Princeton Splits at Home

The Tigers split the weekend, routing Cornell after losing a heartbreaker to Columbia on Friday.
The Tigers split the weekend, routing Cornell after losing a heartbreaker to Columbia on Friday.

Another disappointing weekend for Princeton’s Tigers, this time at home. Trying desperately to shake off the effects of a disastrous 0-3 start to the Ivy campaign, Princeton relished the prospect of entertaining Columbia, which hadn’t won at Jadwin in 20 years, and Cornell, the Ivy cellar dweller.

Against the Lions, Hans Brase got off to another fast start, leading the Tigers to an eight point lead at intermission, 33-25, as order appeared restored in the Princeton universe. The euphoria proved to be nothing more than a mirage, however, as the Tigers’ woes in the Ivy League continued. The gritty Alex Rosenberg, although not shooting particularly well, kept the Lions in the game by getting to the line and converting 8-8 on the evening.

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Weekend’s Winners

Yale and Penn pulled off improbable sweeps this weekend to throw a little chaos into the Ivy picture.
Yale and Penn pulled off improbable sweeps this weekend to throw a little chaos into the Ivy picture.

Another Saturday night, another surprise: James Jones’ squad brings a level of defensive intensity previously unseen, while putting together a shooting performance for the ages. Yale outplayed Harvard for 40 minutes at Lavietes and now brings a share of the Ivy League lead back to New Haven at 5-1.

Meanwhile, a fan base that was calling for Jerome’s head one week ago will be a little quieter this week, as the Quakers rode a huge performance from Fran Dougherty to a big win over Columbia.

Elsewhere, Princeton and Brown salvaged splits against two teams destined for the bottom half.

Let’s get to the weekend’s big winners…

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Fool's Gold

Wolfgang is distraught over last weekend
Wolfgang is distraught over last weekend”s Lion taming as Columbia”s conference play troubles surface yet again.

Is there anything worse than false hope? Anything?

When I was young, my father used to take me to the New England Aquarium. I loved it there – the penguins were my favorite. But I had one memory that stuck out, sore and unlike the others. After watching the penguins, the otters, and the algae-laced sea turtles, I went to the gift shop, and headed straight to the rocks and minerals section. I saw this shiny rock, and I needed to have it. The rock I needed – it was solid gold. I asked my dad if I could have it. He chuckled at my childish ignorance and explained, “Wolfgang, that’s fool”s gold.” Though it shined like gold, it was just like any other rock.

Needless to say, I had an episode of déjà vu this weekend.

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Book Review: The Divine Nature of Basketball by Ed Breslin

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Breslin”s book, released this week, chronicles Yale”s 2011-12 season under coach James Jones.

Guest Post by Wesley Cheng

Friend of the site, Wesley Cheng, from over yonder at SUJuiceOnline.com, was nice enough to review Ed Breslin”s new book about the 2011-12 Yale basketball season. Neither Wesley nor IHO received any compensation for this review.

Let me be clear before the outset of this review: I did not attend an Ivy League school, nor did I previously have an appreciation for it. Save for a few friends who worshiped Penn hoops, my loyalties remain in the old Big East and the current ACC. So it is with that lens that I review Ed Breslin”s The Divine Nature of Basketball: My Season Inside the Ivy League, his look at the 2011-12 Yale Bulldogs basketball team, led by head coach James Jones. Breslin petitioned Jones to be a special assistant coach, essentially shadowing the team throughout the entire season. What follows is an insider”s look at one of the more entertaining Yale basketball seasons in recent memory.

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The Ship Be Sinkin’

An embarrassing sweep up north has left the Penn faithful up in arms about how to fix the mess in Philly.
An embarrassing sweep up north has left the Penn faithful up in arms about how to fix the mess in Philly.

 

“The ship be sinkin’.”

Former New York Knick guard Michael Ray Richardson uttered these words just a few years prior to the drafting of Patrick Ewing, the eventual “savior“ of a then horribly dysfunctional franchise. The question now for Quaker fans is who will rescue Penn’s once proud “crown jewel” athletic team, a similarly dysfunctional organization that is now in desperate need of salvation.

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Princeton’s Lost Weekend

After a blistering 11-2 start, Princeton has opened the Ivy season 0-3 for the first time since 2007 under Joe Scott.
After a blistering 11-2 start, Princeton has opened the Ivy season 0-3 for the first time since 2007 under Joe Scott.

Princeton’s title aspirations for the 2013-14 campaign were dashed once again by the University’s antiquated tradition of January “Reading Period” and its three week mid-season forced hiatus. A 700 mile bus trip to Cambridge and Hanover is hardly the way to shake off the cobwebs. Princeton’s 0-3 start is much more than a thorn in its paw. This Tiger is hurting.

