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.”
No. 3 Harvard (16-11, 9-5 Ivy) vs. No. 2 Penn (22-5, 12-2) Sat., 8:30 p.m. (estimated) ESPN3
Season Series – Split 1-1
2/16/19 at Harvard; Harvard wins 80-72 2OT
3/1/19 at Penn; Penn wins 75-70
Penn: won four in a row and 13 of its last 15
Harvard: won two in a row and five of its last seven
- Penn men’s coach Steve Donahue noted Penn’s “interesting path” to the Ivy League Tournament, which included a 0-3 start to league play for the second time in three seasons, Antonio Woods noted he’ll shoulder the burden of guarding Bryce Aiken, and AJ Brodeur said that it may be more difficult to play Ivy teams than Big 5 teams because the Ivies know the Red & Blue so well and are more prepared to face them.
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?
On Saturday night, the Ivy League regular season ended with a co-championship, another dominant night from the third-place team and a surprise fourth-place team heading to Ivy Madness.
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.
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.
Harvard (8-5 Ivy, 15-11) 80 vs Cornell (5-8 Ivy, 11-13) 38
Harvard clinched a spot in Ivy Madness and locked down the third seed for next Saturday’s semifinal with a dominant 80-34 win over Cornell. The win, in addition to securing the Crimson’s third straight appearance in the Ivy Tournament, was the 600th career victory for Coach Kathy Delaney-Smith. Delaney-Smith is now one of 19 active coaches to reach that impressive milestone.
Harvard junior forward Seth Towns declared himself out for the rest of the season due to injury on his Instagram page Thursday night, ending speculation as to whether Towns would return to game action for the first time since last season’s Ivy League Tournament final.
Towns said on Instagram, “I never would have imagined an injury stripping me of an entire season. It’s something you think happens to everyone else, until it happens to you. Nonetheless, I’m so incredibly grateful for the growth that has come along with it. It has tested my durability, taught me different ways to contribute to my team’s success, and most of all, helped me find peace in the midst of life’s turbulence. Though I will not be returning this season, I am so grateful to be a part of this team and excited to see how the year unfolds.
After Friday’s action, two teams (Princeton, Penn) clinched spots in Ivy Madness and one team (Brown) was eliminated, while the other five teams continue to battle it out for the last two tickets to IT-3.
Princeton 64 vs Dartmouth 47
Penn 75 vs Harvard 70
Cornell 66 vs Yale 56
Columbia 93 vs Brown 62