Harvard bests California for second straight season

Powered by a second-half comeback, Harvard defeated California for the second straight season Friday night, scoring a 56-53 triumph over the Golden Bears in its home opener.

The Crimson (2-0) trailed 29-19 at halftime but cut the Cal (0-1) lead to 41-39 entering the fourth quarter after an eight-point third quarter from first-year Lola Mullaney, who after exploding for 25 points in her collegiate debut at Northern Illinois notched another 14 points in 27 minutes before exiting midway through the fourth quarter due to injury, having been helped off the floor.

Three other Crimson players joined Mullaney in double figures: senior Mackenzie Barta, who also grabbed 12 boards and made two clutch free throws to extend Harvard’s lead to five with 25 seconds left, sophomore Tess Sussman, who after Mullaney exited scored nine points in the final 6:42 to help secure the win, and senior Jeannie Boehm, who pitched in 10 points in 29 minutes.

Harvard upset No. 14 California 85-79 at Haas Pavilion last season.

Thoughts on early Ivy men’s action

DINGLE’S DEBUT

Jordan Dingle’s 24 points in Penn’s 81-80 win at Alabama marked the highest scoring total by a rookie in his debut in school history.

Steve Donahue’s system of interchangeable players on offense has allowed rookies to be major contributors in any given matchup, so it’ll be interesting to see how much of the offensive load Dingle carries going forward. But the fact that Dingle scored 16 points in the final 12:40, including the game-winning shot with six seconds left, is impressive. Freshmen often fade late, but in his first ever collegiate game, Dingle became dominant instead.

Read moreThoughts on early Ivy men’s action

Abbey Hsu making a splash for Columbia just two games into her collegiate career

Just two games into her collegiate career, Abbey Hsu is averaging 17.5 points and five rebounds in 31 minutes per game. (Columbia Athletics)

A season after Columbia got crucial contributions from first-years Sienna Durr (eventual Ivy Rookie of the Year), Mikayla Markham (led the Ivy League in assists) and Madison Hardy (ranked eighth in the conference in three-pointers), the Lions are now getting Rookie of the Year-level contributions from another first-year whose resilience is already clear.

Rookie guard Abbey Hsu has had a terrific first two games at the collegiate level, posting 13 points on 6-for-12 shooting in 25 minutes in the Lions’ season-opening 82-78 loss in overtime at Albany and a team-high 22 points on 10-for-17 shooting and eight boards in a game-high 36 minutes in their 71-57 home defeat at the hands of St. Joseph’s.

Read moreAbbey Hsu making a splash for Columbia just two games into her collegiate career

Penn rolls Tide, 81-80

Or, would you prefer Quakers over Oats?

Penn traveled down to Tuscaloosa on Tuesday night, upsetting Alabama and ruining the debut of new Crimson Tide head coach Nate Oats.

Read morePenn rolls Tide, 81-80

Ivy women go 3-2 with a no-decision on opening day

While November 5 was Election Day for statewide offices in Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia, it was Opening Day for college basketball across the entire nation.

For the Ivies, Harvard tipped things off at noon, picking up the Ancient Eight’s first “W” of the 2019-20 campaign with a road win at Northern Illinois. Princeton’s “pretty great machine” dominated Rider to give Carla Berube her first victory as the Tigers’ head coach. Dartmouth used a balanced attack to take down neighboring Vermont.

Columbia gave Albany all it could handle, but came up just short in an overtime defeat at the SEFCU Arena.  Brown, playing without its biggest offensive weapon, had several chances in the last minute but fell by one to crosstown rival Bryant.

Read moreIvy women go 3-2 with a no-decision on opening day

The rundown on Columbia men’s basketball

A respectable .500 winning percentage in the Ivy League, buoyed overall by solid nonconference wins. A close game at Harvard in early March, in the thick of the title race. Yale, conference champions, with Harvard the runner-up and Columbia not far behind. Sound plausible?

It was more than plausible in 1901-02, the Ivy League’s first basketball season, which began shortly after Harvard topped Yale for the year’s football title (a “fitting climax to a season of surprizes,” as the Daily Princetonian put it). Only 10 years after James Naismith cast a ball into the first stationary peach basket, Columbia began its varsity intercollegiate basketball competition. The Lions are still going strong even after the addition of three “new” teams to the conference since its inception.

Going into year 119, here’s everything you need to know about the Columbia Lions men’s basketball team heading into the season.

Read moreThe rundown on Columbia men’s basketball

Princeton done in by second-half collapse at Duquesne

The Ivy League launched the 2019-20 campaign with an impressive 5-2 men’s record on opening night, highlighted by Penn’s nail-biter at Alabama, 81-80. (Dartmouth was idle.)

The evening’s lowlight occurred at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, where the Tigers collapsed in the second half, losing to A-10 foe Duquesne, 94-67.

Read morePrinceton done in by second-half collapse at Duquesne

Cornell dominates Binghamton, 84-64, in season opener

The Cornell Big Red responded to the negativity entering their first season without Matt Morgan in a big way, dominating the Binghamton Bearcats, 84-64, at Newmsn Arena. The Big Red had four players scoring in double figures, led by 24 from junior Jimmy Boeheim.

Read moreCornell dominates Binghamton, 84-64, in season opener

Report: League officials makes changes to the Ivy Tournament

As the college basketball world gets ready to tip off on Tuesday night, the Ivy League has its eyes on its end-of-year tournament.

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jonathan Tannenwald reported late Monday morning that the conference has decided to move each of the women’s events up one day making Ivy Madness a four-day event.

Prior to the 2018 Ivy Tournament, the Harvard Magazine’s David Tannenwald wrote “A Gendered Schedule”, a piece that described the frustration that a number of Ivy women’s basketball coaches had with the schedule from the inaugural tournament in 2017.  That year, the women’s semifinals were played in the late morning and evening, book-ending the men’s semifinals. Despite the conference’s best intentions, the coaches and their teams felt like second-class citizens in an event that was supposed to reflect equality.

Read moreReport: League officials makes changes to the Ivy Tournament

“We really own that bullseye”: Princeton looks for second three-peat in seven years

Shortly after Princeton’s season ended with an 82-77 defeat in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Kentucky, Tigers head coach Courtney Banghart recounted how her newly elected captains, Bella Alarie and Taylor Baur, informed her that they desperately wanted to get their team to the Sweet 16.  With the new season less than a week away, the Orange & Black still look to aim high.

“After that game, we talked a lot about what the future holds for our team.  We want to make history,” Alarie said at the Tigers’ Media Day on Monday afternoon. “We have high expectations for ourselves, but we know we can reach them.”

Read more“We really own that bullseye”: Princeton looks for second three-peat in seven years