Ivy Saturday roundup

Harvard 76, Cornell 74

This will surely be remembered as the weekend that ensured Bill Courtney’s exit as Cornell’s head coach after six years of no postseason tournament appearances, following him taking over a program fresh off a Sweet 16 run in 2010. On Friday night, Cornell came out flat and struggled mightily for long stretches in a home 78-66 loss to Dartmouth, a game that the Big Red had to have after being on the wrong end of back-to-back weekend sweeps. Then this game happened.

Cornell led Harvard at Newman Arena by 21, 67-46, with 8:48 remaining in the game. Then came a Crimson comeback that Big Red fans will never forget. Cornell just stopped scoring, and during Harvard’s 30-7 run to end the game, Crimson freshman guard Tommy McCarthy pitched in seven points and five assists, including the game-winning layup with six seconds left after Cornell freshman guard Matt Morgan tied the game at 74-74 with a trey. Morgan scored just five points in the second half after posting 22 in the first stanza. Morgan was the only Cornell player to score in double figures, as the Big Red settled for the same hero ball approach that has failed them throughout Ivy play.  Blowing a 21-point lead at home in less than 10 minutes is the absolute last thing a team can do to give a hot-seat coach job security. Courtney officially has none now.

Princeton 77, Brown 66

Meh, nothing to see here, just the league’s hottest offense slicing through the league’s worst defense. The Tigers shot 11-for-24 (45.8 percent) from beyond the arc and were never seriously threatened. Anyone can do the job for Princeton, as evidenced by Henry Caruso, Steven Cook and Spencer Weisz’s combined 38 points on 14-for-27 shooting a week after the trio, particularly after they went 4-for-24 (not a misprint) from the floor at Columbia and still beat the formidable Lions on their home floor.

Yale 79, Penn 58

Even though this score is nearly identical to the previous matchup in this series this season, an 81-58 Yale win over Penn in New Haven, the Quakers showed some good stuff against the Bulldogs, executing a crisp motion offense and pressuring well defensively. Penn trailed just 43-41 with 13:15 left to play, but Yale’s vice grip specially designed to go after lesser teams took over. Justin Sears and Sam Downey started trading jumpers and the Elis clamped down on defense, and that was basically it. Sears’ 31 points in 33 minutes reestablished him as perhaps the favorite to repeat as Ivy Player of the Year, especially since it was clear he did not want to leave the Palestra with a bad taste in his mouth as he did following Yale’s Ivy playoff loss to Harvard there 11 months ago. Yale might need to win one more game at the Palestra to punch a NCAA Tournament ticket if another Ivy playoff victory becomes necessary.

Columbia 73, Dartmouth 54

The Lions have now whittled down their remaining must-wins to four, prevailing over Dartmouth thanks chiefly to a resilient Grant Mullins, who fought the flu to lead all scorers with 17 points, aided by Maodo Lo turning it on in the second half after a 0-for-7 start. Dartmouth freshman forward Evan Boudreaux couldn’t get it going, shooting just 5-for-18 from the floor, the third time in the past five games Boudreaux has shot lower than 36 percent. Columbia’s three-point defense has been gouged a lot in Ivy play, but Dartmouth’s just not built to exploit that area of the floor.

5 thoughts on “Ivy Saturday roundup

  1. Bill Courtney and Tommy Amaker have got to be the two worst in-game coaches in the conference. Both of them consistently get the least out of their players’ talents.

    The difference is that Amaker is the greatest recruiter in the history of the Ivy League. By bringing in a multiple of talent compared to any other program, he can still eke out narrow conference championships.

    Courtney doesn’t have that talent advantage. He just loses.

    That is the difference between two lousy in-game coaches, one with much more talent and one with less.

    • If you compare Courtney’s recruiting to the rest of the league, he is ahead of everyone except Harvard. Brought in Cancer, Shonn Miller, Cressler, Morgan, Hatter and Darryl Smith. Doubt anyone remembers this, but Braxston Bunce was tabbed as the best recruit in the Ivies when he came in, but his knees fell apart and hasn’t gotten back since. The difference between Bill and Tommy Amaker is that Bill’s system wears out his players and causes tons of in game and practice injuries that deplete the roster. That really came to a head in 2013-14 and made Cressler transfer. Nolan, Pat Smith and Donovan Wright were all supposed to be in the rotation this year and we haven’t had any of them. Hatter has had ankle problems for all of conference play and clearly doesn’t have it. The in game coaching certainly doesn’t help.

      • I hate to admit this but Mr. Hair Club For Men, Mitch Henderson, is a great recruiter. Either that or he gets the most out of his “lesser” talented guys.

        I also agree with Mr. William M., Amaker is a terrible in game coach and I think he is often at his worst when the game is one the line at the end. But as they say, “victory through overwhelming firepower.”

        The AQ

      • Courtney’s recruiting isn’t anything to write home about either. Miller was an elite stud (and wasted by BC) and Morgan could be a special scorer, but none of his other recruits have really panned out — though his poor coaching is probably a factor. Smith is a solid rotation guard and Cancer was an okay PG by his senior year (notably not playing the point at Kent); useful pieces, but not game changers. On the other hand, Cressler was a one dimensional shooter who can’t play D (and who seems to have fallen out of favor at Vandy) and Hatter is a gunner who has to score 30 to be valuable.

        Bunce’s career has been sad, but no one outside of the Cornell BB Blog thought he was league’s best recruit in 2012. Holt Harmon was Cornell’s top recruit that season as he was the only one listed by any of the major recruiting services. Bunce wasn’t even the league’s top Canadian recruit, that was Harvard’s Okolie. We expected more before his knees betrayed him, but it’s not the Greg Oden story part 2.

        Cornell under Bill has been less than the sum of their parts, but the parts haven’t been that great either (Shonn Miller aside).

  2. A lot of it has to do with the name of the school and the admission policies. Not so much the coach very tough for the other ivied to recruit against Princeton, Yale and Harvard.

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