Ivy Madness: An appreciation

Constance Cotton and her son, Yale first-year guard Matthue Cotton, with Yale first-year forward Isaiah Kelly and his mother Beverly (from left), as they share a moment of familial celebration on the floor of the John J. Lee Amphitheater following the Bulldogs’ 97-85 championship victory over Harvard in Sunday’s Ivy League Tournament final. (Photo courtesy of Constance Cotton)

With the Yale men and the Princeton women winning their respective divisions on Sunday, another Ivy League Tournament is in the books.  Here are a few of my personal highlights that were not found on the television or the box scores:

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More Ivy Madness media day tidbits

Tommy Amaker, Harvard men’s coach, on what he and his team have learned from their first two experiences in the Ivy League Tournament: “We’ve learned how hard it is (to win).  We learned how hard it is to play in tournament atmospheres, tournament environments.  We’ve played well, but haven’t been able to win the championship.  You need to be a little bit lucky as well as playing well.  We’re hopeful for both this weekend.”

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Ancient Eight thoughts – Ivy Saturday men’s edition

Eight thoughts on the Ivy men’s basketball, which, per KenPom, gave us the highest percentage of games decided by three or fewer points or in overtime in all of Division I for the second straight season:

Crimson are No. 1 for a reason 

Harvard conquered its house of horrors, Levien Gym, 83-81, after an obligatory overtime period to claim its seventh Ivy League championship under Tommy Amaker and the No. 1 seed in the Ivy League Tournament. But is Harvard a vulnerable No. 1 seed?

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Jimmy Boeheim steals the show on senior night as Cornell finishes regular season with a win

In Saturday’s regular season finale against last-place Dartmouth, Cornell’s five seniors Joel Davis, Jack Gordon, Troy Whiteside, Steven Julian, and of course Matt Morgan were honored pregame and all got the start. After Cornell got the first two points just 35 seconds in from a Steven Julian alley-oop, the Big Green went on an 11-2 run and eventually led by one at the half.

But Cornell dominated the second half, outscoring Dartmouth by 16 and winning, 66-51. Jimmy Boeheim arguably played his best game of the season, finishing with 21 points off an excellent 9-for-10 shooting from the field, and a perfect 2-for-2 from deep.

Matt Morgan couldn’t follow up his dominant 31-point performance on Friday against Harvard, finishing with just eight points and snapping his double-digit scoring streak at 80 games, good for 12th in college basketball history and an Ivy League record.

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Ancient Eight thoughts: Ivy Friday men’s edition

Seeing it through 

Brown notched an outstanding 67-63 win at Jadwin Gym, hanging on after nearly surrendering a 60-47 lead with 2:17 left. Brandon Anderson was the best player on the floor off the bench, posting 21 points and three steals in just 28 minutes, his trips to the foul line and jumpers setting back the Tigers any time they got even a modicum of momentum. Brown’s defense shut Princeton down early and often, holding the Tigers to 0.79 points per possession and collecting a whopping 25 turnovers from the hosts.

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Cornell sweeps Harvard, eliminated from Ivy Madness but still has a lot to play for

The Cornell Big Red defense came out with a plan to slow down Harvard’s junior guard Bryce Aiken, and was very successful in doing so. Aiken had 17 points but shot a poor 4-for-18 from the field. Cornell’s Matt Morgan put on a show in one of his last home games, dropping 31 points with five threes, leading Cornell to a 72-59 win over the Crimson.

This season was the first time in nine years that the Big Red swept Harvard, dating back to the magical Sweet 16 run of 2009-10. Unfortunately, Cornell didn’t get the help it needed from Princeton and Yale Friday, and the Big Red were eliminated from the Ivy League Tournament. But, they still have a lot to play for on Saturday against Dartmouth.

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