The Ivy League announced Tuesday that it has canceled the men’s and women’s conference basketball tournaments slated to be held at Harvard’s Lavietes Pavilion Friday through Sunday in response to coronavirus concerns, declaring the Princeton women and Yale men, the Ivy League regular season champions, the automatic qualifiers to the NCAA tournaments.
“We understand and share the disappointment with student-athletes, coaches and fans who will not be able to participate in these tournaments,” Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris said. “Regrettably, the information and recommendations presented to us from public health authorities and medical professionals have convinced us that this is the most prudent decision.”
Years ago, back in the black and white, pre-digital ether, I attended my first Penn basketball game on a chilly, late fall evening. The Cathedral, an edifice I didn’t even know existed until I was nestled wide-eyed within its cavernous nave, was steamy and the burgeoning Big 5 crowd, restless, loud and profane. In my hand was a game program with Penn’s All Time Leaders featured prominently across its center portion.
Naturally, my eyes drifted to the sexiest stat of all: all-time scoring leader. It was Ernie Beck, 1951-1953, 1,827 points. “Ernie Beck.” That name sounded old. It conjured up mental images of the colorless, antediluvian days of a two-handed set shot sailing through the air before orderly rows of spectators wearing suits and ties. As my attention quickly returned to the spectacle before me, I recall thinking, “That record may never be broken.” I was right — until now.
AJ Brodeur will most likely be remembered for finally eclipsing this lofty personal milestone for a school with a long and proud basketball tradition, but what he really did over his four years wearing the Red & Blue was something much greater — he saved the program.
Brown just missed out on an Ivy League Tournament berth for the second straight year this weekend, again getting edged out by Penn for the tourney’s No. 4 seed despite an impressive road sweep of Harvard and Dartmouth. And as coach Mike Martin indicated on Twitter after the loss, letdowns like this really sting.
2nite was 1 of the hardest post game talks I’ve ever had. We had just swept a tough r
oad trip + did it with grit, toughness, and togetherness- I was so proud of our team. But then we learned the news that it wasn’t enough. Hurting for our players – I’m lucky to be their coach.
ITHACA, N.Y. – The Cornell Big Red put up a good fight, but the Princeton Tigers pulled away in the second half for a 69-50 victory, marking their 26th win of the season.
“I’m proud of them,” said Cornell coach Dayna Smith about her team. “I’m proud of the effort we played with today. We talked about worrying about us and what we can accomplish and execute, and we did that. Princeton is a phenomenal team. They’re going to do some great things down the stretch here.”
The Big Red (10-16, 3-11 Ivy) starting five consisted of all starters, and a sixth senior, Laura Bagwell-Katalinich, came off the bench. The six seniors combined for 48 of Cornell’s 50 points, as they got the majority of the minutes.
The final regular season game followed a great storyline. One of my favorite coaches spurred his team to its best offensive showing of the season, 60% shooting from the field, 64% from deep, five players in double figures and 85 points in a win. The problem for me is the favorite coach is Brian Earl, skipper of the Cornell Big Red, who masterminded a terrific game plan in the 85-82 Cornell victory.
Although the Tigers mounted a heroic late comeback effort, make no mistake about it: This was a convincing and highly deserved win by the visitors from high above Cayuga’s waters.
For Tiger fans the highlight of the evening was the more emotional than usual senior night sendoff to three great Tigers: Richmond Aririguzoh, Jose Morales and Will Gladson.
Penn senior forward AJ Brodeur set three program records in his final game at the Palestra as the Quakers easily dispatched Columbia, 85-65, on a historic night at the Palestra to earn the No. 4 seed in the Ivy League Tournament.
The Red & Blue (16-11, 8-6 Ivy) nabbed their fourth straight Ivy League Tournament berth, knocking Brown (also 8-6 in Ivy play) on the strength of a Brodeur triple-double: 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Penn split the season series with Brown but held the second tiebreaker, a better record against league top seed Yale.
Brodeur’s triple-double was the first in program history, a feat that followed two more records from the Northborough, Mass. native.
With the game well in hand in the second half, the focus became whether Brodeur would pass Ernie Beck ’53 to become the all-time leading scorer.
So what really mattered in Saturday’s Penn-Columbia women’s game?
Well, winning meant something, and Penn did that quite comfortably, 51-36, at Columbia.
But both teams were already locked into the Ivy League Tournament next weekend; only the seeding would be affected, and the loss makes Columbia (17-10, 8-6 Ivy) the No. 4 seed with the job nobody really wanted, facing Princeton in the first game Friday. Penn (20-7, 10-4) will be the No. 2 seed and face Yale. Columbia also was looking for a measure of revenge for a tight overtime loss in Philadelphia. Two top contenders for Ivy Rookie of the Year had a chance to show their stuff. And Janiya Clemmons, the Lions’ sole senior, had a sendoff in her last home game for Senior Day.
Bryce Aiken will pursue graduate transfer opportunities, 247Sports reported Saturday.
The news is no shock but indicates that Aiken is looking to use what is left of his college eligibility rather than starting a professional career.
Aiken played only seven games this season due to a foot injury that happened on Dec. 21, missing the final 18 games of the regular season. Aiken is expected to get a medical redshirt for this past season and will graduate from Harvard in the spring, according to 247Sports.
The Ivy League does not grants redshirts or allow graduate students to play athletics.
Aiken averaged 16.8 points, 2.7 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game in 65 career contests for the Crimson, establishing himself as one of the league’s most dynamic scorers when healthy. Aiken missed 31 games his sophomore and junior seasons due to injury.