#IvyTweetWatch

Time for a new Ivy Hoops Online feature – #TweetWatch will round up some of the best Ivy hoops-related tweets in a given week. Ancient Eight, meet 21st century:

Lots of good stuff going on here. First, I’ve never seen Jerome Allen smile that wide at a postgame presser, win or lose. Second, everyone who bet that Allen would win a “pop-a-shot” arcade competition between City 6 basketball coaches before Penn basketball won its first game can collect. Still, props to Allen and his City 6 counterparts for shooting hoops to raise money for the nonprofit food bank Philabundance, which does fantastic work. The Camp Out for Hunger campaign was sponsored by the Preston and Steve morning radio show from local Philadelphia station 93.3 WMMR. Keep making it rain, Jerome.

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Why is Brown basketball down?

Tavon Blackmon is averaging 7.4 points and 2.9 assists this season, (providencejournal.com)
Tavon Blackmon is averaging 7.4 points and 2.9 assists this season. (providencejournal.com)

So what’s up with Brown?

The Bears have always been a solid defensive unit under coach Mike Martin. They boast a frontcourt that features two-time Ivy Defensive Player of the Year Cedric Kuakumensah and fellow defensive stalwart Rafa Maia. Sophomore guard Steven Spieth also came into this season with a bit of a reputation as a strong backcourt defender as well.

And yet the Bears also have what is comfortably the worst defense in the conference statistically at this early stage of the season. They can’t defend in transition at all.

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IHO Awards of the Week – Dec. 1

The week that was in Ivy roundball, power rankings included:

8. Penn (0-5)

Sigh. More on Penn here, but suffice it to say that the Quakers’ loss to Wagner made their tangible improvements against Lafayette and Temple look like a mirage.

7. Dartmouth (1-3)

Meh. The Big Green let a four-point lead with 7:04 left slip away at home to New Hampshire, which trumped Dartmouth, 65-63, via a game-winning bucket by Daniel Dion with four seconds left. Dartmouth beat IPFW, 68-67, earlier in the week but entered the New Hampshire game with the lowest-scoring offense in the conference and second to last in turnover margin. This offense just isn’t very good and somebody besides Alex Mitola needs to step up as a consistent weapon. Prior to New Hampshire, Connor Boehm was shooting just 43.8 percent from the field, and his scoring was down to 6.7 points per game from 10.9 last season. Boehm was the Big Green’s leading scorer against the Wildcats and will have to be even more impactful going forward for this offense to lift itself up.

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Mike Auger wins Ivy Rookie of the Week, status uncertain for Temple

Penn freshman forward Mike Auger was named Ivy Rookie of the Week for his 28 points and 17 rebounds combined in two losses to Rider and Lafayette this past week. Auger has been an offensive rebounding force in his first handful of collegiate games and has already developed obvious chemistry with Tony Hicks at the offensive end of the floor.

Auger-related news isn’t all good for Quaker fans as Penn gets set to play Temple at the Liacouras Center, though. Auger left Penn’s loss to Lafayette midway through the second half and according to the Daily Pennsylvanian, his status is uncertain for tonight’s Big 5 matchup with the Owls.

“I would hope that he’s physically ready to go,” Allen told the DP. “It is of the utmost importance that he spends as much time as he possibly can connected with the group on the floor. Hopefully he’s fine, but it hasn’t been determined yet.”

IHO Awards of the Week – Nov. 24

Here’s the week that was for Ivy hoops, featuring updated power rankings and thoughts on Cornell’s advances and blown chances, Princeton’s shocking defeat against a team still getting used to Division I and much more:

PLAYER OF THE WEEKYale forward Justin Sears – IHO’s preseason pick for Ivy Player of the Year gets the nod here because his team reeled off four victories this past week, in no small part due to Sears’s performance. He did little against Newbury Monday but led all scorers in a win over Illinois-Chicago and turned in 17 points, 11 boards, four assists and two blocks the following night in a win over Illinois State. Sears was part of a winning ensemble performance at Kent State on Sunday as well.

ROOKIE OF THE WEEKPenn forward Mike Auger – No Quaker logged more minutes against Rider than Auger, who notched 10 points and eight rebounds on 5-for-7 shooting from the field in just his second game at the collegiate level. He only got better against Lafayette Saturday night, posting 18 points and nine rebounds on 7-for-10 shooting in just 14 minutes. What the numbers don’t show is the chemistry Auger has already established with Tony Hicks.

SURPRISE OF THE WEEK – Incarnate Word? Really?

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Yale forward Matt Townsend named Rhodes Scholar

(courtesy of IvyLeagueSports.com)
(Photo credit: IvyLeagueSports.com)

Congratulations to Yale senior forward Matt Townsend for being named Rhodes Scholar this weekend. Townsend interviewed for the prestigious award in New York on Saturday and then notched 12 points on perfect 5-for-5 shooting in a win over Kent State on Sunday. Now that’s a productive weekend.

