I must admit that there were times over the last 10 years that I began to despair.
Penn basketball has always been an essential part of my sports spectating life, and yet, inexplicably,
there was the “crown jewel” of Penn Athletics in shambles. For those of us who had always witnessed greatness on the hardwood from the Red and Blue, the past decade has been nothing less than a gut-wrenching, surreal descent into irrelevance and thus humiliation.
NEW YORK – For the last eight years, Levien Gymnasium has been a house of horrors for the University of Pennsylvania. Penn men’s basketball had lost seven of the last eight at Columbia, including five straight. There have been blowouts, ejections and a couple of photo finishes that went the home team’s way.
So when the Lions jumped out to a 17-6 lead, it followed an unsurprising trend.
“We definitely started off slow,” Penn sophomore Devon Goodman said. “They hit us first.”
Unlike previous seasons, the Quakers hit back, in large part thanks to a career night from Goodman, who scored a career-high 23 points with five assists and five boards. Add that to an impressive second half and an 18-0 run down the stretch and the Red and Blue staged a comeback to win 74-62 over the Light Blue on Friday night.
The Princeton women (17-4, 7-1 Ivy) made a strong statement on the first night of league play, when they defeated two-time defending champion Penn (15-5, 6-2) at the Palestra, 70-55. After Tuesday night’s even more convincing 20-point blowout of the Quakers at Jadwin Gymnasium, the Tigers have put the rest of the conference on notice that they are the clear favorites to take the regular season and tournament titles.
Brett Franklin and Jill Glessner return as hosts of Inside Ivy Hoops this week to talk with Brown men’s coach Mike Martin and Penn women’s coach Mike McLaughlin and break down a slate of crazy results so far on both the men’s and women’s sides.
Brett and Jill recap an Ivy Friday night to remember on the men’s side, explain why Matt Morgan is more than a gunslinger, and much more:
Jill and Brett detail why and how Princeton is the deepest team in conference on the women’s side, focus on Cornell’s “shocking” win over Brown, Yale’s first weekend road sweep in five years, the vital presence of Leslie Robinson for the Tigers, looming Ivy League Tournament tiebreakers, two potentially significant injuries on the women’s side and more:
Mike Martin reflects on Brown’s multiple game-winning shots this Ivy season, what went wrong Friday night versus Cornell, Desmond Cambridge’s progress following an injury sustained Saturday night, the dynamic duo of Matt Morgan and Stone Gettings, keys to besting Harvard at Lavietes Pavilion, his Espresso awakening and much more:
Mike McLaughlin talks about the Philadelphia Eagles ‘ Super Bowl parade, Penn’s win over Villanova and the void Eleah Parker helped fill while also reflecting on the program’s rise from his two-win first season in 2009-10, what makes Princeton so tough, his time with the Washington Generals and more:
Joined by Yale coach James Jones and Ivy Hoops Online’s Princeton beat writer George Clark, IHO editor Mike Tony fills in for Jill Glessner and Brett Franklin as host of Inside Ivy Hoops this week.
Mike and George look back at the Penn men’s 82-65 rout of the Tigers at Jadwin Gym Tuesday night while considering what to expect from Princeton and Penn on both the men’s and women’s sides down the stretch, touting the strength of Ivy women’s basketball and much more:
Cornell (4-11; 0-2 Ivy) challenged the Tigers (13-3; 3-0 Ivy) in the first half, finishing the second quarter down 36-34. Princeton came out of the break on a 17-0 run in the first five minutes, completed the quarter up 22 and coasted in the fourth stanza for a convincing 21-point victory over the Big Red.
Leslie Robinson had 16 points and Bella Alarie scored 13, while Gabrielle Rush continued her hot hand in league play with 75 percent three point shooting and 11 points. Cornell’s Samantha Widmann, from nearby Lawrenceville, led the Big Red with 17 points and seven rebounds.
Yale (8-6; 1-0 Ivy) opened up its march to Ivy Madness with a double digit victory over Brown (12-2; 0-1 Ivy) in a Friday matinee contest at the John J. Lee Amphitheater. After a poor shooting first quarter from both teams, Yale entered the second frame up 3 and stretched it to six at halftime. The Bears came out hot at the beginning of the third quarter, going on an 8-0 run over the first 1:36 to take a 39-37 lead. From there, the teams stayed close and were tied at 58 with 6:54 left in the fourth quarter. Two Tamara Simpson steals and layups in nine seconds sparked Yale to a 10-0 run that put the game out of reach.
An ugly win is still a win. Harvard fans can take comfort in that fact after the Crimson’s home win over the Big Green, a game that was very much up for grabs until Harvard pulled away with 4-for-4 three-point shooting in a 3:54 span late in the game during which Dartmouth was held scoreless, turning a 45-45 tie into a 54-45 cushion. Harvard notched the win despite Bryce Aiken missing nearly the entire game in a brief return from injury after missing the last four games with a knee injury. Harvard committed 19 turnovers, not a particularly good sign. But the Crimson were led by a career-high 12 points from Christian Juzang and 16 points on 5-for-13 shooting from Seth Towns. Harvard entered the game as one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the country but lit Dartmouth up from deep, going 12-for-25 (48 percent), easily besting Dartmouth’s paltry 5-for-19 (26.3 percent) clip.
The Princeton Tigers improve to 11-3 overall and, more importantly, 1-0 in the Ivy League, as they beat the two time defending champion Penn Quakers (6-5, 0-1 Ivy) for the first time in over 1,000 days. The Orange & Black looked as if they would run away from the Red & Blue when they opened up a 10-point lead with 3:36 left in the first half, but Penn went on a 7-0 run to go into the break down 31-28.
In the second half, the Tigers upped the defensive effort, frustrating the Quakers time and time again as they created another 10-point lead with 8:33 left in the fourth quarter. Unlike the first half, Princeton would not let Penn shift the game’s momentum and cruised to a 15-point victory on their rival’s home court.