Could Cornell have Stopped Zack Rosen?

Zack Rosen did everything right in the final four minutes against Cornell. Could the Big Red have done more to stop him? (Photo Credit:

Johnny Gray has done a lot of great things this season, but prolific defense has not been what he’s known for. But Gray changed that on Friday. In the first 36 minutes of action, Gray managed to hold the Ivy League Player of the Year favorite to just 10 points on 5-14 shooting. Unfortunately, it was the final four minutes, not the first 36 that made the difference.

Four minutes. How much can really change in four minutes? Just ask Zack Rosen. Rosen, in the final four minutes against Cornell, was unbelievable, playing probably the best stretch of basketball I’ve seen by a point guard at any level. Yes, even including the great Jeremy Lin.

Rosen was the best player on the court. The crowd knew it. Cornell knew it. Most importantly, Rosen knew it, and he played like it. Four minutes, 3-3 shooting, 13 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 2 steals. Big shot after big shot. Big play after big play. Rosen single handily turned a four-point deficit into a seven-point victory.

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IHO Power Poll: February 20, 2012

Keith Wright's Harvard Crimson has been the wire-to-wire #1 team in the IHO Power Poll this season. (Photo Credit:

Welcome to the eighth IHO Power Poll (based on games through 02/20/12). Please note that these rankings are based off of our best guesses of how the Ivy League picture will sort itself out. We always love to hear your gripes and whines in the comments below.

1. Harvard (9-1), (23-3)- Harvard took care of business this weekend with its best back-to-back performances in a month. A depleted Brown team did not put up much of a fight on Friday night, and the next day the Crimson weathered Yale’s best shot

to pull out a 15-point victory. Keith Wright was the leader on the court, averaging 11 points and nine rebounds in just 23 minutes per game, but Harvard got standout performances from Steve Moundou-Missi (14 points off the bench against the Bears) and Brandyn Curry (a season-high 18 points against the Elis) as well. Now holding a game-and-a-half lead over the competition, the Crimson can effectively wrap up its second Ivy title in as many years if it can beat the Killer Ps next weekend at Lavietes, where Harvard now owns a 27-game winning streak. -C. River Banks

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Saturday's Best

Brandyn Curry led the Crimson to a season sweep over Yale with 18 points on Saturday night in Harvard's 66-51 victory at Lavietes. (Photo Credit:

Best Domination of a Rivalry: Another efficient offensive performance from Harvard (1.22 points per possession) coupled with yet another lockdown defensive effort kept the Crimson in the driver”s seat. That”s 27 in a row at Lavietes and a season sweep of archrival Yale. This time, Harvard got out to a 35-15 first half lead, but Yale responded with an 11-0 run to close the half. The Bulldogs got within four early in the second half, but Harvard pulled away behind Curry”s scoring, Wright”s inside finishing, and Miller”s shooting off the bench.

For Yale, it was Mangano once again getting the buckets as the big man made it happen all over the court, knocking down 3 of 4 three point attempts and finishing with 22 points and 11 rebounds. A lack of depth hurt the Bulldogs (Mike Grace was not 100% after injuring his ankle) and Harvard did a great job of limiting Yale”s backcourt production. Austin Morgan and Reggie Willhite were held to 4-13 from the field and 15 points. For the Crimson, a balanced attack did the trick, though it was Brandyn Curry with

18 points and 5 assists leading the way. Wright finished with 10 points and 8 rebounds. It seems like we”ve had a game with serious title implications every weekend, and the Crimson will face one more when Zack Rosen and the 7-2 Quakers come to town on Saturday. One more sweep at home will virtually clinch the first solo title in Harvard history.

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Friday's Best

Mack Darrow's huge night off the bench helped lift Princeton over Columbia last night. (Photo Credit:

Best Second Half: Princeton rode a 50 point second half to an impressive 77-66 victory over Columbia at Jadwin. The Tigers limited Mark Cisco to 4 points and 5 rebounds, as Doug Davis notched 20 points and Ian Hummer added 16 to lead Princeton into the top half. The Tigers stuck with a short rotation of eight players and it allowed their guys to get in a shooting rhythm, as the team shot 51% from the field on the evening with all eight getting into the scoring column. The game was all tied up at 27 at the half, but a 14-3 run in the middle of the second half pushed the Tigers ahead to stay. Mack Darrow contributed 19 points off the bench (4-6 FG, 9-9 FT) in 26 minutes to provide an important spark. For the Lions, Brian Barbour continued to showcase his ability as a scorer with 22 points (5-12 FG, 11-13 FT), and Blaise Staab took advantage of the start by pouring in 12 points to go with 6 rebounds. Princeton takes on Cornell in a critical matchup at Jadwin tonight as the Tigers try to climb back up the standings.

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Game Preview: Yale at Harvard

Yale needs to take care of the ball and get more out of its bench if the Bulldogs want to hang with Harvard at Lavietes tonight. (Photo Credit:

The last time that Harvard lost at Lavietes was February 19, 2010, a 79-70 loss to Cornell almost two years to this day. Since then, the Crimson has racked up—after last night’s comfortable 69-42 win over Brown—26 consecutive wins at home, and they now trail only Kentucky (49 wins) for the longest home winning streak in the country (D1). In short, as Yale’s season lies in the balance tomorrow—Yale must win to continue any hopes of seizing an Ivy League title—the Bulldogs are traveling into one of the toughest road environment’s imaginable to make or break their season.