“It makes me understand that I’m at the right place,” Yale coach James Jones said of Townsend’s honor to Yale’s basketball program in a statement. “Basketball is important and academics are important. Yale is the best of everything.”

Townsend becomes the fourth Yale men’s basketball player to be named a Rhodes Scholar, joining Robert McCallum (1968), Mike Oristaglio (1974) and James McGuire (1976).

Matt Townsend to interview for Rhodes Scholarship

Yale starting senior forward Matt Townsend will miss the next two games for a pretty good reason.

Townsend will interview for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship as one of eight Yale students selected as finalists for the award. Townsend, the first Yale basketball player since 1999 to earn Academic All-America honors, has maintained a 4.0 GPA average through six semesters at Yale as a molecular, cellular and developmental biology major.

He’ll interview in New York this weekend and won’t play Friday against Illinois-Chicago or Saturday against Southern Illinois. According to the Associated Press, Townsend plans to rejoin the team for a Sunday game against Kent State.

Townsend averaged 4.9 points and 3.2 rebounds per game last season. He would be the fourth Yale basketball player to earn a Rhodes Scholarship.

In this era of academic cheating scandals throughout the NCAA, Townsend’s academic exploits are certainly refreshing.

A Cornell comeback within a Cornell comeback

After Colgate’s Damon Sherman-Newsome scored the first eight points of the game against Cornell, the Big Red looked a lot like the 2-26 Big Red of 2013-14: sluggish and ineffective. Later, a 23-6 Big Red deficit had them looking like a carbon copy of that 2013-14 squad.

Then Devin Cherry kicked his game into high gear, turning in a career performance and almost single-handedly turning the game around for Cornell. Cherry finished with 21 points, five assists, four boards and three steals while shooting an efficient 8-for-15 from the floor. He scored 20 of Cornell’s first 49 points and made sure the Big Red didn’t fade completely in the first half. He played with passion and he was consistently rewarded for it.

To put Cornell’s win into proper perspective, the Big Red lost to Colgate by 23 last year. Cornell is making sure we all know this is not last year.

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What to make of No. 25 Harvard’s loss to Holy Cross

No. 25 Harvard’s 58-57 loss to Holy Cross tonight in Boston was surprising mostly because of how it went down – turnovers at every turn.

Committing 24 turnovers is an easy way to lose games and it was the Harvard way tonight. Nine of those 24 turnovers came from Siyani Chambers, who scored one solitary point on 0-for-3 shooting a year after he scored seven straight points down the stretch to beat Holy Cross in 2013-14. Wesley Saunders exploded for 24 points, 12 boards and four steals, but last night proved that Saunders taking nearly 40 percent of the team’s shots wasn’t necessarily a good thing as the rest of the offense struggled to get in sync. Chambers especially looked apprehensive and too often tried to make plays that just weren’t there.

What does this mean for the Crimson going forward? Well, it means that when Chambers has one of the worst games of his career, Harvard isn’t likely to do too well. Beyond that, though, this game demonstrates that the tendency to rely overly on Saunders to make things happen is there and will continue be there when Chambers is struggling. That’s good news for the rest of the Ivy League. Harvard still needs to find an athletic wing that can come in and provide perimeter shooting when Chambers or Saunders aren’t getting it done. That was the narrative for Harvard all offseason and after a Beantown-based loss to Holy Cross, it still is.

 

Penn basketball dealing with deja vu

It wasn’t deja vu until it was.

For a while, it was another vision entirely, this 2014-15 Penn basketball team.

Who was this Darnell Foreman with the uncanny floor vision? This Sam Jones with the spot-up sharpshooting? This hustle and offensive rebounding tenacity across the board?

Penn trailed 14-5 early but got it together to build a seven-point lead with eight minutes to play at home against Delaware State, one of the worst teams in Division I last season.

And that’s when the deja vu set in. The rebounds started drying up. Jones’s shots started rimming out, giving him a 3-for-11 night from the field. Foreman continued controlling the point but not the ball as Tony Hicks took over, settling for and missing perimeter shot after perimeter shot as the second half wore on. Then Hicks airballed a three-pointer in the final minute, missing what would have been a game-winning shot as time expired and failing to successfully take the game into his own hands in overtime.

It became the Tony Hicks show, and it didn’t work. Sure, Hicks’s stat line was fantastic – 31 points, five three-pointers, five rebounds and three assists. Sure, this game could have easily went either way.

But it didn’t. It slipped away once again, this time to a no-name visitor that lost more games last season than even Penn.

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