Sadly, this weekend, Princeton squandered career scoring nights from its senior warriors, T. J. Bray (26 against Harvard) and Will Barrett (28 at Dartmouth). The Tigers embarked on the trip as the stingiest team with the ball in D1. A Penn-like plethora of turnovers, 33 in the two games, rendered a staggering blow to the reeling fortunes of the men from Old Nassau. Seventeen games in and Mitch Henderson is searching for answers to questions he never expected to be asked.

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Weekend’s Best

Spring cleaning came early in New England as Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, and Yale got out the brooms and swept away the rest of the league.
Spring cleaning came early in New England as Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, and Yale got out the brooms and swept away the rest of the league.

 

Please put your hand up if you had Dartmouth sweeping the weekend without Gabas Maldunas and Columbia dropping two at Yale and Brown. You in the back? No, you’re just scratching your head? Yeah, me too. It was that kind of weekend in the Ivy League. On to the weekend’s big winners…

Home Court Advantage: We know it’s hard to win on the road in the Ivy League, but wow. Home teams went 8-0 this weekend as all four New England teams swept their back-to-backs. Through 15 Ivy contests, only two away teams have come away victorious (Columbia at Cornell and Harvard at Dartmouth).

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IHO Power Poll: January 30, 2014

The true Ivy season finally begins in earnest tomorrow with all teams entering back-to-backs. Can IHO's unanimous #1 Harvard hold serve at home against the Old Guard?
The Ivy season finally begins in earnest tomorrow with all cialis online pharmacy teams entering back-to-backs. Can IHO’s unanimous #1 Harvard hold serve at home this weekend against the Old Guard?

After the Crimson’s surprising loss to FAU, some have suggested that the Ivy title race may not be as cut and dry as everyone expected. And in some sense, that’s fair. Harvard certainly doesn’t look like a team that’s going to run the table and finish the season in the Top 25. But 12-2 seems about right at this point for a team getting back one of the nation’s best shot blockers and otherwise loaded with talent at every position. And yet the best thing going for Harvard is the strength of the middle of the league. It seems increasingly unlikely that another team will be able to navigate the minefield of teams 2 through 6 and win even 10 league contests. But that’s why they play the games. Things could look a lot different on Sunday if Penn or Princeton can tag Harvard with a home loss, or if Columbia can sweep the second leg of its three-weekend road trip.

Let’s get to it…

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Brown Rolls Yale 73-56

The Bears looked sharp on Saturday at the Pizzitola, hammering Yale 73-56 and moving to 1-1.
The Bears looked sharp on Saturday at the Pizzitola, hammering Yale 73-56 and moving to 1-1.

Last weekend’s Pizzitola Center reversal closed the book on yet another Yale-Brown split, the sixth in nine straight years of Bulldog-Bear back-to-back conference openers. The main man responsible for turning the previous week’s result around for the Bears: the unstoppable Sean McGonagill whose hot hand (29 points on 8-11 FG, 7-9 3PT) singlehandedly stopped a late Yale run and iced the game for Bruno. In what might have been their most complete effort of the year, the home team looked organized, prepared, and sharp– assisting on 19 of 27 field goals, including five impressive dimes from big man Rafael Maia.

The offense functioned exactly the way Brown fans had hoped it would entering this season with freshman Tavon Blackmon doing a solid job handling duties at the point (7 assists), while McGonagill was allowed to focus on pouring in shots from every corner of the floor. Dockery Walker provided an energetic spark off the bench with 10 points on 5-6 shooting, and Steve Spieth was all over the court with 9 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals.

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Columbia 71, Cornell 61

The Lions did what they had to do, making the halftime adjustments to run away from overmatched Cornell last night at Levien.
It wasn’t pretty down the stretch, but the Lions did what they had to do, making the halftime adjustments to run away from overmatched Cornell last night at Levien.

Rarely does a 10-point win leave the Lion Loyalists as unsatisfied as it did on Saturday night in Upper Manhattan – the aura around the post-game press conference was indicative of that.

Despite Cornell’s late-game run sparked by a full-court press and a small lineup, Coach Smith was proud of the way his team fought through the adversity saying, “We went through some tough ones like that last year and didn’t get it done, so hopefully [this win gives us] a little confidence moving forward.”

The Lions began the night hitting 3-4 from three, taking advantage of a Cornell defense that was overplaying the backdoor cuts and providing open looks off of handoffs and down-screens. But after a David Onuorah (6 pts, 4 rbs) rim-rattling dunk, another Onuorah put-back layup, and a Devin Cherry (16 pts) old fashioned three-point play, the game was tied at 21 with 2:59 left in the first half. A pair of “and-1s” from Alex Rosenberg, followed by a Maodo Lo layup got us to halftime, just 29-26 Columbia.

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