Check out our very first podcast episode of On the Vine, where Peter Andrews, Bruno March and I discuss Columbia’s impressive performance at No. 1 Kentucky, compare Wesley Saunders and Justin Sears, ponder a possible turnaround for Brown and much more. You can listen here.
Freshman guard Darnell Foreman was named Ivy Rookie of the Week Monday for his nine points, two blocks and two steals in 28 minutes at Navy and 11 points, eight boards and two steals at Binghamton. The Quakers won both games, their first two victories of the season.
Forward Mike Auger and guard Antonio Woods also received Rookie of the Week honors earlier this season, putting Penn in the highly unusual position of boasting three different rookies of the week – just three weeks into its season. In part due to junior guard Tony Hicks’ foul trouble, Woods is averaging the most minutes per game of any Quaker (30.4), and four of the top eight Quakers in minutes per game are freshmen. The ultra-young Red and Blue will have a chance to string together three consecutive wins for the first time in three seasons tonight against Marist at the Palestra.
Yale hadn’t beaten UConn in 28 years. UConn had won 68 games in a row against in-state rivals.
But it took only one play to flip that script.
Trailing 44-42 with 3.2 seconds left on the game clock, Yale inbounded the ball. Just a second and a half later, junior guard Jack Montague nailed a three-pointer that clinched the Elis the win, only the second for an Ivy over a defending national champion since Princeton trumped UCLA in 1996.
Leading the way for the Bulldogs (8-2) was junior forward Justin Sears, who notched 12 points and 15 rebounds, just 10 fewer boards than UConn (3-3) posted as a team. Senior guard Javier Duren also contributed 15 points.
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:
— Preston & Steve Show (@PrestonSteve933) December 2, 2014
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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 WEEK – Yale 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 WEEK – Penn 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?
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).
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.