Thoughts on early Ivy men’s action

DINGLE’S DEBUT

Jordan Dingle’s 24 points in Penn’s 81-80 win at Alabama marked the highest scoring total by a rookie in his debut in school history.

Steve Donahue’s system of interchangeable players on offense has allowed rookies to be major contributors in any given matchup, so it’ll be interesting to see how much of the offensive load Dingle carries going forward. But the fact that Dingle scored 16 points in the final 12:40, including the game-winning shot with six seconds left, is impressive. Freshmen often fade late, but in his first ever collegiate game, Dingle became dominant instead.

“I saw an opportunity. In the huddle, Coach Donahue said if you see an opportunity don’t hesitate,” Dingle said, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I saw the defender bite a little bit, so I made it to the basket and didn’t hesitate.”

Donahue already trusts Dingle, and Dingle already trusts himself. Win-Win …

 

… Win.

TAURUS BURIES THE BULLS

It was 353 days ago that Dartmouth shuffled off to Buffalo and got clobbered, 110-71.

But Dartmouth flipped that script in historic fashion Friday night, ending Buffalo’s 26-game home win streak with a 68-63 victory, the Big Green’s first win on the road in a season opener in 32 years. Buffalo, which clearly misses Jeremy Harris, Nick Perkins and C.J. Massinburg, never led.

Taurus Samuels was aggressive in the best ways down the stretch, scoring six critical points set up by two strong drives to the hoop and diving successfully for a loose ball. Samuels ended up with a career-high 16 points on 5-for-11 shooting from the field.

Chris Knight posted 18 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, his final swat shutting the door on any Buffalo comeback with 22 seconds left, setting up Samuels’s loose ball dive a few seconds later.

Dartmouth’s zone defense stymied Buffalo, and the Big Green outscored the Bulls 46-26 in the paint. Dartmouth didn’t rely on red-hot shooting that can come and go like last season when its outside shooting faltered in Ivy play after a blazing start. Defense travels, and Dartmouth’s traveled memorably well to the City of Light.

UNO FOR BRUNO 

Brown struggled mightily with Bryant after dispatching the Bulldogs fairly easily the previous two seasons, and the Bears needed a game-winning bucket from Brandon Anderson to eke out a 73-71 victory on the road. Of course, Bryant nearly knocked off Rutgers in Piscataway two nights later, losing by an identical 73-71 score, further underlining that there’s no shame in not putting Bryant away earlier.

A win’s a win, and it was great to see Anderson get 39 minutes of game action after his playing time was reduced in his junior campaign a season ago. Anderson’s offensive acumen and ability to get the free throw line have always been obvious, and with Desmond Cambridge and Obi Okolie no longer around, Anderson’s scoring potential must be realized early and often for the Bears to excel this season. Tamenang Choh notched 20 points, 13 rebounds, and four assists, turning in yet another stuffed stat sheet. Registering career scoring highs were junior Matt DeWolf (10 points plus five rebounds), who was sidelined down the stretch of his sophomore slate last season due to injury, and sophomore David Mitchell (11 points plus eight rebounds and a career-high two blocks). If Mitchell and DeWolf can keep up that offensive output, it’ll go a long way toward complementing what should be a strong defensive group among other Ivies.

From DIII to defeated

Harvard beat Division III MIT by just 12 last season and nine the season before. So when the Crimson thumped MIT 84-27 Tuesday with Bryce Aiken and Seth Towns sidelined, optimistic Crimson fans might have thought that Harvard was starting the 2019-20 season more cohesively than it has under coach Tommy Amaker in the past. The win even tied Harvard’s program record for largest margin of victory, set in 1946 against Northeastern.

Just beating Northeastern would suffice these days for Harvard, because the Crimson followed that performance up by losing to Northeastern for a third straight season, 84-79, with the Huskies’ Jordan Roland leading the way with 42 points in 40 minutes of play three days after he poured 39 on Boston University in another win.

What should be a stout defense even sans Aiken or Towns surrendered 1.25 points per possession to Northeastern. The Crimson trailed 44-27 at halftime and clawed back to keep the Huskies uncomfortable throughout the second half but never led. Noah Kirkwood and Chris Lewis impressed offensively, but another loss to Northeastern wasn’t the result Harvard folks were looking for amid all the top-25 buzz that followed the Crimson into this campaign.

The timetable for Towns’s return is still unknown, per the Harvard Crimson, 608 days after he was sidelined with injury down the stretch of the Ivy League Tournament final at the Palestra. Towns hasn’t played since, although he wasn’t publicly ruled out from game action last season until March, when Towns announced himself out for the season on his Instagram page. Towns won the Crimson Madness three-point competition last month, so hopefully the mystery of when he’ll return will be put to rest soon. Hopefully.

HOW YALE PREVAILS

Yale ran roughshod over Division III Oberlin 94-37 in a coaching matchup between James Jones and Isaiah Cavaco, who started in 46 games for Yale before graduating in 2001 and was later an assistant under Jones for the Bulldogs. Per the Yale Daily News, Jones compared Cavaco to current Yale captain Eric Monroe, citing their high IQ and improving their teammates’ play.

In Yale’s only showdown against Division I competition so far, eked out a 74-69 road victory in overtime over Stony Brook, with Paul Atkinson registering 26 points on 9-for-15 shooting. Jordan Bruner turned in 13 rebounds, six assists and four blocks, and two-time Ivy Player of the Year Justin Sears predicted that he’ll be the next to win the award. Azar Swain went 4-for-9 from deep against the Seawolves, showing again how he can make opposing defenses pay with quick strikes. Trey Phills is gone, but junior guard Jalen Gabbidon made the most of his second career start at Stony Brook, collecting four steals and justifying Jones to call him his best perimeter defender after the game, according to YDN. The Bulldogs may be lacking in depth, but Jones typically doesn’t keep a deep bench anyway. His team isn’t getting enough attention, and I’m guessing he’s fine with that.

Keep reading for analysis of more Ivy men’s action so far:

Penn rolls Tide, 81-80

The rundown on Columbia men’s basketball 

Princeton done in by second-half collapse at Duquesne

Cornell dominates Binghamton, 84-64, in season opener

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on early Ivy men’s action”

  1. Regarding Brown versus Bryant, you give Bryant little credit for being an improved team. They fought at home against Brown at home and showed similar fight on the road against Rutgers two nights later. Brown “struggling mightily” is an overstatement.

    • Thanks for reading, HGA. I did note Bryant’s impressive performance at Rutgers to undercut, to some extent, the notion that Bryant is necessarily a weak opponent, although they do remain a sub-300 KenPom team for now. Brown didn’t have the game in hand at Bryant until the very end, so it was certainly a struggle, and a greater one against the Bulldogs than we’ve seen in recent seasons. There’s no doubt, though, that there’s a lot more that we don’t know than what we do know about these teams just two gsmes in.

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