Although Penn Athletics released the men’s basketball home schedule on August 14, the complete slate was announced Wednesday, three weeks later. While the schedule is light on home games, coach Steve Donahue has crafted a strong 13 game nonconference schedule that will see the Quakers facing three Top-35 teams and anywhere from four to six top-90 squads.
Former Penn and Temple coach Fran Dunphy was honored for the impact he made throughout his coaching career during a ceremony at City Hall in Philadelphia Monday, four days after he received an honorary degree as Temple University graduated its 132nd class last week.
Mickey Crowley, long-time NCAA basketball referee and former Ivy League Coordinator of Officials for men’s basketball, died on May 5 at the age of 85. Crowley played for the All-Army baseball team from 1954-1957 and the Yankees minor league system in the early 1960s before turning his attention to basketball. He was the assistant executive director of officiating for high school athletics for more than 20 years in Nassau County (Long Island) before becoming an NCAA referee. He officiated in 21 straight NCAA Tournaments, including the 1989 and 1991 championships. Crowley eventually became the head of officiating for the Ivy, Patriot and A-10 Leagues, retiring from the Ancient Eight in 2009.
“Mickey was a well-respected fixture in college basketball officiating thanks to his engaging personality, devotion to the integrity of the game and knowledge of the rules,” Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris said. “The Ivy League is deeply saddened to hear of his passing and we extends our sympathies to his wife Pat and entire family.”
Another week full of Ivy news, with none bigger than Courtney Banghart’s move from Princeton to North Carolina. The former Big Green All-Ivy guard and Tigers head coach signed a five-year contract to take over a Tar Heels program that needs a new start. Per Jeff Gravely of WRAL in Raleigh, Banghart’s contract starts at $650,000 in 2019-2020 and increases to $730,000 in 2024-2025. Athletic and academic bonuses are included that can increase the yearly salary by $10,000 to $470,000.
Some Ivy updates before heading into Final Four weekends in Tampa and Minneapolis:
With the Yale men and the Princeton women winning their respective divisions on Sunday, another Ivy League Tournament is in the books. Here are a few of my personal highlights that were not found on the television or the box scores:
- Penn men’s coach Steve Donahue noted Penn’s “interesting path” to the Ivy League Tournament, which included a 0-3 start to league play for the second time in three seasons, Antonio Woods noted he’ll shoulder the burden of guarding Bryce Aiken, and AJ Brodeur said that it may be more difficult to play Ivy teams than Big 5 teams because the Ivies know the Red & Blue so well and are more prepared to face them.
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.
With only two weeks of the regular season left, the Quakers are in trouble. They need to win out, or at least get to 7-7, to even have a shot at the Ivy League Tournament. In December, when they were knocking off power-five opponents and capturing the Big 5 title, I never dreamed they’d ever be in this dubious position. But alas, they are.
So how did we get here? Perhaps it’s best if coach Steve Donahue tells you.
“There was a poise about us last year that was really one through 33 games,” Donahue said, according to The Daily Pennsylvanian. “This year, there have been moments of brilliance when this group plays really great that the other group probably didn’t have the chance to.”
Ah yes, “moments of brilliance.” Although I agree with Mr. Donahue, championships are built on consistency, not moments of brilliance.
Eight thoughts on the men’s side:
1. Penn’s defense finds its stride
Penn held Cornell to 18 points in the second half and 0.78 points per possession for the night, an inspired defensive performance marking the latest glimpse of how high Penn’s ceiling can be when the defense is fully locked in. Matt Morgan’s usage rate was lower than usual, and Penn did a good job zeroing in on the second-all-time leading scorer in Ivy history. Morgan and company actually had a decent outing from beyond the arc (8-for-22, 36.4 percent), but it didn’t matter because everything else was effectively taken away. The Big Red typically thrive at the foul line, but Penn’s characteristically disciplined defense (the Quakers rank best in the Ivy League in defensive free throw rate) didn’t feed into that. Instead, Penn preserved its outside shot at an Ivy League Tournament berth, a feat only as realistic as its defense is strong down the stretch.