot 30 percent from beyond the arc, their bread-and-butter area, and commit 17 turnovers on the road, this is what happens.

 

2 thoughts on “Saturday Ivy Roundup

  1. If theLeague recognized the “Sophomore of the Week” Henry Caruso’s head-to-head matchup with the great Justin Sears is this week’s winner. At one point a frustrated Sears, after failing again to stop Caruso at the low block, was heard to yell “I need help!” Caruso’s 25 gave the Tigers a chance, but one must acknowledge the veteran Bulldog line up was better in this one. But if the young Tigers are not inspired by their teammate’s refusal to back down an opportunity for real growth will be squandered.

  2. Very good weekend for Harvard and Yale. While each had one challenging game this weekend, they did what they had to do and get some distance from the other 6 teams.

    After being down 24-21 at the half, it looked like Harvard was in for another close game. Very good second half made sure they could win a game with some breathing room.

    The Yale Princeton game was closer than the score. Two teams close in talent with Yale proving to be a little stronger than the Tigers. All-in-all, I think TT and fellow Princeton fans should feel good about the team at this point. Other than the surprising collapse against Cornell, they have handled the rest of the league came close to the two best teams. Right now it would seem that the Tigers are in a good position for 3rd place by time the second half of the league season concludes.

    Even with the second half collapse against Harvard, Cornell fans should be pleased with this weekend. They played well in the second half against an improving Dartmouth squad and took control in overtime (although that last minute of the second half with Hatter and Miller was incredibly frustrating to watch). They also played a very good first half against Harvard. The earlier start time did not help the overmatched Big Red in the second half.

    Maybe Bruno had it right after all with regards to Dartmouth. Wright was very good in both games and is making a charge for ROY. Maldunas also had two good games and gave the team some inside outside balance. While losing on Friday night, there were very good signs that the team’s fortunes would change. Last night’s game with Mitola finally returning to form was a very good result for the Big Green.

    Hard to say who had the worse weekend, Columbia or Penn. Although they really played tough against Harvard on Friday, last night’s result was a bit of a shock for the Lions. After the positive start to the season, many would have had this team at 6-2 or 5-3 at this point of the conference schedule. Even with the injuries to Mullins and Rosenberg, as well as the departure of Lyles, this team seemed to have a good shot at being a strong third place group. At 3-5, they have to go 4-2 with road games against Yale and Princeton to get to .500.

    I think Mike’s tweet about last night’s Penn game removing all the positives after the road win against Cornell and bringing the team back to square one is correct. The blowout loss against Yale was certainly predictable. While definitely not a lock to beat Brown by any stretch of the imagination, a 16 point loss playing at home with a rested team was a bit surprising (and/or embarrassing).

    The team was so listless that Coach Allen played soccer player Matt Poplawski more minutes at guard than Darnell Foreman, Sam Jones and Cam Crocker. Additionally, Tony Hicks had a horrible game and got a technical late in the second half. Over the last several years, Penn seems to have a buildup of turnovers, fouls and losses that result in a lack of focus, energy, discipline and maturity as the seasons go along.

    With Brown and Dartmouth improving each week and Penn having to play both on the road, added to the Quakers week-by-week downward athletic and emotional trends, there is little cause for optimism that this team can get to five league wins.

    While Columbia’s weekend (and maybe its conference results) was disappointing, it is really just a short term issue for a team with very good coaching and talent. Penn’s coaching and team problems, however, are systemic and there is very little hope for a short turnaround.

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