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.
Princeton’s roller-coaster regular season ended in calamity this weekend. In a season of ups and downs, the Tigers saved their worst for last, losing back-to-back games in convincing fashion at home to Brown and Yale. After surrendering an astounding 25 turnovers to Brown on Friday night, the Tigers completely collapsed on Senior Night, losing by 22 points on Saturday to Yale, 81-59. It was the most lopsided loss by a Princeton team at home to Yale in program history.
In an in-depth interview, Princeton associate head coach Brett MacConnell talks about filling in for an ill Mitch Henderson during Princeton’s win at Dartmouth last weekend, the Tigers’ many personnel changes this season, another Ivy Defensive Player of the Year-caliber campaign for Myles Stephens and why Jaelin Llewellyn could be a future Ivy Defensive Player of the Year, Richmond Aririguzoh’s development and impact guarding the post, his own path to becoming associate head coach and much more:
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.
A depleted and dispirited Tiger squad faced off with an amped up Brown Bear quintet last night at Jadwin. The Bears came in with a chance to play themselves into next week’s Ivy Madness. Their 67-63 wire-to-wire smackdown of Princeton sends them to The Palestra with their tourney aspirations very much alive. The winner of tonight’s Brown-Penn meeting will be in the tournament. Their wins on Friday night against teams already in the field eliminated Cornell, an ironic end for Brian Earl’s dreams on the night his Big Red defeated Harvard, the probable No. 1 seed.
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.
With a record of 7-3, the Tigers headed to New England for the Dartmouth-Harvard trip needing a win on the weekend to punch its ticket to Ivy Madness. The fact that the Tigers’ record against their four remaining opponents contained all three of those losses and only one of the wins was a matter of grave concern to the Tiger staff. The lone win was a 69-68 nail-biter in Jadwin against the Friday foe, Dartmouth’s Big Green.
The staff itself suffered an unexpected loss when its head coach was unable to answer the bell in Hanover. Mitch Henderson was forced to scurry from the floor just prior to tip-off, suffering from what we shall describe as “flu-like symptoms.”
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
Princeton senior guard Devin Cannady has taken a leave of absence from the university and will not play for the remainder of the season, the Daily Princetonian reported Friday.
“Devin Cannady has decided to take a voluntary leave of absence from school to attend to a personal matter and, consequently, will not be playing basketball for the remainder of the season. He has our full support,” Deputy University Spokesperson Mike Hotchkiss wrote in a statement.
Everything is at stake on Friday night when the Princeton Tigers men’s basketball team clashes with the Dartmouth Big Green in Hanover. And by everything, I mean winning an Ivy League regular season championship. That’s the goal for a program like Princeton’s every year.
Earning a berth in the conference postseason tournament is a nice reward, and one that Princeton very nearly has cemented at this point. But make no mistake, the real goal for Princeton this year—and every year—is to win an Ivy League championship. When you win an Ivy League championship, they put a banner in the rafters enshrining the memory of your team for eternity. Princeton players and fans are reminded of the glory of Princeton’s greatest players and teams every time they enter Jadwin Gym and gaze upon that awesome pantheon of conference championship banners hanging in the rafters.