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Game Preview: Cornell at Princeton

Chris Wroblewski is going to need to control the tempo if the Big Red are going to get back on track at Princeton tonight. (Photo Credit:

Coming into the weekend, Cornell and Princeton were arguably the hottest Ivy League teams. Both teams entered Friday night looking to capture its longest winning streak of the season after collectively dismissing arguably the two best teams in the conference, Harvard and Yale. Friday night, Princeton surged in the second half to top Columbia while Cornell faltered late and fell at the Palestra. Princeton, who has probably been the most inconsistent team in the league this season will have to put together a complete effort if it doesn’t want to find itself being swept by Cornell for the second time in the last three seasons.

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POY/ROY Tracker

If Princeton can make a run in the Ivy League, Hummer will warrant some consideration for Player of the Year. (Photo credit:

Player of the Year

The Contenders 

1. Zack Rosen

It was not the best week for Penn’s point guard. On Friday, the Quakers lost a crucial game at home to the Crimson, 56-50, and Rosen’s six-for-21 shooting performance left Penn fans feeling a little cold. The senior was off the next night as well, hitting just five of 13 shots against the Big Green. But despite his struggles, Rosen still showed up when it mattered most. He scored 10 points in the final 10 minutes against Harvard’s lockdown defense to bring the Quakers within a bucket of tying the game, and he nailed a game-winning three

from the wing to send Dartmouth packing on Saturday. Those late heroics were enough to keep the senior ahead of the competition for Player of the Year for at least another week.

2. Greg Mangano

Yale’s big man also had an up-and-down weekend. In Ithaca on Friday night, Mangano was mired in foul trouble, picking up his fourth with over eight minutes left in regulation. The senior, who finished with 14 points and only five rebounds, attempted just two shots from that point forward, as Cornell went on to win in overtime, 85-84. The next night Mangano struggled out of the gate, missing his first six shots, and Yale found itself in a 22-point hole six minutes into the second half. Of course, the Elis pulled off a comeback for the ages, and Mangano was no small part of that. Although he would finish with only 11 points (his second lowest scoring output since late November), his eight points down the stretch were crucial to keeping the Bulldogs” Ivy League hopes alive.

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Cornell Deserves Some Love

Johnathan Gray has been a great addition to Bill Courtney's arsenal of backcourt weapons, leading the Big Red to a sweep of Yale and Brown last weekend. (Photo Credit: Connor Archard,

Before this past weekend, Cornell had been coasting under the radar, going about its business without many outside of Ithaca taking notice. These days, it’s hard to get attention in the Ivy League if you’ve never had Harvard printed across your chest. A Top 25 ranking and an alumnus starting for the New York Knicks makes for a pretty compelling story. Whatever room was left on the back pages has gone to the only two teams thought to be contenders for the crown: Penn and Yale. It’s hard to blame the casual fan for not paying Cornell much attention. As I’ve been saying for a few weeks, the Big Red has been about what everyone expected this season. No points too high, no points too low. A split against Columbia. One of two at home against the Ps. A loss at Harvard. A win at Dartmouth. A 3-3 conference record. Sounds about right. No real story in that.

This week though, Cornell is deserving of a little pub, a little recognition. It’s not only that Cornell managed a sweep of Yale and Brown, it’s how it was done. Early Friday night, all of Cornell’s nightmares were coming true. To say Yale started hot and Cornell started cold would have been a serious understatement. The Bulldogs came out dominating this game, utilizing every strength and exploiting every Cornell weakness. The front court duo of Greg Mangano and Jeremiah Kreisberg accounted for 9 of the game’s first 14 points. Yale was out-rebounding the Big Red 16-5 (with seven of those boards coming on the offensive glass) and Cornell was shooting the ball poorly from the outside. For a while, it felt as though Yale was one play away from breaking the game open and waltzing to its fourth consecutive victory and eighth in nine attempts.

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In an Up and Down Season, a Statement Victory

Now that they've cleared the crowd off of Carril Court, what can we make of Saturday night's big victory for the Tigers? (Photo Credit:

At first, there was only euphoria. Sheer, blinding, unadulterated joy. There wasn’t room for anything else. Princeton beat Harvard on Carril Court as the legendary coach watched, besweatered as always, from the raucous stands. Mitch Henderson, the man who played for Carril and now carries on his legacy, had his first signature Ivy League win. The Tigers handed the Crimson its first Ivy League loss of the season Saturday night, knocking off a Top-25 team at home for the first time since the late “70s.

Who could blame the Princeton faithful for storming the court once the final buzzer sounded? Christmas came early for Tiger fans, after an Ivy League season that at times promised little more than a lump of coal. The win over Harvard, without a doubt, represented the zenith of Princeton’s season.

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IHO Power Poll: February 13, 2012

Fans stormed the floor at Jadwin Gymnasium Saturday night as Princeton knocked off previously unbeaten Harvard, keeping the league race interesting for at least one more weekend. (Photo Credit:

Welcome to the seventh IHO Power Poll (based on games through 02/13/12). Please note that these rankings are based off of our best guesses of how the Ivy League picture will sort itself out. We always love to hear your gripes and whines in the comments below.

1. Harvard (7-1), (21-3)- Harvard had the Ivy League all but wrapped up after winning at the Palestra on Friday. Then Saturday happened, and now it’s game on once again. The Crimson’s performance at Jadwin was very uncharacteristic. The Tigers torched Harvard’s vaunted defense for 1.11 points per possession, time after time finding easy buckets on backdoor cuts. Not only that, the Crimson’s normally reliable free-throw shooting allowed the game to slip away, as Kyle Casey missed four of five from the stripe (including the front end of a one-and-one) to watch a tie game turn into a five point deficit. Harvard will have a chance to regroup with its next four games at home, but, thanks to its 23rd straight loss at Princeton, the Crimson is no longer the only team that controls its own destiny. -C. River Banks

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